Meeting customer needs for competitive advantage
A Portakabin case study

Page 1: Sectors of the economy

Economic activity is usually divided into 3 sectors:

1. Primary industry - involves extracting raw materials. When economies first start growing they are heavily dependent on their own raw materials - e.g. coal, iron ore and other metals that are useful in manufacturing processes.

2. As economies industrialise, secondary industries grow - consisting of construction and manufacturing such as car factories. These use the output of primary industry to produce semi-finished and finished goods - chocolate products, clothing, homes, etc.

3. In the third wave of development, countries move on to focus on service industry. The UK today is dominated by service industries in which employees provide direct services to people (e.g. a supermarket checkout assistant packing your bags), as well as business services (including financial services such as insurance, the hiring of equipment etc.)

However, this classification is a simplification because many business activities involve more than one sector. Portakabin for example is primarily involved in manufacturing and assembly, although many of the processes carried out are in the tertiary sector e.g. the hire of buildings. Only by combining manufacturing and assembly with the provision of services is Portakabin able to meet customers' needs.

Portakabin provides an example of how to be successful in Britain's troubled manufacturing sector. Since the First World War we have seen a reduction of employment in manufacturing, and this trend is continuing. However, it is important to protect and enhance manufacturing because these products are so important to our daily lives - the houses we live in, the cars we travel in. A number of UK industries have struggled to compete with cheap foreign imports, such as coal mining and car production.

So what does it take to be competitive in modern industry? The answer provided by Portakabin is expressed in the brand vision which is to provide peace of mind through delivering quality products and services directed at meeting customers' needs. Nowhere is this more true than in the provision of services. For example when a client wants to relocate staff to new offices, Portakabin provides the modular buildings and a range of services including the air-conditioning system, entry ramps for disabled employees, a fire alarm system, plus office furniture and computer cable points. The new buildings are constructed to a pre-agreed schedule. The client places strong emphasis on morale and commitment to employee motivation and this is achieved by creating a pleasant working environment. Portakabin solutions are about creating a full range of customer focused benefits, which ultimately provide the customer with peace of mind better than its competitors.

Portakabin | Meeting customer needs for competitive advantage

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