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Hayes and wheelwright proposed a capability and maturity model that explains how an operation could move from being a barrier to strategic success, in stage one, to becoming an innovator and creator of opportunity, in stage four.
It suggested that as operational capabilities increase, so does the strategic impact of the operations function.
Stage 1: Internal neutrality
The poorest level of operational contribution. The other areas of the business view operations as a barrier to opportunity. Lacking in flair and competitive drive. The operations function is inward looking and at best reactive. Its vision is to be internally neutral, a position it attempts to achieve not by anything positive but by avoiding the next ‘big mistake’
Stage 2: External neutrality
The operations function must compare itself to other companies in the outside marketplace. By implementing best practice strategies already in use they seek to catch up to their peers.
Stage 3: Internally supportive
The operations strategy is now aligned to the overall business strategy. It can internally support the objectives of the business and considers itself to be one of the best in class. It aspires to be number one in its field and the effort to be number one is likely to yield its own rewards.
Stage 4: Externally supportive
An operation at stage four is unambiguously the best at what they do. Their creativity and proactive attitude has put them ahead of the others and are easily able to out compete their competition when following the same rules. The operations is now interested in changing these rules and redefining the expectations for the whole industry.
Nigel Slack has written an excellent book that incorporates this model. To get a deeper understanding look up this text book:
Operations and Process Management: Principles and Practice for Strategic Impact
By Nigel Slack, Stuart Chambers, Robert Johnston