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什么是战略 – 迈克尔·波特

什么是战略?

What Is Strategy?

迈克尔·波特  Michael E.Porter

一、运营效益不等于战略 

I. Operational Effectiveness Is Not Strategy

近20年来,管理者一直在学习运用一套新的管理原则:企业必须具有灵活性,才能迅速回应市场变化和竞争环境的改变;它们必须持续地运用标杆法才能达成最佳实践;它们必须积极采用外包,以获得更高的效率;它们还必须培养若干核心竞争力,才能领先于竞争对手。

For almost two decades, managers have been learning to play by a new set of rules. Companies must be flexible to respond rapidly to competitive and market changes. They must benchmark continuously to achieve best practice. They must outsource aggressively to gain efficiencies. And they must nurture a few core competencies in the race to stay ahead of rivals.

一直以来,定位(positioning)是战略的核心,然而由于当今动荡的市场和不断变化的科技,很多人认为定位太过静态而抛弃了这一概念。根据新的教条,竞争对手可以很快复制任何一个市场定位,所以任何竞争优势至多只能是暂时性的。

Positioning – once the heart of strategy – is rejected as too static for today’s dynamic markets and changing technologies. According to the new dogma, rivals can quickly copy any market position, and competitive advantage is, at best, temporary.

然而,上述信条都是危险而错误的,它们正在导致越来越多的企业走上互相摧毁式的竞争之路。的确,随着管制的放宽和市场的日益全球化,一些阻碍竞争的障碍正在消失;的确,很多公司适当地投入精力,使自己变得更加精干和敏捷。然而在许多行业,有些人所说的超级竞争(hypercompetition)其实是自设陷阱,而不是竞争模式发生变化所致的必然结果。

But those beliefs are dangerous half-truths, and they are leading more and more companies down the path of mutually destructive competition. True, some barriers to competition are falling as regulation eases and markets become global. True, companies have properly invested energy in becoming leaner and more nimble. In many industries, however, what some call hypercompetition is a self-inflicted wound, not the inevitable outcome of a changing paradigm of competition.

问题的根源出在人们未能分清运营效益(operational effectiveness)和战略(strategy)的区别。对生产率、质量和速度的追求,催生出大量的管理工具和技巧,比如全面质量管理、标杆法、时基竞争、外包、结盟、企业再造以及变革管理等。尽管很多企业的运营效益因此得到了极大提高,但它们却因为无法将这些进步转化为持续赢利而倍感挫折。渐渐地,几乎在不知不觉中,管理工具取代了战略。随着管理者努力进行全方位的改善,他们离自己原本可行的市场定位越来越远了。

The root of the problem is the failure to distinguish between operational effectiveness and strategy. The quest for productivity, quality, and speed has spawned a remarkable number of management tools and techniques: total quality management, benchmarking, time-based competition, outsourcing, partnering, reengineering, change management. Although the resulting operational improvements have often been dramatic, many companies have been frustrated by their inability to translate those gains into sustainable profitability. And bit by bit, almost imperceptibly, management tools have taken the place of strategy. As managers push to improve on all fronts, they move farther away from viable competitive positions.

运营效益:必要但不充分  Operational Effectiveness: Necessary but Not Sufficient

创造卓越绩效是所有企业的首要目标,运营效益和战略对于企业实现这一目标都至为关键,但两者的作用方式不同。

Operational effectiveness and strategy are both essential to superior performance, which, after all, is the primary goal of any enterprise. But they work in very different ways.

企业唯有建立起一种可长期保持的差异化时,才能胜出竞争对手。它必须向客户交付更大的价值,或者以更低的成本创造出相当的价值,或者两者兼具。获取出色利润率的算式就是这样的:交付更大的价值就能让企业收取更高的平均单位价格,而更高的效率就能实现更低的平均单位成本。

A company can outperform rivals only if it can establish a difference that it can preserve. It must deliver greater value to customers or create comparable value at a lower cost, or do both. The arithmetic of superior profitability then follows: delivering greater value allows a company to charge higher average unit prices; greater efficiency results in lower average unit costs.

各企业之间在成本或价格上的所有差异,都是它们的成百上千项运营活动带来的。这些活动都是为了创造、生产、销售、交付产品或为客户提供服务,比如拜访客户、组装成品、培训员工等等。执行这些运营活动就会产生成本,因此成本优势的来源就是企业在执行特定活动时比竞争对手更加高效。同样的道理,差异性就源自企业选择哪些运营活动,以及如何实施这些活动。由此观之,运营活动就是竞争优势的基本单位。整体优势或整体劣势就源自企业的所有运营活动,而不是其中的某几项运营活动。

Ultimately, all differences between companies in cost or price derive from the hundreds of activities required to create, produce, sell, and deliver their products or services, such as calling on customers, assembling final products, and training employees. Cost is generated by performing activities, and cost advantage arises from performing particular activities more efficiently than competitors. Similarly, differentiation arises from both the choice of activities and how they are performed. Activities, then, are the basic units of competitive advantage. Overall advantage or disadvantage results from all a company’s activities, not only a few.

oe

运营效率

运营效益意味着,在进行相似的运营活动时,企业比竞争对手做得更好。运营效益包括但不仅限于效率,它是指任何数量的可以使企业更好地利用其投入的做法,比如减少产品的次品率或以更快的速度开发更好的产品。相比之下,战略定位(strategic positioning)则意味着进行不同于竞争对手的运营活动,或者以不同方式进行和竞争对手相似的运营活动。

Operational effectiveness (OE) means performing similar activities better than rivals perform them. Operational effectiveness includes but is not limited to efficiency. It refers to any number of practices that allow a company to better utilize its inputs by, for example, reducing defects in products or developing better products faster. In contrast, strategic positioning means performing different activities from rivals’ or performing similar activities in different ways.

各企业在运营效益上的差异普遍存在。有些企业能够从投入中获得高于其它企业的回报,因为它们消除了无谓的活动,采用了更先进的技术,更能激励员工士气,或者对管理单项运营活动或整套运营活动有更深入的认识。这种在运营效益上的差异,是造成竞争各方赢利能力差异的重要原因,因为它们直接影响了企业的相对成本地位以及差异化程度。

Differences in operational effectiveness among companies are pervasive. Some companies are able to get more out of their inputs than others because they eliminate wasted effort, employ more advanced technology, motivate employees better, or have greater insight into managing particular activities or sets of activities. Such differences in operational effectiveness are an important source of differences in profitability among competitors because they directly affect relative cost positions and levels of differentiation.

日本企业在1980年代向西方企业发动的挑战,其核心就是运营效益方面的差异。当时日本企业在运营效益上远远领先于竞争对手,因此它们提供的产品不仅价格更低而且品质更高。这一点值得我们深入探讨,因为最近很多关于竞争的思维都基于这一点。试想一下,有一条生产率边界(productivity frontier),它是任一时间现有的所有最佳实践之和,可以把它视为企业在既定成本下运用当前最高科技、技能、管理技巧和原料,提供某种产品或服务所能创造的最大价值。生产率边界既适用于各项单独的运营活动,也适用于如订单处理和生产制造之类的互为关联的群体性运营活动,甚至适用于整个企业的所有运营活动。每当企业改善了运营效益,就在向生产率边界靠拢。这样做可能需要资本投入、不同的员工队伍,或者仅仅是新的管理方式。

Differences in operational effectiveness were at the heart of the Japanese challenge to Western companies in the 1980s. The Japanese were so far ahead of rivals in operational effectiveness that they could offer lower cost and superior quality at the same time. It is worth dwelling on this point, because so much recent thinking about competition depends on it. Imagine for a moment a productivity frontier that constitutes the sum of all existing best practices at any given time. Think of it as the maximum value that a company delivering a particular product or service can create at a given cost, using the best available technologies, skills, management techniques, and purchased inputs. The productivity frontier can apply to individual activities, to groups of linked activities such as order processing and manufacturing, and to an entire company’s activities. When a company improves its operational effectiveness, it moves toward the frontier. Doing so may require capital investment, different personnel, or simply new ways of managing.

随着新技术和新的管理方法的开发,以及新投入的出现,生产率边界就经常性地向外拓展。比如,笔记本电脑、移动通信、互联网以及诸如莲花Notes之类软件,不仅重新界定了销售队伍运营的生产率边界,而且还开创出将销售活动与其他运营活动(如订单处理和售后服务)联结在一起的丰富可能性。同样的,涉及整套运营活动的精益生产,也使企业在制造生产率和资产利用方面获得了实质性改善。

The productivity frontier is constantly shifting outward as new technologies and management approaches are developed and as new inputs become available. Laptop computers, mobile communications, the Internet, and software such as Lotus Notes, for example, have redefined the productivity frontier for sales-force operations and created rich possibilities for linking sales with such activities as order processing and after-sales support. Similarly, lean production, which involves a family of activities, has allowed substantial improvements in manufacturing productivity and asset utilization.

至少在过去10年间,管理者满脑子都在思考如何提高企业的运营效益。为了消除低效现象、提高客户满意度以及达成最佳实践,管理者已经通过诸如全面质量管理、时基竞争和标杆法之类的管理工具,改变了运营活动的实施方式。管理者还信奉上了持续改进、授权、变革管理和所谓的学习型组织,希望借此跟上生产率边界的移动。外包和虚拟企业的流行,反映出企业界日益认识到,要做到象专业公司那样高效、高质地实施所有运营活动是很困难的。

For at least the past decade, managers have been preoccupied with improving operational effectiveness.Through programs such as TQM, time-based competition, and benchmarking, they have changed how they perform activities in order to eliminate inefficiencies, improve customer satisfaction, and achieve best practice. Hoping to keep up with shifts in the productivity frontier, managers have embraced continuous improvement, empowerment, change management, and the so-called learning organization. The popularity of outsourcing and the virtual corporation reflect the growing recognition that it is difficult to perform all activities as productively as specialists.

企业往生产率边界移动时,经常能同时改善多方面的绩效。比如,那些采用了1980年代日本企业快速换线做法的制造商,能够在降低成本的同时也改善了自己的差异性。那些曾经被认为是真正取舍的行为,比如次品率和成本之间的取舍,如今已被证明是运营效益低下而造成的假象。管理者已经学会了抵制这些虚假的取舍。

As companies move to the frontier, they can often improve on multiple dimensions of performance at the same time. For example, manufacturers that adopted the Japanese practice of rapid changeovers in the 1980s were able to lower cost and improve differentiation simultaneously. What were once believed to be real trade-offs – between defects and costs, for example – turned out to be illusions created by poor operational effectiveness. Managers have learned to reject such false trade-offs.

运营效益上的不断改进,是企业获得出色盈利能力的必要条件,但通常不是充分条件。几乎没有企业能在长时间内凭借运营效益赢得竞争,而要维持自己的领先地位正变得日益困难。其中最明显的原因就在于最佳实践会迅速扩散。竞争对手可以迅速模仿管理技巧、新技术、投入改进,以及满足顾客需求的更佳方式。最通行的解决方案——那些在多重环境下都适用的解决方案——扩散的速度也最快。咨询公司的支持,进一步加速了运营效益技术的传播复制。

Constant improvement in operational effectiveness is necessary to achieve superior profitability. However, it is not usually sufficient. Few companies have competed successfully on the basis of operational effectiveness over an extended period, and staying ahead of rivals gets harder every day. The most obvious reason for that is the rapid diffusion of best practices. Competitors can quickly imitate management techniques, new technologies, input improvements, and superior ways of meeting customers’ needs. The most generic solutions – those that can be used in multiple settings – diffuse the fastest. Witness the proliferation of OE techniques accelerated by support from consultants.

运营效益上的竞争推动生产率边界向外拓展,从而有力地提高了每个企业的竞争门槛。然而,尽管这样的竞争导致了运营效益的绝对改善,但是没有企业能获得相对改善。就以美国年产值逾50亿美元的商务印刷业为例。当纳利公司(R.R. Donnelley & Sons)、魁北克公司(Quebecor)、世界彩色印刷公司(World Color Press)和大花印刷公司(Big Flower Press)是该产业的最大企业,它们正在展开头对头的竞争,为所有类型的客户服务,提供相同的印刷技术(凹版印刷和轮转胶印),投入巨资购买同样的新设备,提高印刷速度,减少员工人数。然而,生产率改进带来的主要收益被客户和设备供应商获得,而企业本身并未因此提高盈利能力。即便是行业领导企业当纳利公司,它的利润率在1980年代一直维持在7%以上,到了1995年,却下跌到不足4.6%。这种现象在一个接一个行业中上演。甚至率先发动运营效益竞争的日本企业,也受困于持续的低利润(参见副栏“日本企业很少有战略”)。

OE competition shifts the productivity frontier outward, effectively raising the bar for everyone. But although such competition produces absolute improvement in operational effectiveness, it leads to relative improvement for no one. Consider the $5 billion-plus U.S. commercial-printing industry. The major players – R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company, Quebecor, World Color Press, and Big Flower Press–are competing head to head, serving all types of customers, offering the same array of printing technologies (gravure and web offset), investing heavily in the same new equipment, running their presses faster, and reducing crew sizes. But the resulting major productivity gains are being captured by customers and equipment suppliers, not retained in superior profitability. Even industry leader Donnelley’s profit margin, consistently higher than 7% in the 1980s, fell to less than 4.6% in 1995. This pattern is playing itself out in industry after industry. Even the Japanese, pioneers of the new competition, suffer from persistently low profits. (See the insert “Japanese Companies Rarely Have Strategies.”)

