LensCrafters’ Operations Strategy and Competitive Advantage in Terms of Sustainability
It is essential for all companies to shape their operational strategies because the support the corporate framework. It is a plan of action chosen by an organization that outlines the way the firm should manage all stakeholders for reaching organizational goals and objectives. An operational strategy could provide the firm with the resources for production. In this respect, LensCrafters’ operations strategy focuses on differentiation in its operational process. Its largest supply chain of production was found in 1983 by Dean Butler, a manager who cooperated with Procter and Gamble in the United States (Kuszer, 2016). The company’s headquarters are located in Ohio with further expansion to Puerto Rico, Hong Kong and other 860 stores all over the world (Kuszer, 2016). The company is currently a world-known international retailer of prescription eyewear and sunglasses. The corporation has its personal laboratory on the site offering one-hour service for its customer where they can choose the frame, lenses, and the look of the final product. The major feature of the company is the way its stores different optometrists on site or in neighboring stores.
It should be stressed that the operational management strategy aims at coordinating and increasing the overall effectiveness of the company in question. Similarly, a company should ensure its departments and stakeholders cooperate and interact for reaching common goals and objectives (Kuszer, 2016). In this respect, LensCrafters believes in the theoretical framework which grasps customer’s attention through the introduction of different services, offers, and beneficial propositions, such as nine days warranty for the product, or consultations of doctors for choosing the lenses (Kuszer, 2016). Finally, it also provides online labs for presenting and modeling designs of exclusive sunglasses.
Operation Management Activities and Influence on the Customer Experience
As it has been mentioned, LensCrafters value their customers’ feedback and make everything possible to achieve genuineness and high quality through the diversification strategy. They also provide an opportunity for purchasing customized glasses within an hour of exclusive design chosen and recommended by the professionals. Hence, operation management promoted by the company definitely has a positive influence on the experience of the customers who are more concerned with exclusiveness, quality, and professional assistance. Apart from the differentiation strategy, there is also mass customization which is aimed at simultaneously competing with two rivals in terms of both price and uniqueness. Mass customization experts have also suggested that it is a unique strategy whose implementation introduces a win-win solution in all competitive priorities, such as flexibility, speed, quality, innovation and price. Its recent spread in business has also led to the development of multiple products. It also gave rise to the research in terms of trends, directions, application potential and strategies embedded in the production process. In this respect, Kumar, Gattoufi, and Reisman (2007) suggest that there are different aspects of customization composed of taxonomy, research and real-world application. It has also been presented through the analysis of diverse schemes and strategies which could be applied for the multi-level supply chain and communication with customers. In this respect, the strategy chosen by LensCrafters has a powerful advantage in terms of time economized for receiving exclusive customized products. However, even this company with multiple opportunities and regular customers encounters specific challenges related to the operational performance and customer loyalty. Specifically, the managers should be aware of the fact that customer loyalty directly depends on the extent to which operational operations works on customer acquisition and retaining. These two notions are interdependent and promote new methods of presenting information. Customer loyalty is the key to understanding which aspects of development are useful for the company.
Another challenge of differentiation strategy is the question of quality in supply chain. Due to the fact that customers can choose the design, there is always a question regarding the production process of what is possible to produce within one hour, and what specific efforts and time are required. However, one-hour products put the quality in question. To respond to this problem, it is possible for the company to organize the forum for clients where they can share their concerns, offers, experiences, and problems with the product they either want to buy, or the one they have already bought. Furthermore, it is a great opportunity for the company to learn more about customers’ preferences to provide new designs and become more flexible.
Second, there is always a limit to differentiation. The challenge here consists of the impossibility to make too many flexible changes and adjustments to new trends. The company should constantly change designs, trends, and shapes to remain fashionable and popular among the clients, which is always a great challenge for the producers who have to aware of the novelties. Therefore, there should be a specific research and development department which should be responsible for the innovation and design.
