The importance of quality in creating competitive advantage
A Portakabin case study

Page 0: Introduction

Most businesses operate in competitive markets: they have to 'take on' and 'see off' rivals. Each organisation must decide for itself how best to try to do this. Not all firms come up with the same answer and for good reason. Firstly, there are several different ways of gaining competitive advantage. Secondly, businesses need to play to their strengths and not all businesses have the same...
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Page 1: Introduction

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Introduction Most businesses operate in competitive markets: they have to 'take on' and 'see off' rivals. Each organisation must decide for itself how best to try and do this. Not all firms come up with the same answer and for good reason. Firstly, there are several different ways of gaining competitive advantage. Secondly, businesses need to play to their strengths and not all businesses have...
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Page 2: Quality products

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The term 'product' covers not only goods but the services that support them. Portakabin offers a range of tangible products e.g. Lilliput (a modular nursery building) and Titan (a modular building for office applications). The company also offers key services e.g. Total Solutions, a planning and project management service for customers wanting to hire modular buildings. Portakabin also offers a...
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Page 3: Quality processes

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Any form of production activity involves sets of interlinking processes. Portakabin's factory-based production process combines standardisation with customisation. The modules to be assembled come in standardised sizes and shapes. However, the way they are put together and their interior design depends on clients' individual specifications. For example, modules that are assembled for...
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Page 4: Quality Service

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Providing customer serviceis another vital part of Quality Management. See steps 6 and 7 in the chart below. The company believes that providing exceptional levels of customer service is as important as the quality of the products it makes. To support this commitment, it has developed a number of initiatives aimed at continuously improving service. Portakabin: guarantees to complete...
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Page 5: Conclusion

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In a competitive market, businesses stay ahead by offering products that are different and/or superior in ways that matter to customers. Portakabin has positioned itself at the top end of the modular buildings market in terms of quality, whilst at the same time providing value-for-money products that fully meet key standards set out in IS0 9001. The most recent external audit of Portakabin's...
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Teaching resources for this case study

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    These are the teaching resources associated with the case study: The importance of quality in creating competitive advantage

    As a result of carefully reading the Case Study, students should be able to: know that quality relates to how well a product does what it is intended to do, explain how the ability to provide quality consistently gives some companies competitive advantage, demonstrate the importance of offering customers high quality service.

    All teacher downloads and teaching aids relating to this Portakabin case study are free to download.

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