A company’s operational strategy is concerned with getting the activities accomplished, which involves providing goods and services to the clients. All business organizations are keen to survive and develop within a competitive business environment. An operational strategy entails a framework or set of goals that are followed to ensure future organizational success (Egboro, 2015). However, this report uses the case of Lens Crafters to show how an organization should be managed and driven by all stakeholders to attain the firm’s objectives. A number of issues including value chain, customer satisfaction, performance measurements and service-delivery system design will also be discussed. Lens Crafters is a worldwide retailer of prescription eyewear based in the United States.
Lens Crafters uses an operation strategy referred to as differentiation strategy in its activities. Lens Crafters understands that the ideal manner to attract customers and win their loyalty through being unique in all ways. According to Venkatesan and Kumar (2004), a firm’s ability to employ differentiation suggests its potential to provide distinguished goods and services to the customers when compared to other companies providing the same goods. This uniqueness offers the organization a competitive edge and market stability.
Lens Crafters has in various ways managed to distinguish its goods and services. For instance, the firm provides a three months guarantee for all products purchased. Customers have the freedom to return the products if they are not satisfied or have them exchanged. This approach ensures that the company exercises customer satisfaction to unchallenged levels. The firm hires highly competent doctors to provide extensive eye assessment and prescription.
Besides, the firm has a variety of products from where customers can pick lenses and frames of their choice. Most interestingly, Lens Crafter allows customers to pay on a monthly basis with no interest attached. Regardless of the market dynamics, these approaches have given this firm a competitive advantage and sustainability in the long-term.
Lens Crafters employs various strategies to gain and maintain a competitive advantage.
- Cost leadership; is an approach that Lens Crafters uses to regulate its production costs. This approach enables this firm to provide high-quality product and services than its competitors, at the same or lower costs. Lens Crafter manages to produce at a lower cost due to the perfection of production methods as well as the hiring of qualified doctors ensuring minimal waste.
- Teamwork; for any firm to be prosperous they need to embrace a spirit of interconnectedness. The corporate strategy in Lens Crafters views all departments of the company as a system of units that rely on each other to generate a quality product or service. The essence of the team is to ensure that all stakeholders share innovative ideas and production is achieved to the best ability of each member (Egboro, 2015).
- Customer-based; Lens Crafters’ operations strategy embraces customer-based approaches in a bid to gain a clear understanding of customer needs. This organization employs its differentiation advantages to giving exactly what each customer needs. This firm has a competent marketing team that tracks customer trends and initiates change in an effort to tap emerging opportunities and evade possible threats.
According to Egboro, (2015), customer satisfaction is the core objective of any successful organization. This researcher indicates that satisfied clients are more likely to stay loyal and make referrals as opposed to less satisfied customers. Lens Crafters embraces several incentives to promote customer loyalty. These incentives include quality, trust, honesty, reliability, customer relationship, integrity, and brand image. Service delivery and production prioritize accuracy, quality, and timelines. This analysis suggests a health link between operations strategies and customer experience.
However, various factors determine the level of customer satisfaction including product design, customer services, cost, and quality. Product design is the most critical aspect of a product or service since it determines the characteristics and the features of the product (Venkatesan & Kumar, 2004). Product design also determines how the product functions, cost, quality and reliability. These are the critical factors that lead the customer to or not to make a purchasing decision.
Lens Crafters’ operations management uses conducts customer surveys to identify areas that need to be improved or changed entirely to ensure maximum customer satisfaction. Besides, this firm keeps on updating its technology to innovate new design models and at a lower cost. Lens Crafter conducts various customer service activities such as free medical eye checkups as well as eye health education.
Operation management challenges
Operations management encounters different organizational challenges on daily basis. This section will explore two challenges that include decision-making and supply chain management.
Operations management play the central role in prioritizing competing policies, practices, and procedures within an organization. The major business areas such as finance, planning, and technology rely on the decisions of the operations management. Decision-making is a critical aspect and challenge for the operations management. Decision-making may assume a top-bottom approach or a cross-functional approach. According to Soch and Sandhu (2008), a top-bottom approach may lead to a weak communications process and suppress worker participation. However, a cross-functional decision-making is more desirable since it ensures that everyone participates through open communication.