改善运营效益之所以不是充分条件的第二个原因是竞争趋同(competitive convergence),它更加微妙,隐患也更大。企业越是运用标杆法,它们之间也就越相似。竞争各方越是多地把运营活动外包给高效的第三方,往往是相同的第三方,这些运营活动就变得越通行。当竞争各方在质量、生产周期或供应商伙伴关系上互为模仿各自的改善做法时,战略就会趋同,竞争就变成了在同一跑道上展开的赛跑,无人能够胜出。单单基于运营效益之上的竞争是互相摧毁式的竞争,最终导致消磨战,只有通过限制竞争的方式才能遏制。

The second reason that improved operational effectiveness is insufficient – competitive convergence is more subtle and insidious. The more benchmarking companies do, the more they look alike. The more that rivals outsource activities to efficient third parties, often the same ones, the more generic those activities become. As rivals imitate one another’s improvements in quality, cycle times, or supplier partnerships, strategies converge and competition becomes a series of races down identical paths that no one can win. Competition based on operational effectiveness alone is mutually destructive, leading to wars of attrition that can be arrested only by limiting competition.

近来流行以合并的方式实行产业联合,在运营效益竞争的背景下,有其合理性。缺乏战略远见、一味受到业绩压力驱动的企业,除了一家接一家买下竞争对手以外,别无更好的主意了。而能留在市场上的竞争者,往往只是那些比其他企业维持更长时间的企业,而不是具有真正优势的企业。

The recent wave of industry consolidation through mergers makes sense in the context of OE competition. Driven by performance pressures but lacking strategic vision, company after company has had no better idea than to buy up its rivals. The competitors left standing are often those that outlasted others, not companies with real advantage.

许多企业十多年间在运营效益上得益后,如今正面临收益递减的处境。持续改进的概念已深深烙在了管理者的脑中。但是,实现持续改进的工具却在不知不觉中将公司拉向模仿和趋同。渐渐地,管理者就让运营效益取代了战略。其结果就是零和竞争(zero-sum competition)、价格上不去或者不断下跌,以及成本压力,进而危及企业投资长期业务的能力。

After a decade of impressive gains in operational effectiveness, many companies are facing diminishing returns. Continuous improvement has been etched on managers’ brains. But its tools unwittingly draw companies toward imitation and homogeneity. Gradually, managers have let operational effectiveness supplant strategy. The result is zero sum competition, static or declining prices, and pressures on costs that compromise companies’ ability to invest in the business for the long term.

日本企业很少有战略

Japanese Companies Rarely Have Strategies

1970和80年代,日本企业在全球发动了一场运营效益的革命,开创了诸如全面质量管理和持续改进的实践。结果在之后的很多年里,日本企业在内部运营上都获得了巨大的成本和质量优势。

The Japanese triggered a global revolution in operational effectiveness in the 1970s and 1980s, pioneering practices such as total quality management and continuous improvement. As a result, Japanese manufacturers enjoyed substantial cost and quality advantages for many years.

然而,日本企业很少制定出本文中讨论的独特战略定位。那些有定位的企业,比如索尼(Sony)、佳能(Canon)和世嘉 (Sega),它们是特例而非常态。大多数日本企业都互为模仿和抄袭。所有的竞争对手提供全部或者近乎全部相同的产品种类、特色和服务,都利用所有的销售渠道,就连工厂布置也相同。

But Japanese companies rarely developed distinct strategic positions of the kind discussed in this article. Those that did – Sony, Canon, and Sega, for example – were the exception rather than the rule. Most Japanese companies imitate and emulate one another. All rivals offer most if not all product varieties, features, and services; they employ all channels and match one anothers’ plant configurations.

如今,这种日本式竞争的危害愈来愈清晰可辨。在1980年代,由于竞争对手的运营效益离生产率边界很远,因此日本企业同时在成本和质量上获胜是可能的。日本企业能在本国经济的扩张和对全球市场的渗透中获得成长,其发展势头看似不可阻挡。然而随着运营效益的差距逐渐缩小,日本企业愈加陷入了它们自设的陷阱。要摆脱如今正破坏它们绩效的互为毁灭式的竞争,日本企业就必须学习什么是战略。

The dangers of Japanese-style competition are now becoming easier to recognize. In the 1980s, with rivals operating far from the productivity frontier, it seemed possible to win on both cost and quality indefinitely. Japanese companies were all able to grow in an expanding domestic economy and by penetrating global markets. They appeared unstoppable. But as the gap in operational effectiveness narrows, Japanese companies are increasingly caught in a trap of their own making. If they are to escape the mutually destructive battles now ravaging their performance, Japanese companies will have to learn strategy.

要做到这一点,它们可能必须克服强大的文化障碍。日本民族喜欢达成共识,其企业往往淡化个体的差异,而不是强化它。然而,战略要求企业做出艰难的抉择。日本人也有一种根深蒂固的服务传统,使他们会不遗余力地去满足顾客提出的任何需求。以这种方式竞争的企业最终会模糊自己的独特定位,变成满足所有顾客的所有需求的企业。

To do so, they may have to overcome strong cultural barriers. Japan is notoriously consensus oriented, and companies have a strong tendency to mediate differences among individuals rather than accentuate them. Strategy, on the other hand, requires hard choices. The Japanese also have a deeply ingrained service tradition that predisposes them to go to great lengths to satisfy any need a customer expresses. Companies that compete in that way end up blurring their distinct positioning, becoming all things to all customers.

——上述关于日本的讨论,摘自迈克尔·波特与Hirotaka Takeuchi合作开展的研究,该研究曾得到Mariko Sakakibara的支持。

This discussion of Japan is drawn from the author’s research with Hirotaka Takeuchi, with help from Mariko Sakakibara.

二、战略:有赖于独特的运营活动

II. Strategy Rests on Unique Activities

竞争战略就是要做到与众不同。它意味着有目的地选择一整套不同于竞争者的运营活动以创造一种独特的价值组合。

Competitive strategy is about being different. It means deliberately choosing a different set of activities to deliver a unique mix of value.

southwest

southwest1

西南航空公司(Southwest Airlines Company)就是一个例子。它在中等城市和大城市的二级机场之间提供短程、低成本和点对点的服务。西南航空避开大机场,也不飞远程航线,其顾客包括商务乘客、家庭和学生。西南航空公司以频繁的班次和低廉的票价吸引那些对价格敏感的乘客(否则他们就会选择乘巴士或驾车)以及那些图方便的乘客(否则他们就会选择提供全面服务的航空公司)。

Southwest Airlines Company, for example, offers short-haul, low-cost, point-to-point service between midsize cities and secondary airports in large cities. Southwest avoids large airports and does not fly great distances. Its customers include business travelers, families, and students. Southwest’s frequent departures and low fares attract price sensitive customers who otherwise would travel by bus or car, and convenience-oriented travelers who would choose a full-service airline on other routes.

大多数管理者从自己顾客的角度来描述战略定位,比如“西南航空公司为那些对价格和便捷性敏感的乘客服务”。然而战略的实质存在于运营活动中——针对外部竞争对手,选择一套不同的运营活动,或者以不同于对手的方式实施运营活动。否则,战略就不过是一个营销口号,经不起竞争的考验。

Most managers describe strategic positioning in terms of their customers: “Southwest Airlines serves price- and convenience-sensitive travelers,” for example. But the essence of strategy is in the activities – choosing to perform activities differently or to perform different activities than rivals. Otherwise, a strategy is nothing more than a marketing slogan that will not withstand competition.

提供全面服务的航空公司的设置,是要将乘客几乎从任何一个地方送到另外一个地方。为了抵达众多目的地并服务于需要转机的乘客,这些航空公司采用以大机场为中心的枢纽辐射系统。为了吸引追求舒适的乘客,它们还提供头等舱或商务舱服务。为了给必须转机的乘客提供便利,它们要协调好航班时间,并且代运和转运行李。由于有些乘客需做长时间飞行,它们还会提供餐饮服务。

A full-service airline is configured to get passengers from almost any point A to any point B. To reach a large number of destinations and serve passengers with connecting flights, full-service airlines employ a hub-and-spoke system centered on major airports. To attract passengers who desire more comfort, they offer first-class or business class service. To accommodate passengers who must change planes, they coordinate schedules and check and transfer baggage. Because some passengers will be traveling for many hours, full-service airlines serve meals.

相比之下,西南航空公司以其在特定的航线上提供低成本和便捷的服务为核心,对所有运营活动进行了设计。它的飞机停靠在登机门的周转时间只有15分钟,使得它的飞机的飞行小时数高于竞争对手的飞机,并且用更少的飞机提供频繁的航班。西南航空公司不提供餐饮,不指定座位,不提供跨航线行李转运或高级舱位服务。它还在登机口设立自动售票机,鼓励乘客跳过旅行社直接购买它的机票,从而省掉了付给旅行社的佣金。此外,它的机队全部选用波音737客机,从而提高了维护效率。

Southwest, in contrast, tailors all its activities to deliver low-cost, convenient service on its particular type of route. Through fast turnarounds at the gate of only 15 minutes, Southwest is able to keep planes flying longer hours than rivals and provide frequent departures with fewer aircraft. Southwest does not offer meals, assigned seats, interline baggage checking, or premium classes of service. Automated ticketing at the gate encourages customers to bypass travel agents, allowing Southwest to avoid their commissions. A standardized fleet of 737 aircraft boosts the efficiency of maintenance.

西南航空公司仰赖这套特制的运营活动,建立起一个独特而有价值的战略定位。在西南航空公司服务的航线上,其他提供全面服务的航空公司,都无法提供如此便利或低成本的服务。

Southwest has staked out a unique and valuable strategic position based on a tailored set of activities. On the routes served by Southwest, a full service airline could never be as convenient or as low cost.

IKEA

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总部设在瑞典的全球家具零售商宜家家居(IKEA)同样拥有清晰的战略定位。它的目标客户是那些年轻消费者,他们想要低价但又有格调的家具。将这一源自营销的定位概念转化为战略的则是一套特别设计的运营活动,是这些内部运营活动使外部定位概念得以实现。同西南航空公司一样,宜家选择以不同于竞争对手的方式来实施自己的运营活动。

IKEA, the global furniture retailer based in Sweden, also has a clear strategic positioning. IKEA targets young furniture buyers who want style at low cost. What turns this marketing concept into a strategic positioning is the tailored set of activities that make it work. Like Southwest, IKEA has chosen to perform activities differently from its rivals.

让我们先看一下典型的家具店的做法。展示厅里摆放着一些家具样品。其中一块区域可能放着25张沙发,另一块区域则可能陈列着5张餐桌。然而,这些产品只是众多可供顾客选择的家具中的一小部分。家具店内还有几十本罗列着面料样本、木料样本或其他家具式样的展示册,提供了数千种款式供顾客挑选。销售人员通常陪着顾客在店内转悠,回答他们的提问,并帮助他们做出选择。一旦顾客做出选择,订单就被转发给第三方制造商。如果运气好,家具将会在6~8周内送到顾客家里。这是一条提供最广泛定制和最优服务的价值链,但是成本偏高。

Consider the typical furniture store. Showrooms display samples of the merchandise. One area might contain 25 sofas; another will display five dining tables. But those items represent only a fraction of the choices available to customers. Dozens of books displaying fabric swatches or wood samples or alternate styles offer customers thousands of product varieties to choose from. Salespeople often escort customers through the store, answering questions and helping them navigate this maze of choices. Once a customer makes a selection, the order is relayed to a third-party manufacturer. With luck, the furniture will be delivered to the customer’s home within six to eight weeks. This is a value chain that maximizes customization and service but does so at high cost.

宜家家居的做法截然相反,它为那些愿意为降低成本而牺牲服务的顾客提供服务。它不采用让销售人员一路尾随顾客的做法,而是靠清晰的店内展示让顾客实现自助服务。宜家家居不完全依赖于第三方制造商,而是自己设计低成本、便于安装、标准组件的组合家具,以吻合公司的战略定位。在它的大型商场中,各种待售产品被摆放在样板间中,如此一来,顾客就无需装潢设计师帮助他们想像各式家具摆放在一起的效果。家具展示厅边上是仓储区,所有产品都被打包堆放在货架上。顾客需要自己动手取下、自己运回家,宜家家居甚至可以将车顶架一起卖给你,当你下次再光顾时,允许将车顶架还回得到退款。

In contrast, IKEA serves customers who are happy to trade off service for cost. Instead of having a sales associate trail customers around the store, IKEA uses a self-service model based on clear, inshore displays. Rather than rely solely on third-party manufacturers, IKEA designs its own low-cost, modular, ready-to-assemble furniture to fit its positioning. In huge stores, IKEA displays every product it sells in room-like settings, so customers don’t need a decorator to help them imagine how to put the pieces together. Adjacent to the furnished showrooms is a warehouse section with the products in boxes on pallets. Customers are expected to do their own pickup and delivery, and IKEA will even sell you a roof rack for your car that you can return for a refund on your next visit.

虽然宜家家居的低成本大多来自让顾客“自已动手”,但它也提供了竞争对手没有提供的许多额外服务。比如,店内照看孩子就是其中一项,以及延长营业时间。这些服务都是专门针对顾客需要而特别设立的,因为他们年轻、并不富有、可能有孩子(但没有保姆),而且他们要赚钱维生,需要在空余时间去购物。

Although much of its low-cost position comes from having customers “do it themselves,” IKEA offers a number of extra services that its competitors do not. In-store child care is one. Extended hours are another. Those services are uniquely aligned with the needs of its customers, who are young, not wealthy, likely to have children (but no nanny), and, because they work for a living, have a need to shop at odd hours.

