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Operations Strategy (2nd Edition)

Nigel Slack; Mike Lewis

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ISBN 10: 0273695193 / ISBN 13: 9780273695196
Published by Prentice Hall, 2007
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Operations Strategy (2nd Edition)

Publisher: Prentice Hall

Publication Date: 2007

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:Used: Good

About this title


Operation Strategy Second Edition Nigel Slack and Michael Lewis Ideal for Advanced Undergraduate and Postgraduate students, this book builds on concepts from Strategic Management, Operations Management, Marketing and HRM to give students a comprehensive understanding of Operations Strategy. Features *Comprehensive and accessible with authoritative authorship and an excellent blend of theory and practice *A European context *Engaging case studies *Teaching resources including an Instructor's Manual with extensive case notes and PowerPoint slides at What's New? *This new edition has been focused to concentrate on the most significant topics in the subject, with 10 chapters replacing the previous 15. New material has been added and coverage of some older topics has been revised (see new table of contents). *End-of-chapter case exercises have been replaced by a major end-of-book section of Harvard-type' cases. *New to the Instructor's resources online: additional cases and a set of questions and answers for class use / exam use.* New coverage of hot topics, such as the implications of ERP and Six Sigma on ops strategy, agility and it's inter-relationship with lean, supply management issues, operations strategy for competitive advantage and SCM, and implementation.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Names are important. They are used to set expectations as much as they are used to describe something. This particularly applies to the seemingly simple title of this book: Operations Strategy. Depending on the punctuation you use, the meaning you ascribe to either word, or even the order of the words, could refer to several areas of study. These words could refer to the larger-term impact of day-to-day operations, the medium-term direction of a narrowly defined organizational function, or the more nebulous and dynamic interaction between all operational resources and the external requirements they attempt to satisfy. It is this last interpretation that forms the focus of this book.


Just as some physical objects are so big that it can be difficult to see their whole, some concepts are so broadly based that they can be difficult to define. Operations strategy, as we see it, is like this. It is so all-embracing that it is easy to downplay the significance of the subject. Yet, operations strategy both lies at the heart of how organizations manage their strategic intent in practice, and is the context within which managers make strategic decisions. Take a look at some of the decisions with which operations strategy is concerned:

  • How should the organization satisfy the requirements of its customers?
  • What intrinsic capabilities should the organization try and develop as the foundation for its long-term success?
  • How specialized should the organization's activities become?
  • Should the organization sacrifice some of its objectives in order to excel at others?
  • How big should the organization be?
  • Where should the organization locate its resources?
  • When should it expand or contract, and by how much?
  • What should it do itself and what should it contract out to other businesses?
  • How should it develop relationships with other organizations?
  • What type of technology should it invest in?
  • How should it organize the way it develops new products and services?
  • How should it bind together its resources into an organizational structure?
  • How should the organization's resources and processes be improved and developed over time?
  • What guiding principles should shape the way any organization formulates its operations strategies?

All these questions are not merely important, they are fundamental. No organization, whether large or small, for-profit, or not-for-profit, in the services or manufacturing sector, international or local, can ignore such questions. Operations strategy is central, ubiquitous, and vital to any organization's sustained success.


The aim of this book is provide a treatment of operations strategy that is clear, well structured, and interesting. It seeks to apply some of the ideas of operations strategy in a variety of businesses and organizations. The text provides a logical path through the key activities and decisions of operations strategy as well as covering the broad principles that underlie the subject and the way in which operations strategies are put together in practice.

More specifically, the text aims to be:

  • Balanced in its treatment of the subject. In addition to taking the orthodox "market-led" approach to operations strategy, the book also provides an alternative but complementary "resource-based" perspective.
  • Conceptual in the way it treats the decisions, activities, and processes that together form an organization's operations strategy. Although some examples are quantified, the overall treatment in the book is managerial and practical.
  • Comprehensive in its coverage of the more important ideas and issues that are relevant to most types of business. In any book covering such a broad area as operations strategy, one cannot cover everything. However, we believe that the more important issues are all addressed.
  • Grounded in the various bodies of knowledge that underlie operations strategy. Theory boxes are included in most of the chapters, which introduce concepts and principles, often from other academic disciplines, thereby illuminating the particular operations strategy issue being discussed.
  • International in the examples that are used throughout the text. Of the more than 70 boxes describing practical operations strategy issues, approximately 35 percent are from the United States, 35 percent are from Europe, and 30 percent are either generally international or from elsewhere in the world.


This book is intended to provide a broad introduction to operations strategy for anyone wishing to understand the strategic importance and scope of the operations function; for example:

  • Undergraduates pursuing business or technical degrees (although we assume a prior knowledge of the basics of operations management).
  • MBA students should find that this book both links and integrates their experience and study of operations management with their core studies in business strategy.
  • Post-graduate students pursuing other specialized masters degrees should find that this book provides them with a well-grounded approach to the subject.
  • Executives will also be able to relate the practical and pragmatic structure of the book to the more conceptual and theoretical issues discussed within the structure.


Clear structure

The book employs coherent models of the subject that run through each part of the text and explain how the chapters fit into the overall subject. Key questions set the scene at the beginning of each chapter and also provide a structure for the summary at the end of each chapter.


The study of operations, even at a strategic level, is essentially a practical subject and cannot be taught in a purely theoretical manner. Because of this we have used both abstracted examples and "boxed" examples that explain some issues faced by real operations.

Theory boxes

Operations strategy is a practical subject which is driven by theoretical ideas. Most chapters contain one or more theory boxes that explain the underlying ideas that have contributed to our understanding of the issues being discussed.

Case exercises

Every chapter includes a case exercise including a brief case study suitable for class discussion. The cases are usually short enough to serve as illustrations, which can be referred to in class, but have sufficient content to serve as the basis for case sessions.

Selected further reading

Every chapter ends with a list of further reading which further expands on the topic covered in the chapter, or treats some important related issues.

Web site

A Web site,, is available, which helps students to develop a firm understanding of each issue covered in the book and provides lecturers with pedagogical assistance. There is also a teacher's manual available.

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