Executive Briefings

Why Can't We Just Emulate Apple if We Want to Be Successful?

It's no mystery why companies emulate their most successful peers. Tried-and-true approaches often seem preferable to starting from scratch, whether for developing new products or running efficient supply chains. The quest for such methods went global during the 1980s and 1990s as European and U.S. companies sought to retool their operations by transplanting Japanese factory practices, such as kanban and just-in-time production. Management consultants - ourselves included - naturally facilitate the process by extolling successful companies as models from which others can learn proven practices that reduce risks.

However, perils abound when truly exceptional companies morph into ever more ubiquitous examples. Observers and management theorists alike, blinded by star power, eventually assume that everything these companies do should be regarded as best practice-often without examining the context in which they derive their success or without parsing the true nature of their accomplishments. Managers tempted to distill universal insights from what are in fact exceptional companies put their own businesses at risk for strategic or operational missteps.

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Keywords: supply chain management, value chain, business model strategy

However, perils abound when truly exceptional companies morph into ever more ubiquitous examples. Observers and management theorists alike, blinded by star power, eventually assume that everything these companies do should be regarded as best practice-often without examining the context in which they derive their success or without parsing the true nature of their accomplishments. Managers tempted to distill universal insights from what are in fact exceptional companies put their own businesses at risk for strategic or operational missteps.

Read Full Article


Keywords: supply chain management, value chain, business model strategy