寻找新定位:创业家的优势

Finding New Positions: The Entrepreneurial Edge

战略竞争可以被视为发现新定位的过程,从而从旧的定位招揽顾客,或者吸引新顾客进入市场。比如,品类单一但货色齐全的超市从那些品类齐全但选择有限的百货公司手中抢夺市场份额。而邮购商品目录,则吸引了追求方便的顾客。从理论上来说,守业者和创业者在寻找新的战略定位时面临着同样的挑战。但在实践中,新进入者往往占有优势。

Strategic competition can be thought of as the process of perceiving new positions that woo customers from established positions or draw new customers into the market. For example, superstores offering depth of merchandise in a single product category take market share from broad-line department stores offering a more limited selection in many categories. Mail-order catalogs pick off customers who crave convenience. In principle, incumbents and entrepreneurs face the same challenges in finding new strategic positions. In practice, new entrants often have the edge.

战略定位通常不是显而易见的,找到它需要创造性和洞察力。新进入者常常能发现可以实现的,但通常被老企业所忽视的独特定位。比如,宜家家居就发现了一个被忽视或服务不足的顾客群体。电子城商店(Circuit City Stores)以CarMax进入旧车市场时,则采用全新的方式来实施运营活动——轿车的全面翻新、产品保证、不二价以及熟练利用内部客户融资。其实,那些守业者早可以实施这些活动。

Strategic positionings are often not obvious, and finding them requires creativity and insight. New entrants often discover unique positions that have been available but simply overlooked by established competitors. IKEA, for example, recognized a customer group that had been ignored or served poorly. Circuit City Stores’ entry into used cars, CarMax, is based on a new way of performing activities – extensive refurbishing of cars, product guarantees, no-haggle pricing, sophisticated use of in-house customer financing – that has long been open to incumbents.

新进入者可以通过占据竞争对手曾一度占有但由于多年模仿别人和骑墙而丢掉的定位,以此获得发展。此外,来自其他行业的新进入者可以创建新的定位,因为他们可以利用自己在其他业务上的独特运营活动。CarMax就大量借鉴了电子城商店在消费电子产品零售业中的库存管理、信贷和其他活动的专长。

New entrants can prosper by occupying a position that a competitor once held but has ceded through years of imitation and straddling. And entrants coming from other industries can create new positions because of distinctive activities drawn from their other businesses. CarMax borrows heavily from Circuit City’s expertise in inventory management, credit, and other activities in consumer electronics retailing.

然而最常见的是,新定位的出现源自各种变化。随着社会的发展,新的分销渠道的出现,新技术的开发,以及新机器或新的信息系统的出现,会兴起新的顾客群和新的购买模式,出现新的需求。当出现这样的变化时,新进入者由于没有产业的历史包袱,往往更容易察觉新的竞争方式。与守业者不同,新进入者不会面临对原有活动的取舍问题,因而通常更加灵活。

Most commonly, however, new positions open up because of change. New customer groups or purchase occasions arise; new needs emerge as societies evolve; new distribution channels appear; new technologies are developed; new machinery or information systems become available. When such changes happen, new entrants, unencumbered by a long history in the industry, can often more easily perceive the potential for a new way of competing. Unlike incumbents, newcomers can be more flexible because they face no trade-offs with their existing activities.

战略定位的基点

The Origins of Strategic Positions

战略定位出自三个不同的基点,它们并不相互排斥,而是经常重叠。首先,定位可以基于提供某行业的某个子类产品或服务。我把它称为基于品类的定位(variety-based positioning),因为这是基于产品或服务品类的选择而不是基于客户细分进行战略定位。当企业针对外部市场竞争,形成独特的内部运营活动而提供出最好的特定产品或服务时,基于品类的定位就具有经济上的合理性。

Strategic positions emerge from three distinct sources, which are not mutually exclusive and often overlap. First, positioning can be based on producing a subset of an industry’s products or services. I call this variety-based positioning because it is based on the choice of product or service varieties rather than customer segments. Variety-based positioning makes economic sense when a company can best produce particular products or services using distinctive sets of activities.

比如,捷飞络国际公司(Jiffy Lube International)就专营汽车润滑油,不提供其他的汽车维修与保养服务。与综合汽修店相比,其价值链是以更低的成本提供更快捷的服务,这个组合非常有吸引力,以至于许多顾客进行分开购买,即从业务聚焦的捷飞络那儿购买更换润滑油的服务,剩下的就找其他竞争公司。

Jiffy Lube International, for instance, specializes in automotive lubricants and does not offer other car repair or maintenance services. Its value chain produces faster service at a lower cost than broader line repair shops, a combination so attractive that many customers subdivide their purchases, buying oil changes from the focused competitor, Jiffy Lube, and going to rivals for other services.

先锋

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先锋集团(Vanguard Group)是另一个例子。它是共同基金行业的领先者,提供一系列业绩稳定、费用极低的普通股、债券和货币市场基金。公司的投资策略刻意舍弃了某一年获得超常业绩的可能性,而力求每一年都有较好的回报。比如,先锋集团就以指数基金(index fund)而著称。它避免把赌注押在利率上,而且避开了狭隘的股票组合。基金经理人把交易量保持在低水平,以此降低交易费用。此外,公司劝阻客户快速买进卖出,因为这么做不仅会抬高成本,并且还会迫使基金经理人为配置新资本和筹集债券赎回所需现金而进行交易。先锋集团还一直采取低成本方式管理分销、客户服务和市场营销。很多投资者会在自己的投资组合中买入一个或多个先锋基金,同时向它的竞争者购买主动型管理基金或专业基金。

The Vanguard Group, a leader in the mutual fund industry, is another example of variety-based positioning. Vanguard provides an array of common stock, bond, and money market funds that offer predictable performance and rock-bottom expenses. The company’s investment approach deliberately sacrifices the possibility of extraordinary performance in any one year for good relative performance in every year. Vanguard is known, for example, for its index funds. It avoids making bets on interest rates and steers clear of narrow stock groups. Fund managers keep trading levels low, which holds expenses down; in addition, the company discourages customers from rapid buying and selling because doing so drives up costs and can force a fund manager to trade in order to deploy new capital and raise cash for redemptions. Vanguard also takes a consistent low-cost approach to managing distribution, customer service, and marketing. Many investors include one or more Vanguard funds in their portfolio, while buying aggressively managed or specialized funds from competitors.

选择先锋集团或捷飞络公司的客户,是对它们在某一特定服务领域的卓越价值链作出了回应。基于品类的定位可以服务于广普的顾客,但是大多数情况下,这种定位只能满足他们需求中的一个小类。

The people who use Vanguard or Jiffy Lube are responding to a superior value chain for a particular type of service. A variety-based positioning can serve a wide array of customers, but for most it will meet only a subset of their needs.

定位的第二个基点是满足某类特定客户群的大部分或者所有需求。我把它称为基于需求的定位(needs-based positioning),这和瞄准某个客户细分市场的传统概念相接近。当客户群各有不同的需求,而一套与竞争对手不同的运营活动能够最佳地满足这些需求时,基于需求的定位就成立。有些客户群比其他客户群对价格更敏感,需要不同的产品特性,需要不同量的信息、支持和服务。宜家家居的顾客就是这类顾客群的一个很好例子。宜家家居力求满足其目标客户的所有家具布置方面的需求,而不只是其中的某个子类。

A second basis for positioning is that of serving most or all the needs of a particular group of customers. I call this needs-based positioning, which comes closer to traditional thinking about targeting a segment of customers. It arises when there are groups of customers with differing needs, and when a tailored set of activities can serve those needs best. Some groups of customers are more price sensitive than others; demand different product features, and need varying amounts of information, support, and services. IKEA’s customers are a good example of such a group. IKEA seeks to meet all the home furnishing needs of its target customers, not just a subset of them.

当同一个客户在不同场合或面对不同的交易类型产生不同需求时,基于需求的定位就出现了一个变体形式。比如,同一个人在商务旅行时和家庭旅游时可能有不同的需求。再比如,饮料罐的购买者(如饮料公司)对第一供应商的需求和对第二供应商的需求也可能不一样。

A variant of needs-based positioning arises when the same customer has different needs on different occasions or for different types of transactions. The same person, for example, may have different needs when traveling on business than when traveling for pleasure with the family. Buyers of cans – beverage companies, for example – will likely have different needs from their primary supplier than from their secondary source.

大多数管理者都是从满足客户需求的角度来看待他们的业务,这是他们的直觉。然而,基于需求的定位的关键因素根本就不是直觉,而它常常被忽略了。需求上的差异不可能转化为有意义的定位,除非最佳满足这些需求的一套运营活动同样存在着竞争性差异。如果不是这样的话,市场中每个竞争对手就都能满足同样的需求,那么定位就毫无独特性和价值。

It is intuitive for most managers to conceive of their business in terms of the customers’ needs they are meeting. But a critical element of needs based positioning is not at all intuitive and is often overlooked. Differences in needs will not translate into meaningful positions unless the best set of activities to satisfy them also differs. If that were not the case, every competitor could meet those same needs, and there would be nothing unique or valuable about the positioning.

例如,在个人银行业务中,贝西默信托公司(Bessemer Trust Company)的目标客户,是那些可投资资产不少于500万美元的家庭,这类家庭既想要储蓄资金,又想要积累财富。贝西默公司为每14户家庭指派一名经验丰富的客户服务主管,围绕着个性化服务配置运营活动。比如,会晤更可能是在客户的农场里或游艇上而不是公司的办公室。贝西默提供一系列定制服务,其中包括投资管理与不动产管理、油气资源投资的监督,以及对赛马和私人飞机的资产核算。对于大多数个人银行而言,贷款是它们最主要的业务,但贝西默的客户却很少需要贷款,贷款只占贝西默的收入的很小一部分。尽管贝西默的客户主管薪酬最丰厚,人员成本在营业费用中所占的比重也最高,但是其针对目标家庭的差异化为它带来的净资产收益率估计是所有个人银行中最高的。

In private banking, for example, Bessemer Trust Company targets families with a minimum of $5 million in investable assets who want capital preservation combined with wealth accumulation. By assigning one sophisticated account officer for every 14 families, Bessemer has configured its activities for personalized service. Meetings, for example, are more likely to be held at a client’s ranch or yacht than in the office. Bessemer offers a wide array of customized services, including investment management and estate administration, oversight of oil and gas investments, and accounting for racehorses and aircraft. Loans, a staple of most private banks, are rarely needed by Bessemer’s clients and make up a tiny fraction of its client balances and income. Despite the most generous compensation of account officers and the highest personnel cost as a percentage of operating expenses, Bessemer’s differentiation with its target families produces a return on equity estimated to be the highest of any private banking competitor.

另一方面,花旗银行(Citibank)的个人银行服务针对个人资产不低于25万美元的客户,他们与贝西默的客户正好相反,想要方便地得到贷款——从高额抵押贷款到交易融资。花旗银行的客户经理主要是放款人。当客户需要其他服务时,他们的客户经理会把他们介绍给花旗银行的其他专家,各专家负责预先设定好的金融产品。花旗银行系统的客户定制程度低于贝西默信托公司,使得其客户经理与客户之比也要低得多,为1:125。每两年举行一次的客户会议,只邀请最大的客户参加。贝西默和花旗银行都设计了一套运营活动来满足各自客户群的需求。同一个价值链无法同时满足两个顾客群的需求并实现盈利。

Citibank’s private bank, on the other hand, serves clients with minimum assets of about $250,000 who, in contrast to Bessemer’s clients, want convenient access to loans–from jumbo mortgages to deal financing. Citibank’s account managers are primarily lenders. When clients need other services, their account manager refers them to other Citibank specialists, each of whom handles prepackaged products. Citibank’s system is less customized than Bessemer’s and allows it to have a lower manager-to-client ratio of 1:125. Biannual office meetings are offered only for the largest clients. Both Bessemer and Citibank have tailored their activities to meet the needs of a different group of private banking customers. The same value chain cannot profitably meet the needs of both groups.

定位的第三个基点是依据不同的接触途径细分客户。虽然这些客户的需求是相似的,但是接触他们的最佳运营活动配置具有竞争差异性。我把它称为基于接触途径的定位(access-based positioning)。接触途径可以根据客户地理位置或客户规模来设定,或者根据需要一套不同的运营活动才能最佳地接触到顾客的其它因素来设定。

The third basis for positioning is that of segmenting customers who are accessible in different ways. Although their needs are similar to those of other customers, the best configuration of activities to reach them is different. I call this access based positioning. Access can be a function of customer geography or customer scale – or of anything that requires a different set of activities to reach customers in the best way.

根据接触途径进行市场细分比前两种战略定位少见,相比之下也未被很好地理解。比如,美国卡麦克院线(Carmike Cinemas)只在人口不到20万的小城镇运营电影院。在规模如此之小且不能承受大城市票价的市场中,卡麦克是如何实现赢利的呢?那就是通过一套能实现最低成本结构的运营活动。它通过标准化、低成本的影院设施为小城镇的观众提供服务,这种影院所需的银幕比大城市电影院少得多,所需的放映技术也不用那么高级。公司专有的信息系统和管理流程,使得每一个影院仅需一名经理,而无需其他行政管理人员。此外,集中采购、廉价的租金和劳动力成本(由于影院都在小城镇)以及极低的经营管理费用(仅为2%,而行业平均水平为5%)也为卡麦克创造了优势。此外,在小社区中运营也让卡麦克可以采取一种更个人化的营销方式——影院经理认识每一个主顾,并通过个人接触来提高上座率。作为几乎独霸所在市场的连锁影院(主要竞争对手往往是高中橄榄球队),卡麦克不仅能得到它想要的电影,在与发行商谈判时也能争取到更好条件。

Segmenting by access is less common and less well understood than the other two bases. Carmike Cinemas, for example, operates movie theaters exclusively in cities and towns with populations under200,000. How does Carmike make money in markets that are not only small but also won’t support big-city ticket prices? It does so through a set of activities that result in a lean cost structure. Carmike’s small-town customers can be served through standardized, low-cost theater complexes requiring fewer screens and less sophisticated projection technology than big-city theaters. The company’s proprietary information system and management process eliminate the need for local administrative staff beyond a single theater manager. Carmike also reaps advantages from centralized purchasing, lower rent and payroll costs (because of its locations), and rock-bottom corporate overhead of 2% (the industry average is 5%). Operating in small communities also allows Carmike to practice a highly personal form of marketing in which the theater manager knows patrons and promotes attendance through personal contacts. By being the dominant if not the only theater in its markets–the main competition is often the high school football team – Carmike is also able to get its pick of films and negotiate better terms with distributors.

