Although most companies confine their operations organizations to restricted, tactical roles, in some of the most successful firms operations has served as the foundation for—indeed, the driver behind—successful strategic attacks and defenses. This is most clearly seen in cases where small companies—although lacking the advantages of size, market position, and proprietary technology—take on big companies and in a relatively short time push their way to industry dominance. In such cases, the key to success often is an operations-based advantage. The peculiar nature of this advantage provides insight into the reasons many former industry leaders did not react more promptly and vigorously to such attacks, and why others, in contrast, were able to defend themselves successfully.
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