Sustainable competitive advantage and achieving a competitive advantage in a business

A sustainable competitive advantage is a factor or group of factors that gives a business or organization an advantage within its industry or market place which allows it to continue in business or in its market position. The sustainable competitive advantage can be achieved through a number of different business and industry characteristics including:

-Operational efficiency and lowest cost base or cost curve among the industry
-Brand name
-Best quality among the industry
-Suite of products and customer service
-Control of raw material supply and or vertical integration
-High barriers to entry into the industry

When a business or organization is able to obtain any of the characteristics or factors above it is able to continue in business and even become a market leader within its industry and derive superior profit margins. Some of these can be achieved through correct operations management and application of lean manufacturing principles.

The goals and steps to achieving these are usually set by management in their corporate and operational strategy for the organization. The strategic use of a porter analysis or a SWOT analysis for the industry and players within it is an important strategic analysis framework that can point to the requirements needed to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage strategically.

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