城市客户和乡镇客户的区分,这只是不同接触途径导致不同运营活动的一个例子。其他例子还包括,小客户和大客户之分,密集分布客户和零散分布客户之分。尽管这些客户群体有着相似的需求,但是企业配置市场营销、订单处理、物流和售后服务等运营活动的最佳方式往往是不同的。

Rural versus urban-based customers are one example of access driving differences in activities. Serving small rather than large customers or densely rather than sparsely situated customers are other examples in which the best way to configure marketing, order processing, logistics, and after-sale service activities to meet the similar needs of distinct groups will often differ.

定位不仅仅是开拓利基市场。定位无论源自上述三个基点的哪一个,都可宽可窄。实施聚焦的竞争者,如宜家家居,瞄准的是某个小类的客户群的需求,并相应地设计自己的运营活动。目标客户宽泛的竞争者要么对客户服务过度(因此常常定价过高),要么对客户服务不足(因此定价常常过低),因此实施聚焦的竞争者可以赢得这些客户而获得发展。比如,像先锋集团或达美航空公司(Delta Air Lines)这样针对广普客户的竞争者,就要实施一套满足客户的共同需求的运营活动。于是,它要么忽视了某一客户群体的特殊需求,要么只能部分满足。

Positioning is not only about carving out a niche. A position emerging from any of the sources can be broad or narrow. A focused competitor, such as IKEA, targets the special needs of a subset of customers and designs its activities accordingly. Focused competitors thrive on groups of customers who are over served (and hence overpriced) by more broadly targeted competitors, or underserved (and hence underpriced). A broadly targeted competitor– for example, Vanguard or Delta Air Lines – serves a wide array of customers, performing a set of activities designed to meet their common needs. It ignores or meets only partially the more idiosyncratic needs of particular customer groups.

无论定位是基于产品品类、客户需求、接触途径,还是这三者的综合,它都需要一系列针对外部市场竞争而特别设计的内部运营活动与之配套。因为定位是什么取决于供应方行为,或者说取决于运营活动的差异,而不是需求或者客户方差异。特别是,基于产品品类和接触途径的定位完全不依靠任何客户差异。然而在实践中,产品品类或接触途径的差异通常伴随着需求差异。例如,卡麦克院线的小城镇客户的品味更偏向于喜剧片、西部片、动作片和家庭娱乐片。卡麦克院线不放映17 岁以下观众禁看的电影。

Whatever the basis – variety, needs, access, or some combination of the three – positioning requires a tailored set of activities because it is always a function of differences on the supply side; that is, of differences in activities. However, positioning is not always a function of differences on the demand, or customer, side. Variety and access positionings, in particular, do not rely on any customer differences. In practice, however, variety or access differences often accompany needs differences. The tastes – that is, the needs – of Carmike’s small-town customers, for instance, run more toward comedies, Westerns, action films, and family entertainment. Carmike does not run any films rated NC-17.

与通行战略的关系

我在《竞争战略》(1980年出版)一书中,提出了通行战略(generic strategies)概念——成本领先、差异化和业务聚焦——来表示行业中可选的战略定位。在最简单和广泛层面上,通行战略仍然能有效地代表战略定位。例如,先锋集团就是成本领先战略的例子;宜家家居则专注于狭窄的客户群,采用的是以低成本为基础的业务聚焦战略;露得清公司则是业务聚焦兼差异化战略。定位的基点——品类、需求和接触途径——把对通行战略的理解提升到了更为深刻的水平。例如,宜家家居和西南航空公司都采用了以低成本为基础的业务聚焦战略,但是宜家家居的聚焦战略基于一个特定顾客群体的需求,而西南航空公司的聚焦战略则是基于提供某种特定的服务品类。

In Competitive Strategy (The Free Press, 1985), I introduced the concept of generic strategies – cost leadership, differentiation, and focus – to represent the alternative strategic positions in an industry. The generic strategies remain useful to characterize strategic positions at the simplest and broadest level. Vanguard, for instance, is an example of a cost leadership strategy, whereas IKEA, with its narrow customer group, is an example of cost-based focus. Neutrogena is a focused differentiator. The bases for positioning – varieties, needs, and access – carry the understanding of those generic strategies to a greater level of specificity. Ikea and Southwest are both cost-based focusers, for example, but IKEA’s focus is based on the needs of a customer group, and Southwest’s is based on offering a particular service variety.

通行战略框架也带出了选择的必要性,只有这样才能避免陷入我当时描述的不同战略之间的固有矛盾之中。互不兼容的定位之间需做出运营活动的取舍,这就解释了那些矛盾。Continental Lite试图以两种方式同时进行竞争,它的失败就是一个例证。

The generic strategies framework introduced the need to choose in order to avoid becoming caught between what I then described as the inherent contradictions of different strategies. Trade-offs between the activities of incompatible positions explain those contradictions. Witness Continental Lite, which tried and failed to compete in two ways at once.

在为定位下完定义后,我们现在可以回答“什么是战略”这个问题了。战略就是形成一套独具的运营活动,去创建一个价值独特的定位。如果只有一个理想定位,那么企业也就无需战略了;企业的当务之急,就是发现并抢占这个定位,以此赢得比赛。战略定位的实质就是选择与竞争对手不同的运营活动。如果同一套运营活动能够生产出所有品类的产品、满足所有的需求、接触到所有的客户,那么各家企业很容易在它们之间进行切换,此时运营效益将决定企业的绩效。

Having defined positioning, we can now begin to answer the question, “What is strategy?” Strategy is the creation of a unique and valuable position, involving a different set of activities. If there were only one ideal position, there would be no need for strategy. Companies would face a simple imperative – win the race to discover and preempt it. The essence of strategic positioning is to choose activities that are different from rivals’. If the same set of activities were best to produce all varieties, meet all needs, and access all customers, companies could easily shift among them and operational effectiveness would determine performance.

三、可持续的战略定位需做取舍

III. A Sustainable Strategic Position Requires Trade-offs
然而,选择一个与市场竞争对手不同的定位还不足以确保可持续优势。一个有价值的定位会引起既有竞争对手的仿效,它们可能采取以下两种方式中的一种进行抄袭。

Choosing a unique position, however, is not enough to guarantee a sustainable advantage. A valuable position will attract imitation by incumbents, who are likely to copy it in one of two ways.
首先,竞争者可以对自己进行重新定位,以赶上绩效卓越者。例如,杰西潘尼公司(J.C. Penney)就把自己从西尔斯(Sears)的翻版重新定位成更高档、更时尚的非耐用品零售商。第二种方式就是骑墙(straddling),它更普遍。骑墙者试图在受益于成功的新定位的同时又能保持其既有的定位。它把新特色、新服务或新技术嫁接到原有的运营活动上。

First, a competitor can reposition itself to match the superior performer. J.C. Penney, for instance, has been repositioning itself from a Sears clone to a more upscale, fashion-oriented, soft-goods retailer. A second and far more common type of imitation is straddling. The straddler seeks to match the benefits of a successful position while maintaining its existing position. It grafts new features, services, or technologies onto the activities it already performs.
有人认为竞争对手可以复制任何一个定位,然而航空业是检验这种观点的绝佳例子。表面上看,几乎任何一个竞争对手都能模仿其他航空公司的运营活动。任何一家航空公司都可以购买与对手相同的飞机,租用与对手相同的登机门,并提供与对手相同的餐饮、票务和行李运送服务。

For those who argue that competitors can copy any market position, the airline industry is a perfect test case. It would seem that nearly any competitor could imitate any other airline’s activities. Any airline can buy the same planes, lease the gates, and match the menus and ticketing and baggage handling services offered by other airlines.
大陆航空公司(Continental Airlines)看到西南航空公司做得很成功后,决定骑墙。在保持其全面服务航空公司的定位的同时,它开始在一些点对点航线上模仿西南航空公司的做法。大陆航空公司把这项新服务称为Continental Lite。Continental Lite也取消了餐饮和头等舱服务,增加了航班班次,降低了票价,并且缩短了泊机时间。由于大陆航空公司在其他航线上仍然保持了全面服务航空公司的定位,它就继续利用旅行社,采用混合机群,继续提供行李托运和指定座位服务。

Continental Airlines saw how well Southwest was doing and decided to straddle. While maintaining its position as a full-service airline, Continental also set out to match Southwest on a number of point-to-point routes. The airline dubbed the new service Continental Lite. It eliminated meals and first-class service, increased departure frequency, lowered fares, and shortened turnaround time at the gate. Because Continental remained a full-service airline on other routes, it continued to use travel agents and its mixed fleet of planes and to provide baggage checking and seat assignments.

但是,除非与其他定位相比而形成取舍(trade-offs),否则任何一个战略定位都不可能持久。当各个运营活动互不兼容时,就出现了取舍的需要。简而言之,取舍意味着如果想在某件事上做得更到位,就只能在另一件事上做得差些。比如,航空公司可以选择提供餐饮服务,但这样做会增加成本并拖延泊机时间。它也可以选择不提供餐饮服务(降低成本并缩短泊机时间)。但如果它要两者兼顾,结果必然是效率降低。

But a strategic position is not sustainable unless there are trade-offs with other positions. Trade-offs occur when activities are incompatible. Simply put, a trade-off means that more of one thing necessitates less of another. An airline can choose to serve meals – adding cost and slowing turnaround time at the gate – or it can choose not to, but it cannot do both without bearing major inefficiencies.
取舍不仅造成了选择的必要性,还保护企业免受重新定位者和骑墙者的侵害。看一下露得清香皂的例子。露得清公司(Neutrogena Corporation)的基于产品品类的定位,建立在“对皮肤温和”、无残留皂剂、平衡PH值配方的香皂上。露得清有一支庞大的销售队伍去拜访皮肤科医生,因此其营销策略看上去更像是医药公司采用的,而非制皂商所为。它在医学杂志上刊登广告,向医生寄送直邮广告,参加医学会议,并且在自己的皮肤护理研究中心开展研究工作。为了强化自己定位,露得清公司最初把经销渠道集中在药店,而且避免降价促销。露得清公司还采用缓慢而花费高的生产流程去制造它那易碎的香皂。

Trade-offs create the need for choice and protect against repositioners and straddlers. Consider Neutrogena soap. Neutrogena Corporation’s variety based positioning is built on a “kind to the skin,” residue-free soap formulated for pH balance. With a large detail force calling on dermatologists, Neutrogena’s marketing strategy looks more like a drug company’s than a soap maker’s. It advertises in medical journals, sends direct mail to doctors, attends medical conferences, and performs research at its own Skincare Institute. To reinforce its positioning, Neutrogena originally focused its distribution on drugstores and avoided price promotions. Neutrogena uses a slow, more expensive manufacturing process to mold its fragile soap.

在选定这一定位后,露得清公司拒绝在香皂中添加许多消费者喜欢的除臭剂和皮肤柔润剂。它放弃了通过超市销售和降价促销所能带来的大量销售潜力。它牺牲制造效率以换取香皂的理想品质。在最初创建定位时,露得清做了大量这样的取舍,这些取舍保护了公司免受模仿者的侵袭。

In choosing this position, Neutrogena said no to the deodorants and skin softeners that many customers desire in their soap. It gave up the large volume potential of selling through supermarkets and using price promotions. It sacrificed manufacturing efficiencies to achieve the soap’s desired attributes. In its original positioning, Neutrogena made a whole raft of trade-offs like those, trade-offs that protected the company from imitators.

取舍出自三方面的原因。首先是形象或声誉上的前后不一致。一家以提供某一种价值而知名的企业,若要提供另一种价值或试图同时推出两种不相一致的品类,就会缺乏信誉,使客户感到困惑,甚至会损坏到自己的声誉。例如,象牙(Ivory)香皂的定位是基本的、廉价的日用香皂,如果它想重塑形象,使自己达到露得清那样的高档、“医学”的声誉,恐怕会困难重重。在一个主要行业里建立新形象,通常需要投入数千万甚至数亿美元,这正是阻止竞争对手进行模仿的有力屏障。

Trade-offs arise for three reasons. The first is inconsistencies in image or reputation. A company known for delivering one kind of value may lack credibility and confuse customers – or even undermine its reputation – if it delivers another kind of value or attempts to deliver two inconsistent things at the same time. For example, Ivory soap, with its position as a basic, inexpensive everyday soap would have a hard time reshaping its image to match Neutrogena’s premium “medical” reputation. Efforts to create a new image typically cost tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars in a major industry–a powerful barrier to imitation.

其次,也是更重要的一个原因,取舍是由运营活动本身所致。不同的定位(以及特别设计的企业内部运营活动)要求不同的产品配置、不同的设备、不同的员工行为、不同的技能以及不同的管理体系。很多取舍反映了设备、人员或者系统方面的不可变通性。例如,宜家家居通过让顾客自己组装和运输家具来配置自己的运营活动以实现低成本,它这方面做得越出色,就越难满足那些需要更多服务的顾客。

Second, and more important, trade-offs arise from activities themselves. Different positions (with their tailored activities) require different product configurations, different equipment, different employee behavior, different skills, and different management systems. Many trade-offs reflect inflexibilities in machinery, people, or systems. The more IKEA has configured its activities to lower costs by having its customers do their own assembly and delivery, the less able it is to satisfy customers who require higher levels of service.

