Jan 9th 2017

Scaling operations: Linking strategy and execution (Coursera)

Created by:Delivered by:

Over the past several decades, operations strategy has played an increasingly important role in business’ success. In this course, we will equip you with concepts and tools to build operations in a way that not only supports your competitive strategy, but also allows you to create new opportunities in the market place.

Scaling operations: Linking strategy and execution is a five-week course dedicated to making strategic decisions that are grounded in operational reality. Together, we will study how to build and evaluate the “operating system” of the firm to maximize value. This involves tailoring the firm’s operational competencies, assets, and processes to a specific business strategy.

Each week, we’ll explore case studies, engage in discussions and examine realistic data. Thanks to our data-driven approach, you’ll be able to implement your learning directly into practice. At the end of this course, you’ll be ready to build an effective, actionable plan to scale your department or organization.



The VCAP Framework

We start by explaining the concepts of operating systems and operations strategy. Then we introduce the main "VCAP" framework, which connects the key components of operations strategy and identifies three main views to analyze it. The module also describes the key decisions related to operations strategy. Several examples illustrate the impact of operations strategy and the importance of tailoring to increase value and alignment.

Graded: The VCAP Framework


Value Creation and Operations: The Investor View

We start by reviewing the main idea of using operations to create value (and the VCAP framework). We briefly discuss the key questions and introduce the main firm we are going to use (the Mafia restaurant chain). We discuss the key idea of measuring financial return (EVA and ROIC). Then we introduce the main tool, the ROIC tree. We apply the ROIC tree to the firm and discuss the steps: constructing the tree, identifying metrics, assessing impact (sensitivity analysis), building a growth plan and communicating the narrative.

Graded: Value Creation and Operations: The Investor View

Graded: Waste Wizard Case Study


Capabilities and Competition: Defensibility and Trade-offs

Module 1 introduced the capability view of operations as the natural link between competitive strategy and operations. In this module we will investigate this link in greater depth and use the capability view to assess the competitive risk the firm faces. A good operations strategy clearly stipulates which capabilities are critical and which are of secondary importance. One can't have it all: operational capabilities exhibit trade-offs and superior performance requires making choices. But where do these trade-offs come from and how can operations shape them to our competitive advantage? That is the subject of this module. We will outline the main challenge; develop the framework, and the use a simple case to illustrate it.

Graded: Quiz 3


Process Strategy: Strategic Sourcing

In the previous modules, we introduced the VCAP framework for operations strategy and studied value and capabilities. We learned how to invest assets in the face of uncertain demand. Now we turn our attention to structuring operational processes. In this module, we will analyze two essential components of operations strategy: the questions of who should perform an activity or process in the value chain, and how we should manage the supply relationship.

Graded: Quiz 4

Graded: Sweet and Sour Tea


Asset Strategy: Capacity Sizing

Modules 1 through 3 of the course introduced the VCAP framework for operations strategy and outlined the main diagnostic tools. We discussed how operations create value V and the role of capabilities in a competitive environment. In this module, we adopt the resource view and turn our attention to the assets that comprise the operating system of the firm. We start with the capacity sizing and investment decision in this chapter. After discussing the key trade-offs and challenges in a capacity strategy, we study how uncertainty impacts capacity valuation. Maximizing this value suggests guidelines on how we can tailor an operation's capacity sizing decision.

Graded: Quiz 5