Supply chain management
Operations management should ensure the firm is in a position to produce quality products and distribute them to the market depending on customer needs. For big organizations such as Lens Crafters, it is a big challenge to organize all departments of the firm to ensure that products achieve the perceived value and quality. Besides, a good planning is important to ensure that deadlines and budgets are met. Operations management should also ensure a high level of coordination between all production stages and distribution channels to ensure that the products meet customer expectation and immediately (Soch & Sandhu 2008).
The problem of decision-making should be solved by embracing a cross-functional approach whereby each department is empowered to solve issues they encounter but with keen reference to organizations policies and guidelines. Even though the top management should resolve sensitive decisions, it is essential to embrace the contributions of all departments in an effort to improve the sense of responsibility.
On the other hand, the problem of supply chain management can be handled through planning. The firm should organize market surveys to establish the needs of the clients, their proximity, and governing rules. Prior planning will ensure that an organization produces within the set timelines and budget (Egboro, 2015). Consequently, a firm that observes these measures will always stay ahead of its competitors.
The value chains and its effectiveness
Lens Crafters remains focused on providing quality and affordable products in its value chain system. The value chain management improves the functioning of the supply chain by targeting the core competencies. The firm’s core competencies and efficiency are evident in services such as eye examination, follow-up events, and the payment plan. In an effort to create value for its products, Lens Crafters provides customers a period of 3 months to return or exchange their purchases if they are not satisfied. Egboro (2015) identifies support elements of the value chain to entail human resource, technology, company infrastructure and procurement.
Customer experience is improved by hiring competent doctors and having a laboratory within the premises of the firm. Besides, the speed and accuracy with which the products and services are availed are satisfying. Lens Crafters uses modern technology right from production to distribution.
According to Soch and Sandhu (2008), performance measurements refer to the process of regular gathering of performance data and proceedings in a firm. The purpose of this process is to examine and determine if the company is using the right approaches and processes. Performance measurement also helps assess whether an organization operates according to the laid guideless and if the processes are effective.
The Lens Crafters operations section uses performance measurements to determine the standard individual performance, inventory measures, lead-time measures, and quality measures. Some of the performance measurements include safety, cost of quality, Graphic Rating Turnover, and time expenses.
Safety is determined on a normal scale to determine the frequency of accidents at a given time. The cost of quality is measured as the planned cost as opposed to the real cost. Graphic Rating Scale is used to determine the efficiency of employee’s production. Time expenses are determined as budget against real expenses incurred by the firm. However, Lens Crafters can employ the Graphic Ratings Scale and cost of quality performance measurements.
The Graphic Rating can be used to determine employee output and ensure successful operations management. The cost of quality would be beneficial to use in this organization to enable it to provide quality goods and services at affordable prices. Organizations the size of Lens Crafters has a challenge in measuring employee performance and increasing their efficiency. Thus, these approaches could be a breakthrough if used appropriately by the operations management.
Evaluation of technologies used in Lens Crafters
Lens Crafters embraces the current technology that leads to the production of innovative products. The basic types of technology used by this firm include data warehousing, databases, and files. The firm uses e-commerce platforms to create business intelligence and stay updated regarding the market environment. The onsite laboratory is technologically driven to increase accuracy and speed. The firm has full-time IT personnel that are concerned with improving its technological systems to meet the evolving market demands and improve customer satisfaction. E-commerce promises an array of benefits for improving quality and performance (Soch & Sandhu, 2008). However, selecting the right technology is important to any firm.
Customer satisfaction remains a core objective of the operations management in any organization that seeks success. However, as stated in this paper, Lens Crafter uses operational strategy referred to as differentiation. Differentiation helps in value addition and assists a company to stay ahead of customers’ perceived value. This uniqueness brings a competitive edge to the firm. Employing technology that is rapid efficient and fostering innovation can help sustain this competitive advantage.
Egboro, F. (2015). Marketing challenges of satisfying consumers changing expectations and preferences in a competitive market. International Journal of Marketing Studies, 7(5), 6-11.
Soch, H., & Sandhu, H. (2008). Does customer relationship management activity affect firm performance? Global Business Review, 9(2), 189-206.
Venkatesan, R., & Kumar, V. (2004). A customer lifetime value framework for customer selection and resource allocation strategy. Journal of Marketing, 68(4), 106-125.