不过,取舍的作用可能还要根本。一般来说,如果一项运营活动的设计超出了功用或达不到功用,它的价值就受到损害。比如,即便某位销售员有能力为某位客户提供高水平的协助,却没有为另一位客户提供丝毫协助,那么他的才能(以及投在他身上的部分成本)在第二位客户身上就等于浪费了。此外,当运营活动的可变程度受到一定限制时,生产率也会提高。该销售员若是始终提供高水平的协助,那么他本人和整个销售活动都能取得学习的高效性和规模效应。

However, trade-offs can be even more basic. In general, value is destroyed if an activity is overdesigned or under designed for its use. For example, even if a given salesperson were capable of providing a high level of assistance to one customer and none to another, the salesperson’s talent (and some of his or her cost) would be wasted on the second customer. Moreover, productivity can improve when variation of an activity is limited. By providing a high level of assistance all the time, the salesperson and the entire sales activity can often achieve efficiencies of learning and scale.

第三,取舍还可能出自内部协调管理的限制条件。当企业管理高层明确选择了以某一种方式而不是其他方式竞争时,他们也就明确了组织中各项工作的优先次序。相比之下,那些想为所有客户提供所有服务的企业,就要冒前线出现混乱的风险,因为其员工不得不努力在没有明确框架的情况下做出日常运营决策。

Finally, trade-offs arise from limits on internal coordination and control. By clearly choosing to compete in one way and not another, senior management makes organizational priorities clear. Companies that try to be all things to all customers, in contrast, risk confusion in the trenches as employees attempt to make day-to-day operating decisions without a clear framework.

定位取舍在竞争中普遍存在,它对战略至关重要。它不仅迫使企业进行选择,还有意识地限制了企业提供的产品或服务品类。它威慑住了重新定位和骑墙的行为,因为采用这两种方法的竞争企业将破坏自己的战略,而且贬损其既有运营活动的价值。

Positioning trade-offs are pervasive in competition and essential to strategy. They create the need for choice and purposefully limit what a company offers. They deter straddling or repositioning, because competitors that engage in those approaches undermine their strategies and degrade the value of their existing activities.

取舍最终迫使Continental Lite停飞了。公司损失数亿美元,CEO也遭到解聘。Continental Lite的班机在班次密集的航空枢纽城市经常误点,在登机门停留的时间也因行李转运而延长。因飞机误点和航班取消而引起的乘客投诉每天达到1,000起。Continental Lite无力承受既在价格上与对手展开竞争,同时又向旅行社支付标准佣金,但是大陆航空公司的全面服务业务又离不开旅行社。于是,大陆航空公司采取了折中的做法,降低了公司所有航线的佣金。同样的,大陆航空公司也无力承受向那些购买Continental Lite超低价机票的乘客提供常旅客优惠,因此它再一次采取折中的方法,下调了公司整个常旅客计划的优惠幅度。结果,旅行社和想要全面服务的乘客都被惹恼了。

Trade-offs ultimately grounded Continental Lite. The airline lost hundreds of millions of dollars, and the CEO lost his job. Its planes were delayed leaving congested hub cities or slowed at the gate by baggage transfers. Late flights and cancellations generated a thousand complaints a day. Continental Lite could not afford to compete on price and still pay standard travel-agent commissions, but neither could it do without agents for its full-service business. The airline compromised by cutting commissions for all Continental flights across the board. Similarly, it could not afford to offer the same frequent-flier benefits to travelers paying the much lower ticket prices for Lite service. It compromised again by lowering the rewards of Continental’s entire frequent-flier program. The results: angry travel agents and full-service customers.

大陆航空公司试图同时以两种方式展开竞争,设法在某些航线上实行低成本,同时又在其他航线上提供全面服务,结果饱尝了骑墙的苦果。假设以上两种定位之间不存在取舍,那么大陆航空公司本可以获得成功。然而没有取舍却是危险的错误认识,管理者绝不能抱有这种观点。质量不总是免费的。西南航空公司的便捷性——也是一种高质量——恰好与低成本相一致,因为它的频繁班次得到了众多低成本做法的支持,比如快速泊机周转和自动售票。不过,构成航空服务质量的其他方面,如指定座位、餐饮或行李转运,则需要投入成本才能提供。

Continental tried to compete in two ways at once. In trying to be low cost on some routes and full service on others, Continental paid an enormous straddling penalty. If there were no trade-offs between the two positions, Continental could have succeeded. But the absence of trade-offs is a dangerous half-truth that managers must unlearn. Quality is not always free. Southwest’s convenience, one kind of high quality, happens to be consistent with low costs because its frequent departures are facilitated by a number of low-cost practices – fast gate turnarounds and automated ticketing, for example. However, other dimensions of airline quality – an assigned seat, a meal, or baggage transfer – require costs to provide.

一般说来,当组织内部存在精力冗余或浪费、控制不力、准确性欠佳或协调不足等情况时,成本和质量之间就会产生虚假的取舍。当企业起步时离生产率边界还远,或者生产率边界向外移动时,有可能同时改善成本和差异性。当企业处于生产率边界,即做到现有的最佳实践时,成本和差异性之间的取舍才是真正的取舍。

In general, false trade-offs between cost and quality occur primarily when there is redundant or wasted effort, poor control or accuracy, or weak coordination. Simultaneous improvement of cost and differentiation is possible only when a company begins far behind the productivity frontier or when the frontier shifts outward. At the frontier, where companies have achieved current best practice, the trade-off between cost and differentiation is very real indeed.

本田汽车公司和丰田汽车公司在享受了10年生产率优势之后,最近已抵达了生产率边界。1995年,面对顾客对较高汽车价格的日益抵制,本田公司发现只有精简某些配置才能生产出价格稍低的轿车。于是,它在美国市场把思域(Civic)的后轮盘式制动器换成了成本更低的鼓式制动器,并且对后排座椅采用更廉价的面料,希望顾客不会察觉这些改变。丰田公司则试图销售在日本市场最畅销的一款花冠(Corolla)车型,并把该车型改为采用未喷漆的保险杠和更廉价的座椅。但是在丰田的案例中,顾客发出了强烈抗议,于是丰田公司很快就放弃了这款新车型。

After a decade of enjoying productivity advantages, Honda Motor Company and Toyota Motor Corporation recently bumped up against the frontier. In 1995, faced with increasing customer resistance to higher automobile prices, Honda found that the only way to produce a less-expensive car was to skimp on features. In the United States, it replaced the rear disk brakes on the Civic with lower-cost drum brakes and used cheaper fabric for the back seat, hoping customers would not notice. Toyota tried to sell a version of its best-selling Corolla in Japan with unpainted bumpers and cheaper seats. In Toyota’s case, customers rebelled, and the company quickly dropped the new model.

在过去的10年中,管理者大幅提高了运营效益,内心形成了这么一种观念:不用取舍是一件好事。但如果没有取舍,企业将永远无法获得可持续优势。结果为了保持现有地位,他们将不得不加速快跑。

For the past decade, as managers have improved operational effectiveness greatly, they have internalized the idea that eliminating trade-offs is a good thing. But if there are no trade-offs companies will never achieve a sustainable advantage. They will have to run faster and faster just to stay in place.
当我们回到“什么是战略”这一问题时,我们看到,取舍为这一问题的答案增加了一个新的解读层面。战略就是在竞争中做出取舍。战略的本质就是选择不做哪些事情。没有取舍,就没有选择的必要,也就没有制定战略的必要。如果是这样的话,那么任何一个好点子都可以而且会被很快地复制,而企业的绩效将再一次完全取决于运营效益。

As we return to the question, What is strategy? we see that trade-offs add a new dimension to the answer. Strategy is making trade-offs in competing. The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do. Without trade-offs, there would be no need for choice and thus no need for strategy. Any good idea could and would be quickly imitated. Again, performance would once again depend wholly on operational effectiveness.

四、配称推动竞争优势和可持续性

Fit Drives Both Competitive Advantage and Sustainability

定位选择不仅决定企业将开展哪些运营活动、如何配置各项活动,而且还决定各项活动之间如何关联。运营效益涉及如何在单项活动或单项职能中实现卓越,而战略是关于如何将所有活动整合在一起

Positioning choices determine not only which activities a company will perform and how it will configure individual activities but also how activities relate to one another. While operational effectiveness is about achieving excellence in individual activities, or functions, strategy is about combining activities.

西南航空公司的快速泊机周转,是它的便捷性和低成本定位的关键,因为该做法使得它能排出更密集的班次,并提高了飞机的利用率。西南航空公司是如何做到这一点的呢?部分答案在于该公司付高薪予地勤人员,他们在管理泊机周转时的生产率因灵活的工会制度而得到了大幅提升。然而,更重要的还在于西南航空公司实施其运营活动的方式。它不提供餐饮、不指定座位以及跨航线行李转运服务,因此避免了那些可能耽搁其他航班的活动。西南航空公司对机场和航线进行了选择,以免可能导致航班延误的拥堵。此外它还对航线的类型和距离作了严格限制,让飞机的标准化变得可行:它的飞机全部是波音737机型。

Southwest’s rapid gate turnaround, which allows frequent departures and greater use of aircraft, is essential to its high-convenience, low-cost positioning. But how does Southwest achieve it? Part of the answer lies in the company’s well-paid gate and ground crews, whose productivity in turnarounds is enhanced by flexible union rules. But the bigger part of the answer lies in how Southwest performs other activities. With no meals, no seat assignment, and no interline baggage transfers, Southwest avoids having to perform activities that slow down other airlines. It selects airports and routes to avoid congestion that introduces delays. Southwest’s strict limits on the type and length of routes make standardized aircraft possible: every aircraft Southwest turns is a Boeing 737.

西南航空公司的核心竞争力是什么?它的关键成功因素是什么?正确的答案是:每一个环节都重要。西南航空公司的战略囊括了整个企业内的运营活动系统,而不是各个部分的简单集合。它的竞争优势来自各项活动之间的配称(fit)和相互加强。

What is Southwest’s core competence? Its key success factors? The correct answer is that everything matters. Southwest’s strategy involves a whole system of activities, not a collection of parts. Its competitive advantage comes from the way its activities fit and reinforce one another.

战略配称可以建立一个联接最紧密的链,进而将模仿者阻挡在外。同大多数拥有优秀战略的企业一样,西南航空公司的各项运营活动以能创造真正经济价值的方式进行相互补充。例如,某项活动的成本因为其他活动的实施方式而降低;同样的,某项活动对客户的价值,可以因其他活动而得到提高。战略配称就是通过这种方式创造出竞争优势和出色赢利能力。

Fit locks out imitators by creating a chain that is as strong as its strongest link. As in most companies with good strategies, Southwest’s activities complement one another in ways that create real economic value. One activity’s cost, for example, is lowered because of the way other activities are performed. Similarly, one activity’s value to customers can be enhanced by a company’s other activities. That is the way strategic fit creates competitive advantage and superior profitability.

配称的种类

Types of Fit

各职能部门的政策应该互相匹配,这是早有的战略思想之一。然而渐渐地,这一思想不再是管理层的考虑重点。管理者不再把企业看成一个整体,而是转向所谓的“核心”竞争力、“关键”资源,以及“关键”成功因素。实际上,配称才是竞争优势的核心要件,其重要性远远超过大多数人对它的认识。

The importance of fit among functional policies is one of the oldest ideas in strategy. Gradually, however, it has been supplanted on the management agenda. Rather than seeing the company as a whole, managers have turned to “core” competencies, “critical” resources, and “key” success factors. In fact, fit is a far more central component of competitive advantage than most realize.

配称之所以重要,是因为分散进行的活动往往会相互影响。比如,一支高素质的销售队伍,在企业的产品具有很高的技术含量,营销上强调协助与支持客户的做法时,就能释放出更大的优势。一条模型多样化程度很高的生产线,与一套能够把成品仓储的需求降到最低的订货处理系统、一套解释并鼓励客户定制的销售流程,以及一个强调产品多样化有利于满足客户特殊需求的广告主题相结合,就能产生更大的价值。这种互补在战略中普遍存在。尽管有些活动之间的配称是通行的,可以运用于许多企业,然而最有价值的配称还是那些只适用于特定战略的配称,因为它能增强定位的独特性,并放大取舍效应。

Fit is important because discrete activities often affect one another. A sophisticated sales force, for example, confers a greater advantage when the company’s product embodies premium technology and its marketing approach emphasizes customer assistance and support. A production line with high levels of model variety is more valuable when combined with an inventory and order processing system that minimizes the need for stocking finished goods, a sales process equipped to explain and encourage customization, and an advertising theme that stresses the benefits of product variations that meet a customer’s special needs. Such complementarities are pervasive in strategy. Although some fit among activities is generic and applies to many companies, the most valuable fit is strategy-specific because it enhances a position’s uniqueness and amplifies trade-offs.

配称有三类,不过它们并不相互排斥。第一层面的配称是让各运营活动(职能部门)与总体战略之间保持简单一致性(simple consistency)。例如,先锋集团围绕它的低成本战略开展各项活动。它将投资组合周转率降至最低,不需要支付高薪的资金经理人。它直接发行基金,因此避免了经纪人佣金。它限制广告数量,而主要依靠公关和口碑推荐。此外,先锋集团还把员工的奖金与节约成本挂钩起来。

There are three types of fit, although they are not mutually exclusive. First-order fit is simple consistency between each activity (function) and the overall strategy. Vanguard, for example, aligns all activities with its low-cost strategy. It minimizes portfolio turnover and does not need highly compensated money managers. The company distributes its funds directly, avoiding commissions to brokers. It also limits advertising, relying instead on public relations and word-of-mouth recommendations. Vanguard ties its employees’ bonuses to cost savings.

