Monday, October 26, 2009

Understanding Sustainable Competitive Advantage

By Jeff Plank, MBA, AVA

Knowing your company’s Sustainable Competitive Advantage (SCA) is critical, as it is used as a filter for all the issues that an organization faces. It is also used as a method to allocate resources such as time and money to the issues that will allow the organization to win in the market place. It focuses on two important attributes:
1. Key success factors that would be considered of high value by your customer.
2. The ability to beat your competitors NOW.

In marketing terms, a SCA is an advantage that one firm has relative to competing firms. To truly be effective the advantage must be:
• Sustainable
• Hard to copy
• Unique
• Superior to the competition
• Applicable to multiple situations

Determining the SCA for any organization requires an understanding of the customer’s needs and preferences. A competitive advantage arises out of activities which provide high value to the customer and a strong ability to beat competitors. Examples of SCA include factors such as quick turnaround time, high product quality, low cost production techniques, patents and copyrights, government protected extensive contracts and a good reputation.

At HLB Gross Collins, P.C. we walk clients through an 8 step process for determining their SCA that includes defining key success factors and rating these factors based on the value to the customer, as well as developing action plans to improve their current ability to beat their competitors. Contact HLBGC’s Manager of Consulting Services, Jeff Plank, if you need assistance in determining your SCA.

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