Strategic and tactical operations decisions determine how well the organization can accomplish its goals. They also provide opportunities for the organization to achieve unique competitive advantages that attract and keep customers.
For example, United Parcel Service, an international package delivery service, formed a partnership with its customer, Toshiba computers. Toshiba needs to provide a repair service to its laptop computer customers. The old approach of providing this service was cumbersome and time-consuming: (1) Customers had pick up their computers, (2) delivered the computers to Toshiba, (3) Toshiba repaired the computers, (4) picked up the repaired computers and delivered them back to the customers. Under this traditional approach, the total time to get a laptop computer repaired was two weeks—a long time for people to be without their laptop! Then they came up with an innovative idea for Toshiba to provide better service to its customers. United Parcel Service hired, trained, and certified its own employees to repair Toshiba laptop computers. The new repair process is much more efficient: (1) picks up computers from Toshiba owners, (2) repairs the computers, (3) delivers the computers back to their owners. The total time to get a computer repaired is now about two days. Most Toshiba customers think that Toshiba is doing a great job of repairing their computers, when in fact Toshiba never touches the computers! The result of this operations innovation is better service to Toshiba customers and a strong and profitable strategic partnership between and its customer, Toshiba.