一致性确保了各项活动的竞争优势能不断累积,而不会减弱或自动消失。同时,一致性还使战略更容易向客户、员工和股东沟通,并且通过让企业上下一心来改善执行。

Consistency ensures that the competitive advantages of activities cumulate and do not erode or cancel themselves out. It makes the strategy easier to communicate to customers, employees, and shareholders, and improves implementation through single-mindedness in the corporation.

第二层面的配称是指活动之间相互加强。例如,露得清公司针对高级酒店营销自己的产品,这些酒店渴望向客人提供由皮肤专家推荐的香皂。酒店给予露得清使用自己原包装的特权,而要求其他香皂在包装上打上酒店的名字。一旦客人在某豪华酒店使用过露得清香皂,他们就很可能会去药店购买,或者征询医生对这种香皂的看法。这样一来,露得清公司针对医生的营销活动和针对酒店的营销活动就起到了相互加强的作用,从而降低了公司的营销总成本。

Second-order fit occurs when activities are reinforcing. Neutrogena, for example, markets to upscale hotels eager to offer their guests a soap recommended by dermatologists. Hotels grant Neutrogena the privilege of using its customary packaging while requiring other soaps to feature the hotel’s name. Once guests have tried Neutrogena in a luxury hotel, they are more likely to purchase it at the drugstore or ask their doctor about it. Thus Neutrogena’s medical and hotel marketing activities reinforce one another, lowering total marketing costs.

另一个例子是比克公司(Bic Corporation),它通过所有销售渠道向所有主要客户市场(零售业、商用、促销用品和免费赠品)销售种类有限的廉价水笔。基于产品品类的定位都是要服务广普的客户群,比克公司同样强调一种共同需求(可以接受的廉价水笔),并采用覆盖面广的营销方法(一支庞大的销售队伍以及大量电视广告)。比克公司从几乎贯穿所有活动的一致性中获益匪浅,这些活动包括强调便于生产的产品设计、低成本工厂布局、通过大批量采购将原材料成本降至最低,以及通过内部生产部件获得经济效益。

In another example, Bic Corporation sells a narrow line of standard, low-priced pens to virtually all major customer markets (retail, commercial, promotional, and giveaway) through virtually all available channels. As with any variety-based positioning serving a broad group of customers, Bic emphasizes a common need (low price for an acceptable pen) and uses marketing approaches with a broad reach (a large sales force and heavy television advertising). Bic gains the benefits of consistency across nearly all activities, including product design that emphasizes ease of manufacturing, plants configured for low cost, aggressive purchasing to minimize material costs, and in-house parts production whenever the economics dictate.

但比克公司的做法超越了简单一致性的层面,因为它各项活动之间是相互加强的。例如,它采用售点陈列和频繁更换包装的方法来刺激消费者的冲动性购买。要完成售点工作,企业通常需要一支庞大的销售队伍。比克公司的销售队伍规模是行业之最,它对售点活动的管理也强过竞争者。此外,售点、大量电视广告以及频繁更换包装这些活动的相结合,比单独开展其中任何一项活动更能刺激消费者的冲动性购买。

Yet Bic goes beyond simple consistency because its activities are reinforcing. For example, the company uses point-of-sale displays and frequent packaging changes to stimulate impulse buying. To handle point-of-sale tasks, a company needs a large sales force. Bic’s is the largest in its industry, and it handles point-of-sale activities better than its rivals do. Moreover, the combination of point-of-sale activity, heavy television advertising, and packaging changes yields far more impulse buying than any activity in isolation could.

第三层面的配称突破了各项活动之间的相互加强,我把它称为投入最优化(optimization of effort)。Gap是一家休闲服饰零售商,它把店内产品的可获得性视为自己战略的最重要元素。Gap可以通过在店内囤货或者从仓库补货来保证产品的供应。Gap对这些活动的投入进行了优化,它几乎每天都从3个仓库为它的基本服饰进行补货,这样店内的囤货需要就被降至最低。Gap公司之所以强调从仓库补货,是因为它的商品策略是锁定在颜色品种相对较少的基本货物上。其他具有比较性的零售商每年的库存周转是3~4次,而Gap达到7.5次。此外,由于Gap实施的是短周期服装更新(每6~8周就更新一次),所以从仓库快速补货还可以降低此项活动的成本。

Third-order fit goes beyond activity reinforcement to what I call optimization of effort. The Gap, a retailer of casual clothes, considers product availability in its stores a critical element of its strategy. The Gap could keep products either by holding store inventory or by restocking from warehouses. The Gap has optimized its effort across these activities by restocking its selection of basic clothing almost daily out of three warehouses, thereby minimizing the need to carry large in-store inventories. The emphasis is on restocking because the Gap’s merchandising strategy sticks to basic items in relatively few colors. While comparable retailers achieve turns of three to four times per year, the Gap turns its inventory seven and a half times per year. Rapid restocking, moreover, reduces the cost of implementing the Gap’s short model cycle, which is six to eight weeks long.

各项活动之间的协调和信息交流,可以消除冗余并将投入浪费减少到最低程度,这是投入最优化中最基本的类型。不过还有更高层次的最优化。例如,对产品设计的选择可以消除售后服务的需要,或者可以让客户自行服务。同样,与供应商或经销渠道之间的协调,可以消除由公司内部实施某些运营活动的需要,如对终端用户的培训。

Coordination and information exchange across activities to eliminate redundancy and minimize wasted effort are the most basic types of effort optimization. But there are higher levels as well. Product design choices, for example, can eliminate the need for after-sale service or make it possible for customers to perform service activities themselves. Similarly, coordination with suppliers or distribution channels can eliminate the need for some in-house activities, such as end-user training.

在以上三种类型的配称中,整体系统比任何个体部分都来得重要。体现在外部的竞争优势源自企业内各项活动形成的整体系统。各项活动之间的配称可以大幅降低成本或者增加差异性。此外,单项活动的竞争价值——或者相关的技能、能力或资源——无法脱离系统或战略而独立存在。对于有竞争力的企业,通过找出个体活动的优势、核心竞争力或者关键资源来解释它们的成功都是误导性的。事实上,这些优势贯穿于各个职能部门,彼此渗透。因此,更可取的方式是以渗透于各项运营活动中的定位主题为视角进行思考,比如低成本、某个独特的客户服务理念,或者某个独特的价值理念,主题始终贯穿于由各项运营活动紧密联结而成的系统之中。

In all three types of fit, the whole matters more than any individual part. Competitive advantage grows out of the entire system of activities. The fit among activities substantially reduces cost or increases differentiation. Beyond that, the competitive value of individual activities–or the associated skills, competencies, or resources – cannot be decoupled from the system or the strategy. Thus in competitive companies it can be misleading to explain success by specifying individual strengths, core competencies, or critical resources. The list of strengths cuts across many functions, and one strength blends into others. It is more useful to think in terms of themes that pervade many activities, such as low cost, a particular notion of customer service, or a particular conception of the value delivered. These themes are embodied in nests of tightly linked activities.

配称与可持续性

Fit and Sustainability

在众多运营活动中建立战略配称,不仅是获得竞争优势的关键,也是保持这一优势的关键。竞争对手要复制一批环环相扣的活动,远比仅仅复制某个特定的销售队伍策略、某项工艺技术或者某套产品性能困难得多。因此,建立在活动系统之上的定位要比那些建立在个体活动之上的定位更容易持久。

Strategic fit among many activities is fundamental not only to competitive advantage but also to the sustainability of that advantage. It is harder for a rival to match an array of interlocked activities than it is merely to imitate a particular sales-force approach, match a process technology, or replicate a set of product features. Positions built on systems of activities are far more sustainable than those built on individual activities.

看一个简单的数学题。竞争对手成功复制某项活动的概率通常小于1,而成功复制整个系统的概率就迅速降低(0.9×0.9=0.81;0.9×0.9×0.9×0.9=0.66……以此类推),所以竞争对手几乎不可能复制整个系统。既有的企业若要重新定位或者骑墙,就得被迫重新配置许多运营活动。即使是新进入者,尽管它们碰不到既有企业所面临的取舍问题,仍将面临令人生畏的模仿阻碍。

Consider this simple exercise. The probability that competitors can match any activity is often less than one. The probabilities then quickly compound to make matching the entire system highly unlikely (.93.9= .81; .93.93.93.9= .66, and so on). Existing companies that try to reposition or straddle will be forced to reconfigure many activities. And even new entrants, though they do not confront the trade-offs facing established rivals, still face formidable barriers to imitation.

一个企业的定位越是依赖于内部运营活动系统第二和第三层面的配称,其外部竞争优势的可持续性就越强。这样的系统,其天生的特点就是很难被企业之外的人破解,因此难以模仿。即使竞争对手能找出其中的相互联系,他们在复制时也会遇到困难。达成配称是一件难事,因为这需要许多相互独立的下级单位整合各自的决策和行动。

The more a company’s positioning rests on activity systems with second- and third-order fit, the more sustainable its advantage will be. Such systems, by their very nature, are usually difficult to untangle from outside the company and therefore hard to imitate. And even if rivals can identify the relevant interconnections, they will have difficulty replicating them. Achieving fit is difficult because it requires the integration of decisions and actions across many independent subunits.

想要模仿整套活动系统的竞争对手,如果仅仅复制某些活动而不是整个系统的话,其收效就微乎其微。绩效非但不能提高,反而会下降。大陆航空公司企图模仿西南航空的惨剧,就是明证。

A competitor seeking to match an activity system gains little by imitating only some activities and not matching the whole. Performance does not improve; it can decline. Recall Continental Lite’s disastrous attempt to imitate Southwest.

最后,企业各项运营活动之间的配称会为改善运营效益创造压力和动力,这使得对手更难以模仿。配称意味着某项活动的糟糕绩效会损害其他活动的绩效,这样缺陷就会暴露,也更容易得到关注;反之,某项活动的改善,则会使其他活动受益。因此,在各项活动之间形成强大配称的企业很少会成为模仿对象。它们出色的战略和执行将进一步加强它们的优势,从而为模仿者设置了障碍。

Finally, fit among a company’s activities creates pressures and incentives to improve operational effectiveness, which makes imitation even harder. Fit means that poor performance in one activity will degrade the performance in others, so that weaknesses are exposed and more prone to get attention. Conversely, improvements in one activity will pay dividends in others. Companies with strong fit among their activities are rarely inviting targets. Their superiority in strategy and in execution only compounds their advantages and raises the hurdle for imitators.

当各项活动形成互补时,竞争对手除非成功地复制整个系统,否则就难以从模仿中获得多少好处。这种形势将推动竞争向“赢家通吃”的方向发展。建立了最佳运营活动系统的企业将赢得竞争,比如玩具反斗城(Toys R Us)。而采用类似战略的竞争对手,比如Child World和Lionel Leisure,却落后一大截。因此,找到一个新的战略定位通常要比抄袭他人的定位更为可取。When activities complement one another, rivals will get little benefit from imitation unless they successfully match the whole system. Such situations tend to promote winner take- all competition. The company that builds the best activity system – Toys R Us, for instance – wins, while rivals with similar strategies – Child World and Lionel Leisure – fall behind. Thus finding a new strategic position is often preferable to being the second or third imitator of an occupied position.

不同定位下的运营活动系统若因为取舍而互不相容,那么这样的定位最为可行。战略定位设定了取舍原则,这些原则界定了各个单项活动如何进行配置并整合在一起。从运营活动系统的角度来看待战略,会更清楚为什么组织结构、系统和流程必须与特定战略相配套。反过来,依据战略设计组织,使得各项活动更容易实现互补,同时也使竞争优势更加持久。

The most viable positions are those whose activity systems are incompatible because of tradeoffs. Strategic positioning sets the trade-off rules that define how individual activities will be configured and integrated. Seeing strategy in terms of activity systems only makes it clearer why organizational structure, systems, and processes need to be strategy-specific. Tailoring organization to strategy, in turn, makes complementarities more achievable and contributes to sustainability.

这意味着战略定位应该有十年或更长时间的视野,而不仅仅是着眼于一个战略规划周期。战略定位的延续性可以不断推动单项活动的改善和各项活动之间的配称,从而使组织建立起与战略相匹配的独特能力和技能。此外,延续性还可以不断强化企业的形象识别。

One implication is that strategic positions should have a horizon of a decade or more, not of a single planning cycle. Continuity fosters improvements in individual activities and the fit across activities, allowing an organization to build unique capabilities and skills tailored to its strategy. Continuity also reinforces a company’s identity.

反过来,频繁切换定位的成本就非常高。企业不仅必须重新配置各个单项活动,还必须重新调整整个系统。有些活动可能永远跟不上多变的战略。频繁切换战略或者一开始就没有选择一个独特定位,其结果必然是“跟风”或模棱两可的运营活动配置、各职能部门之间的不一致以及整个组织的不和谐。

Conversely, frequent shifts in positioning are costly. Not only must a company reconfigure individual activities, but it must also realign entire systems. Some activities may never catch up to the vacillating strategy. The inevitable result of frequent shifts in strategy, or of failure to choose a distinct position in the first place, is “me-too” or hedged activity configurations, inconsistencies across functions, and organizational dissonance.

什么是战略?现在我们可以完成对这个问题的解答:战略就是在企业的各项运营活动之间建立配称。战略的成功,取决于做好很多事情,而不仅仅是几件事情,并且把所有事情整合在一起。如果各项活动之间不存在配称,那么就不存在独特的战略,也不存在可持续性。这样,管理者只能重新承担更简单的任务,即监管各个独立的职能部门,而运营效益将决定企业的相对绩效。

What is strategy? We can now complete the answer to this question. Strategy is creating fit among a company’s activities. The success of a strategy depends on doing many things well–not just a few–and integrating among them. If there is no fit among activities, there is no distinctive strategy and little sustainability. Management reverts to the simpler task of overseeing independent functions, and operational effectiveness determines an organization’s relative performance.

