Study notes

Value Chain Analysis

Value Chain Analysis describes the activities that take place in a business and relates them to an analysis of the competitive strength of the business.

Work by Michael Porter suggested that the activities of a business could be grouped under two headings:

(1) Primary Activities - those that are directly concerned with creating and delivering a product (e.g. component assembly); and

(2) Support Activities, which whilst they are not directly involved in production, may increase effectiveness or efficiency (e.g. human resource management). It is rare for a business to undertake all primary and support activities.

Value Chain Analysis is one way of identifying which activities are best undertaken by a business and which are best provided by others ("out sourced").

Linking Value Chain Analysis to Competitive Advantage

What activities a business undertakes is directly linked to achieving competitive advantage. For example, a business which wishes to outperform its competitors through differentiating itself through higher quality will have to perform its value chain activities better than the opposition. By contrast, a strategy based on seeking cost leadership will require a reduction in the costs associated with the value chain activities, or a reduction in the total amount of resources used.

Primary Activities

Primary value chain activities include:

Secondary Activities

Secondary value chain activities include:

Steps in Value Chain Analysis

Value chain analysis can be broken down into a three sequential steps:

(1) Break down a market/organisation into its key activities under each of the major headings in the model;

(2) Assess the potential for adding value via cost advantage or differentiation, or identify current activities where a business appears to be at a competitive disadvantage;

(3) Determine strategies built around focusing on activities where competitive advantage can be sustained

Wake up with today’s latest news and support

Subscribe to our daily digest and get today’s content delivered fresh to your inbox every morning.

Or follow us

Explore tutor2u