关于战略的其他观点.

Alternative Views of Strategy

过去十年中隐含的战略模式:

The Implicit Strategy Model of the Past Decade

⊙ 行业中存在一个理想的竞争定位

One ideal competitive position in the industry

⊙ 在所有运营活动中运用标杆法并达成最佳实践

Benchmarking of all activities and achieving best practice

⊙ 积极发展外包和结盟以获得更高的效率

Aggressive outsourcing and partnering to gain efficiencies

⊙ 竞争优势基于少数几个关键成功因素、关键资源以及核心竞争力

Advantages rest on a few key success factors, critical resources, core competencies

⊙ 保持灵活性,对所有竞争和市场变化做出及时反应

Flexibility and rapid responses to all competitive and market changes

可持续竞争优势:

Sustainable Competitive Advantage

⊙ 企业确定独特的竞争定位

Unique competitive position for the company

⊙ 根据战略定制运营活动

Activities tailored to strategy

⊙ 相对竞争对手有明确的取舍与选择

Clear trade-offs and choices vis-à-vis competitors

⊙ 竞争优势源自各项活动之间的配称

Competitive advantage arises from fit across activities

⊙ 可持续性来自整个活动系统,而不是其中的某个部分

Sustainability comes from the activity system, not the parts

⊙ 运营效益只是基本条件

Operational effectiveness a given

五、重新发现战略

V. Rediscovering Strategy

回避战略选择

The Failure to Choose

为什么这么多公司都没有战略?为什么管理者回避做出战略选择?或者管理者曾经做出过选择,现在却常常让战略逐步退化或变得模糊不清?

Why do so many companies fail to have a strategy? Why do managers avoid making strategic choices? Or, having made them in the past, why do managers so often let strategies decay and blur?

人们通常总以为对战略的威胁都来自企业外部,缘于行业技术的不断革新或者竞争对手行为的变化。尽管外部的变化可能是个问题,但是对战略的最大威胁往往来自企业内部。即使是一个原本可行的战略也会遭到错误的竞争观念和组织性失误的破坏,特别是增长的欲望。

Commonly, the threats to strategy are seen to emanate from outside a company because of changes in technology or the behavior of competitors. Although external changes can be the problem, the greater threat to strategy often comes from within. A sound strategy is undermined by a misguided view of competition, by organizational failures, and, especially, by the desire to grow.

管理者对战略选择的必要性一直存在疑惑。当许多企业远离生产率边界运作时,取舍看似毫无必要。一家运作良好的企业似乎能同时在各个方面击败效率低下的对手。一些管理学学者也教导企业不一定要做出取舍,于是管理者获得了大无畏的气概,认为做取舍是一种软弱的表现。

Managers have become confused about the necessity of making choices. When many companies operate far from the productivity frontier, trade-offs appear unnecessary. It can seem that a well-run company should be able to beat its ineffective rivals on all dimensions simultaneously. Taught by popular management thinkers that they do not have to make trade-offs, managers have acquired a macho sense that to do so is a sign of weakness.

超级竞争的预言让管理者惊恐万分,然而他们全盘模仿竞争对手的做法却反而增加了超级竞争出现的可能性。管理者被教导要从变革的角度思考,于是为了技术本身而追逐一切新技术。

Unnerved by forecasts of hypercompetition, managers increase its likelihood by imitating everything about their competitors. Exhorted to think in terms of revolution, managers chase every new technology for its own sake.

追求运营效益的改善总是充满诱惑,因为它实实在在,并且容易付诸实施。过去10年来,管理者一直在承受不断增长的压力,要拿出切实的、可以衡量的绩效改善。运营效益方面的各种项目带来了稳步的增长,但能否带来出色的盈利能力还不确定。充斥市场的商业书籍和咨询顾问们到处提供有关其他公司做法的信息,这进一步强化了管理者追求最佳实践的错误心态。许多管理者深陷于运营效益的比赛中,完全不理解制定战略的必要性。

The pursuit of operational effectiveness is seductive because it is concrete and actionable. Over the past decade, managers have been under increasing pressure to deliver tangible, measurable performance improvements. Programs in operational effectiveness produce reassuring progress, although superior profitability may remain elusive. Business publications and consultants flood the market with information about what other companies are doing, reinforcing the best-practice mentality. Caught up in the race for operational effectiveness, many managers simply do not understand the need to have a strategy.

企业还会因为其他一些原因回避或者模糊战略选择。一个行业中的传统观念通常都很强大,使竞争走向趋同。有些管理者误以为“以顾客为中心”就是满足顾客的所有需求或者对经销渠道有求必应。其他管理者则认为企业要保持灵活性。

Companies avoid or blur strategic choices for other reasons as well. Conventional wisdom within an industry is often strong, homogenizing competition. Some managers mistake “customer focus” to mean they must serve all customer needs or respond to every request from distribution channels. Others cite the desire to preserve flexibility.

组织中的现实情况也不利于战略。取舍总是让人担心,管理者有时宁愿不做选择,也不愿由于选择失误而受到责备。企业采取从众行为,彼此模仿,每个企业都以为对手知道一些自己不知道的秘诀。新近获得授权的员工们被鼓励去寻求每个改进的机会,他们常常缺乏大局观念,也没有眼光去辨识取舍。有时,因为不愿意让受到器重的经理人或员工失望,企业也会回避选择。

Organizational realities also work against strategy. Trade-offs are frightening, and making no choice is sometimes preferred to risking blame for a bad choice. Companies imitate one another in a type of herd behavior, each assuming rivals know something they do not. Newly empowered employees, who are urged to seek every possible source of improvement, often lack a vision of the whole and the perspective to recognize trade-offs. The failure to choose sometimes comes down to the reluctance to disappoint valued managers or employees.

增长陷阱 

The Growth Trap

在所有影响战略的因素中,增长欲望对战略负面影响最大。取舍和限制初看起来会制约企业增长。比如,为一个顾客群服务而将其他顾客群排除在外,会对收入增长构成实际或意想的限制。面向广普顾客群的低价战略会导致失去那些注重产品性能和服务的顾客。实施差异化战略,又丢掉那些在乎价格的顾客。

Among all other influences, the desire to grow has perhaps the most perverse effect on strategy. Trade-offs and limits appear to constrain growth. Serving one group of customers and excluding others, for instance, places a real or imagined limit on revenue growth. Broadly targeted strategies emphasizing low price result in lost sales with customers sensitive to features or service. Differentiators lose sales to price-sensitive customers.

管理者常常难抵诱惑,想逐步突破以上那些限制,结果却使企业的战略定位更加模糊不清。最终,增长的压力或者目标市场的明显饱和使管理者通过拓展产品线、增加新功能、模仿竞争对手广受欢迎的服务、调整流程,甚至收购来拓宽自己的定位。多年来,美泰克公司因专注生产经久耐用的洗衣机和烘干机(后来还包括洗碗机)而获得成功。不过该产业的传统观点主张应该销售全线产品。考虑到行业日趋缓慢的增长速度以及来自综合家电制造商的竞争,美泰克公司在经销商的施压和消费者的鼓动下扩展了自己的产品线。美泰克以美泰克品牌延伸到冰箱和厨房产品,同时积极收购其他品牌,其中包括Jenn-air、Hardwick Stove、Hoover、Admiral和Magic Chef。美泰克公司的销售额从1985年的6.84亿美元猛增至1994年的34亿美元,但是其销售利润却从1970~80年代的8%~12%跌至1989~1995年间的不到1%。削减成本可能会提高公司的业绩水平,但是支撑公司赢利的仍是洗衣机和洗碗机。

Managers are constantly tempted to take incremental steps that surpass those limits but blur a company’s strategic position. Eventually, pressures to grow or apparent saturation of the target market lead managers to broaden the position by extending product lines, adding new features, imitating competitors’ popular services, matching processes, and even making acquisitions. For years, Maytag Corporation’s success was based on its focus on reliable, durable washers and dryers, later extended to include dishwashers. However, conventional wisdom emerging within the industry supported the notion of selling a full line of products. Concerned with slow industry growth and competition from broad-line appliance makers, Maytag was pressured by dealers and encouraged by customers to extend its line. Maytag expanded into refrigerators and cooking products under the Maytag brand and acquired other brands – Jenn-Air, Hardwick Stove, Hoover, Admiral, and Magic Chef – with disparate positions. Maytag has grown substantially from $684 million in 1985 to a peak of $3.4 billion in 1994, but return on sales has declined from 8% to 12% in the 1970s and 1980s to an average of less than 1% between 1989 and 1995. Cost cutting will improve this performance, but laundry and dishwasher products still anchor Maytag’s profitability.

露得清公司也落入了相同的陷阱。1990年代初,它在美国的经销渠道扩展到包括沃尔玛那样的大型超市。公司以露得清品牌,延伸进入一系列不同的产品,比如眼部卸装液和洗发液。露得清在这些产品上不仅没有独特性,还冲淡了自己的形象。此外,它也开始采用降价促销。

Neutrogena may have fallen into the same trap. In the early 1990s, its U.S. distribution broadened to include mass merchandisers such as Wal-Mart Stores. Under the Neutrogena name, the company expanded into a wide variety of products – eye makeup remover and shampoo, for example – in which it was not unique and which diluted its image, and it began turning to price promotions.

追求增长的过程中出现的折中和前后不一致,将侵蚀企业最初的产品种类或目标客户带来的竞争优势。试图同时以多种方式展开竞争,会导致混乱,并且破坏组织的积极性和焦点。结果,收入虽然增长了,但利润却下降了。管理者没有能力做出选择,于是企业又开始了新一轮的扩张和折中。通常,竞争各方会继续互相模仿,直到绝望的气氛打破僵局,引起兼并或退回到最初的定位上。

Compromises and inconsistencies in the pursuit of growth will erode the competitive advantage a company had with its original varieties or target customers. Attempts to compete in several ways at once create confusion and undermine organizational motivation and focus. Profits fall, but more revenue is seen as the answer. Managers are unable to make choices, so the company embarks on a new round of broadening and compromises. Often, rivals continue to match each other until desperation breaks the cycle, resulting in a merger or downsizing to the original positioning.

重获战略

Reconnecting with Strategy

大多数企业最初的成功都缘于独特战略定位和明确的取舍,其各项运营活动也根据定位进行了相应配置。然而随着时间的流逝和增长的压力,企业开始采取折中做法,而这些做法在一开始几乎不易察觉。尽管每一次变革在当时看来合乎情理,但是经过一连串的累进改变后,许多成立多年的企业因折中路线而走上了与竞争对手的战略趋同。

Most companies owe their initial success to a unique strategic position involving clear trade-offs. Activities once were aligned with that position. The passage of time and the pressures of growth, however, led to compromises that were, at first, almost imperceptible. Through a succession of incremental changes that each seemed sensible at the time, many established companies have compromised their way to homogeneity with their rivals.

这里谈论的问题无关那些原先的定位已不再可行的企业,因为那些企业需要像市场新进入者一样重新起步。这个问题非常普遍,是指那些成立多年但业绩平平、缺乏清晰战略的企业。这些既有的企业在逐渐增加产品种类、不断努力服务于新的客户群并模仿竞争对手的运营活动之后,失去了原本清晰的竞争性定位。典型情况是,这类企业跟进了竞争对手的产品和做法,并试图把产品出售给大多数的客户群。

The issue here is not with the companies whose historical position is no longer viable; their challenge is to start over, just as a new entrant would. At issue is a far more common phenomenon: the established company achieving mediocre returns and lacking a clear strategy. Through incremental additions of product varieties, incremental efforts to serve new customer groups, and emulation of rivals’ activities, the existing company loses its clear competitive position. Typically, the company has matched many of its competitors’ offerings and practices and attempts to sell to most customer groups.

有很多种方法可以帮助企业重获战略。首先,企业应该仔细审视自己的做法。在大多数得以在市场上立足的企业中,都存在核心的独特性,可以通过回答下列问题来辨别这种独特性:

A number of approaches can help a company reconnect with strategy. The first is a careful look at what it already does. Within most well-established companies is a core of uniqueness. It is identified by answering questions such as the following:

⊙ 我们的哪些产品或服务种类最具独特性?

Which of our product or service varieties are the most distinctive?

⊙ 我们的哪些产品或服务种类利润最丰厚?

Which of our product or service varieties are the most profitable?

⊙ 我们的哪些顾客最感到满意?

Which of our customers are the most satisfied?

⊙ 哪些顾客、经销渠道或者购物场所提供的利润最丰厚?

Which customers, channels, or purchase occasions are the most profitable?

⊙ 在我们的价值链中,哪些活动最与众不同和富有成效?

Which of the activities in our value chain are the most different and effective?

这个核心独特性,会因时间而渐渐地被掩盖,必须将外壳剥离才能看清其中的战略定位。少数几个产品种类或者少数客户群很可能占了企业销售额和利润的大部分。那么,企业的挑战就是要重新聚焦于这一独特核心,并围绕这一核心重新配置运营活动。核心之外的客户和产品种类要么出售,要么通过提价或者顺其发展的方法让其逐步退出。

Around this core of uniqueness are encrustations added incrementally over time. Like barnacles, they must be removed to reveal the underlying strategic positioning. A small percentage of varieties or customers may well account for most of a company’s sales and especially its profits. The challenge, then, is to refocus on the unique core and realign the company’s activities with it. Customers and product varieties at the periphery can be sold or allowed through inattention or price increases to fade away.

企业的历史也能提供指引。创始人的愿景是什么?公司的发家产品和客户是哪些?管理者可以回顾过去,重新审视原来的战略,看看它是否仍然可行。管理者可以自问,既往的市场定位能否以适合当今技术和实践的现代方式进行实施?这一类思考会引发管理者更新战略的意愿,也会挑动整个组织去重获独特性。这种挑战可以振奋人心,为企业进行必要的取舍注入信心。

A company’s history can also be instructive. What was the vision of the founder? What were the products and customers that made the company? Looking backward, one can reexamine the original strategy to see if it is still valid. Can the historical positioning be implemented in a modern way, one consistent with today’s technologies and practices? This sort of thinking may lead to a commitment to renew the strategy and may challenge the organization to recover its distinctiveness. Such a challenge can be galvanizing and can instill the confidence to make the needed trade-offs.

有利润的增长

Profitable Growth

很多公司在经过10年的重组和削减成本之后,正把自己的注意力转向增长。然而,追求增长的努力往往会冲淡企业的独特性,导致折中行为、削弱配称,并最终破坏公司的竞争优势。事实上,追求增长的冲动对战略有害。

Many companies, after a decade of restructuring and cost-cutting, are turning their attention to growth. Too often, efforts to grow blur uniqueness, create compromises, reduce fit, and ultimately undermine competitive advantage. In fact, the growth imperative is hazardous to strategy.

什么样的增长方式能维护并强化战略呢?一般来说,正确的增长之道在于深化既有的战略定位,而不是拓宽定位或采取折中行为。一种方式是寻求战略延伸,即利用既有的运营活动系统,为客户提供单独展开同类业务的竞争对手无法复制或者需要付出高昂代价才能复制的功能或服务。换言之,管理者可以自问,由于既有活动的补充,哪些活动、哪些产品性能或哪种竞争形式是可行的或者可以因此降低成本。

What approaches to growth preserve and reinforce strategy? Broadly, the prescription is to concentrate on deepening a strategic position rather than broadening and compromising it. One approach is to look for extensions of the strategy that leverage the existing activity system by offering features or services that rivals would find impossible or costly to match on a stand-alone basis. In other words, managers can ask themselves which activities, features, or forms of competition are feasible or less costly to them because of complementary activities that their company performs.

深化定位包括让企业的运营活动更独特,加强配称,并更好地向那些认可定位的客户宣传自己的战略。然而,很多企业无法抗拒“轻松”增长的诱惑,它们不断增加热门的功能、产品和服务,不仅不加筛选也不根据自己的战略对它们进行调整。或者企业就把眼光瞄向那些自己无法提供任何独特性的新客户和新市场。其实,如果企业能在自己具有独特性的需求满足或者产品品类上进行渗透,就能比进入缺乏独特性的高增长领域获得更快的增长和更加丰厚的利润。卡麦克如今是美国最大的电影院线,它的快速增长就是通过始终专注于小市场而实现的。该公司的收购中若包含大城市影院,它就在第一时间把它们出售。

Deepening a position involves making the company’s activities more distinctive, strengthening fit, and communicating the strategy better to those customers who should value it. But many companies succumb to the temptation to chase “easy” growth by adding hot features, products, or services without screening them or adapting them to their strategy. Or they target new customers or markets in which the company has little special to offer. A company can often grow faster – and far more profitably – by better penetrating needs and varieties where it is distinctive than by slugging it out in potentially higher growth arenas in which the company lacks uniqueness. Carmike, now the largest theater chain in the United States, owes its rapid growth to its disciplined concentration on small markets. The company quickly sells any big-city theaters that come to it as part of an acquisition.

全球化通常能让企业在保持战略的同时获得增长,也为聚焦战略打开了更宽广的市场。全球拓展与国内拓展不同,它有望提升并加强企业的独特定位和形象。

Globalization often allows growth that is consistent with strategy, opening up larger markets for a focused strategy. Unlike broadening domestically, expanding globally is likely to leverage and reinforce a company’s unique position and identity.

想通过产业内多元化寻求增长的企业,应该建立相互独立的事业单位,并采用不同的品牌名称和相应活动,以此控制战略风险。美泰克公司显然没能解决这个问题。一方面,它把自己的各个高档品牌组成独立的单位,并为每个单位制订出不同的战略定位;另一方面,它却又在所有的品牌之上建立笼罩型的家电公司,以求总体上达到一个临界规模。如果设计、生产、分销和客户服务都在一个公司内共享而非独立配称,同质化就很难避免。如果某个业务单位想以针对不同产品或顾客的不同定位去参与竞争,那么就几乎不能避免折中的做法。

Companies seeking growth through broadening within their industry can best contain the risks to strategy by creating stand-alone units, each with its own brand name and tailored activities. Maytag has clearly struggled with this issue. On the one hand, it has organized its premium and value brands into separate units with different strategic positions. On the other, it has created an umbrella appliance company for all its brands to gain critical mass. With shared design, manufacturing, distribution, and customer service, it will be hard to avoid homogenization. If a given business unit attempts to compete with different positions for different products or customers, avoiding compromise is nearly impossible.

新兴行业与技术

Emerging Industries and Technologies

在一个新兴的行业制定战略,或为一项正经历着革命性技术变革的业务制定战略,都是令人生畏的差使。在这些情况下,管理者在关于客户的需求为何、客户最想要哪些产品和服务,以及什么样的活动和技术配置能最佳地提供产品和服务等方面都面临着很高的不确定性。正因为存在这些不确定性,模仿和骑墙的做法开始蔓延。企业不能冒出错或落后的风险,于是它们提供所有新功能,提供所有新服务,探索所有新技术。

Developing a strategy in a newly emerging industry or in a business undergoing revolutionary technological changes is a daunting proposition. In such cases, managers face a high level of uncertainty about the needs of customers, the products and services that will prove to be the most desired, and the best configuration of activities and technologies to deliver them. Because of all this uncertainty, imitation and hedging are rampant: unable to risk being wrong or left behind, companies match all features, offer all new services, and explore all technologies.

在行业发展的这些阶段,行业的基本生产率边界被确立或重新确立。市场的爆炸式增长使许多企业在这一阶段获利,然而利润将是暂时的,因为模仿和战略趋同最终将破坏整个行业的盈利能力。只有那些尽早确立独特外部竞争定位并把它融入自己内部运营活动的企业才能获得持久成功。每一个新兴行业可能都会出现互相模仿的阶段,但是那个阶段主要反映了不确定性的程度,而不是企业想要的状态。

During such periods in an industry’s development, its basic productivity frontier is being established or reestablished. Explosive growth can make such times profitable for many companies, but profits will be temporary because imitation and strategic convergence will ultimately destroy industry profitability. The companies that are enduringly successful will be those that begin as early as possible to define and embody in their activities a unique competitive position. A period of imitation may be inevitable in emerging industries, but that period reflects the level of uncertainty rather than a desired state of affairs.

高科技产业的模仿阶段通常比一般行业要长。企业沉迷于技术创新本身,为自己的产品不断增添功能(其中的大部分功能从来都不会被用到),并且进行全面降价。取舍甚至根本不会被考虑到。市场压力推动了企业的增长需求,使得企业扩展到每一个产品领域。尽管少数几家具有基本优势的企业得以蓬勃发展,但大部分企业注定了陷入一场没有赢家的比赛。

In high-tech industries, this imitation phase often continues much longer than it should. Enraptured by technological change itself, companies pack more features – most of which are never used – into their products while slashing prices across the board. Rarely are trade-offs even considered. The drive for growth to satisfy market pressures leads companies into every product area. Although a few companies with fundamental advantages prosper, the majority are doomed to a rat race no one can win.

具有讽刺意味的是,那些关注热门和新兴产业的流行商业报刊倾向于把这些特殊案例作为例证,证明我们已经步入了一个竞争的新时代,所有旧的规则已经失效。事实上却刚好相反。

Ironically, the popular business press, focused on hot, emerging industries, is prone to presenting these special cases as proof that we have entered a new era of competition in which none of the old rules are valid. In fact, the opposite is true.

领导者的角色

制定或重建一个清晰的战略是一项挑战,它对由人构成的组织挑战很大,因此要仰赖组织的领导者。因为组织中有很多力量反对选择和取舍,所以必须要有一个清晰而睿智的框架去指导战略。除此之外,愿意做出选择的强有力的领导者也是不可或缺的。

The challenge of developing or reestablishing a clear strategy is often primarily an organizational one and depends on leadership. With so many forces at work against making choices and tradeoffs in organizations, a clear intellectual framework to guide strategy is a necessary counterweight. Moreover, strong leaders willing to make choices are essential.

在许多企业,领导者已经退化到指挥运营效益和找生意的地步。然而领导者的角色应该更广也更重要。最高管理层不仅仅是各个职能部门的总管家,其核心任务是战略:界定并传播企业的独特定位,做出取舍,在各项运营活动之间建立起配称。领导者必须制定准则来决定企业应该对何种行业变化以及何种客户需求做出反应,同时防止组织出现分心,并且保持企业的独特性。低层经理通常缺乏坚持某一战略的意识和信心。组织中将会不断出现压力,驱使他们采取折中的做法、放松取舍或仿效竞争对手。领导者的一项工作就是向组织中其他人宣讲战略,并且制止错误的做法。

In many companies, leadership has degenerated into orchestrating operational improvements and making deals. But the leader’s role is broader and far more important. General management is more than the stewardship of individual functions. Its core is strategy: defining and communicating the company’s unique position, making trade-offs, and forging fit among activities. The leader must provide the discipline to decide which industry changes and customer needs the company will respond to, while avoiding organizational distractions and maintaining the company’s distinctiveness. Managers at lower levels lack the perspective and the confidence to maintain a strategy. There will be constant pressures to compromise, relax trade-offs, and emulate rivals. One of the leader’s jobs is to teach others in the organization about strategy – and to say no.

在战略中,选择不做什么与选择做什么同等重要。事实上,设定限制是领导者的另一项职能。决定企业服务于哪些目标客户群、提供哪些产品品类、满足客户哪些需求,是战略制定过程中的根本问题。然而,决定企业不服务于哪些客户或需求,以及不提供哪些特定功能或服务,也是战略制定过程中的根本问题。因此,战略需要持续的准则和清楚的沟通。事实上,一个清晰并经过充分宣传的战略,其最重要的功能之一就是指导员工做出选择,因为他们的个体活动和日常决策中都必须有所取舍。

Strategy renders choices about what not to do as important as choices about what to do. Indeed, setting limits is another function of leadership. Deciding which target group of customers, varieties, and needs the company should serve is fundamental to developing a strategy. But so is deciding not to serve other customers or needs and not to offer certain features or services. Thus strategy requires constant discipline and clear communication. Indeed, one of the most important functions of an explicit, communicated strategy is to guide employees in making choices that arise because of trade-offs in their individual activities and in day-to-day decisions .

改善运营效益是管理中必不可少的部分,但运营效益不等于战略。管理者混淆了两者的概念,于是不知不觉中掉入了错误的竞争思维,正是这种思维驱动许多行业走向竞争趋同,结果对谁都没有好处。不过,这种模式并非不可避免。

Improving operational effectiveness is a necessary part of management, but it is not strategy. In confusing the two, managers have unintentionally backed into a way of thinking about competition that is driving many industries toward competitive convergence, which is in no one’s best interest and is not inevitable.

管理者必须把运营效益同战略明确区别开来。运营效益和战略都重要,但涉及的内容却截然不同。

Managers must clearly distinguish operational effectiveness from strategy. Both are essential, but the two agendas are different.

运营效益涉及的是在任何不存在取舍的活动中进行持续改进。企业若在这方面没有做好,即便有优秀的战略,也是危险的。持续变革、灵活性以及力争达成最佳实践属于运营效益的范畴。相比之下,界定独特的市场定位、做出明确的取舍,以及加强各项活动的配称属于战略的范畴。战略工作还包括不断寻找能巩固和延伸企业的定位的途径。战略要有原则和延续性,涣散焦点与折中是其大敌。

The operational agenda involves continual improvement everywhere there are no trade-offs. Failure to do this creates vulnerability even for companies with a good strategy. The operational agenda is the proper place for constant change, flexibility, and relentless efforts to achieve best practice. In contrast, the strategic agenda is the right place for defining a unique position, making clear trade-offs, and tightening fit. It involves the continual search for ways to reinforce and extend the company’s position. The strategic agenda demands discipline and continuity; its enemies are distraction and compromise.

战略延续性并不意味着静态的竞争观。企业必须持续地改善自己的运营效益,主动设法拓展生产率边界。与此同时,企业还必须坚持不懈地拓展自己的独特性并强化各项活动之间的配称。实际上,战略延续性会使一个组织的持续改进更富成效。

Strategic continuity does not imply a static view of competition. A company must continually improve its operational effectiveness and actively try to shift the productivity frontier; at the same time, there needs to be ongoing effort to extend its uniqueness while strengthening the fit among its activities. Strategic continuity, in fact, should make an organization’s continual improvement more effective.

如果企业所处的行业发生了很大的结构性变化,那么它可能必须改变自己的战略。实际上,新的战略定位常常是因为行业的变化而出现的,而那些没有历史束缚的新进入者往往更容易占据新的战略定位。然而,企业选择新的定位后,就应该寻找新的取舍,建立一套新的互补性的活动系统,进而获得可持续优势。

A company may have to change its strategy if there are major structural changes in its industry. In fact, new strategic positions often arise because of industry changes, and new entrants unencumbered by history often can exploit them more easily. However, a company’s choice of a new position must be driven by the ability to find new trade-offs and leverage a new system of complementary activities into a sustainable advantage.