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Value Chain and Its Effectiveness in Terms of Quality, Value Creation, and Customer Satisfaction
The concept of value chain creation is typical for any organization that strives to prosper and achieve a competitive advantage over other organizations in the sphere. In this respect, the idea of flow is essential for the supply chain and lean production. However, the flow should be derived from the inventory and transportation, which is beneficial for pulled demand. Pull implies that nothing could be initiated until a downstream process introduces it. The outcome of pulling refers to the production process that does not rely solely on prediction. Rather, it is formed by the commitment that is delayed until the customer’s preferences are determined. According to Poppendieck, “the idea is to fill each customer order immediately. In mass-production days, filling orders immediately mean building up lots of inventory in anticipation of customer orders” (2002, p. 5). Additionally, it is also possible to launch the products in the shortest time. In fact, the company has the inventory which could be turned into finished products. However, a genuinely lean production channel can be effective when a real lean supply chain is adjusted to the lean production process (Poppendieck, 2002). In order to avoid delays and complications when dealing with inventories, the purpose of lean production is confined to exposing problems along with their immediate corrections. Lean systems are robust and can predict and prevent deviations in a timely manner. Such approach is essential because it is aimed at increasing the information flow and delivered value.
In the context of LensCrafters, the manager can reach customer satisfaction and overall product sustainability by promoting the effective use of inventories. The point is that the parts of a finished product are not always in demand, but they require expenses for avoiding delays. Hence, the company should constantly conduct surveys to define the frequency and popularity of specific sunglasses and fashionable trends to be able to not produce the design parts which are not popular among the clients anymore. In lean production, the value chain could be promoted through constant communication, interaction, flexibility and adjustment. Coordination of steps and strategies must be on the top of all frameworks accepted by the company. It can also contribute to the concept of quality because producing a narrow line implies the use of quality products and sufficient technologies. Differentiation, on the contrary, requires significant time and costs, which means that the producers might economize on the materials for the purpose of gaining more profits.
Performance Measurements Used to Measure LensCrafters’ Service-Delivery System Design
There are different types of performance measurements depending on the nature and purpose of the organization. Performance measures could be divided into the two basic types – those associated with results, such as increasing competitiveness or financial performance, and the determinants of the outcomes, such as quality, innovation, flexibility and utilization. However, with the emphasis placed on these measures only, a company focused purely on financial measures can encounter negative consequences. Therefore, it is essential to focus on such determinants of the profitability as quality of production, customer value, and flexibility. This approach is much more effective in the light of transparent reporting and customers’ orientation on corporate social responsibility.
Balanced scorecard perspective is also a good opportunity for growth and learning aspects of delivery design. It relates to the success factors, specifically organizational infrastructures and employees. The key performance metrics introduce the time it takes for a company to create new services or products, innovativeness, development capabilities, and employees training. Furthermore, the organizational culture, personal capacity, and informational capital aspects affect the organizational growth.
For LensCrafters, the internal processes and customer perspectives are the priority metrics that evaluate the efficiency of the operations in terms of customer safety, with the emphasis on the internal view (Kumar, Batista, & Maull, 2011). In fact, this measures the most useful ones for operational purposes because they are concerned with daily decisions evolving around the development and creation of products and services. It should be stressed that customer perspective is another critical performance dimension for LensCrafters because it is the main reason for the entire business existence. At this point, the measurement of customer satisfaction through service level, customer loyalty, satisfaction ratings, and retention metrics define the growth, market share and competitiveness of the business.
Types of Technologies Applied to LensCrafters’ Service Operations
Since the company operates predominantly in the virtual space, which implies that customer order products online without the need to visit the store, the web site development should be the current agenda of technological advancement. More specifically, there are many trends in web design which could simplify the process of parts ordering. The company can also develop additional options, such as the choice of time and description of the stages of the production process while a customer waits for the finished product. The introduction of mobile application for ordering the products can be another effective decision. Visiting stores could also be accompanied with the technological advances, such as the introduction of the 3D versions of glasses which are going to be delivered to the customers. Another option is the introduction of the new delivery systems for regular customers. For instance, if a client enters a specific store, he/she could then stay at home and wait for the finished product without the need to return to the store. In case the customer has certain additional change requests for a final product, he/she can return it to the store through the delivery system for further revision and correction. All these aspects could enhance the competitive advantage of the organization since most corporations and companies specializing in the production of sunglasses of high quality are not able to provide an exclusive product in one hour. However, their glasses are made from environmentally-friendly materials.
While cooperating with doctors and experts, customers should be provided with 24/7 support in terms of eyewear prescription. They should also be assured of the professionalism and experience of the counselors working for the company. In such a manner, it will be possible to ensure credibility and reliability of all service operations within the company, as well as guarantee the constant demand for and sustainability of the products.
In conclusion, it should be stressed that LensCrafters is an authorized and customized producer that specializes in the production of high-quality and exclusive sunglasses. Every customer of the company has the possibility to receive the product within one hour after placing an order. The consultation of eyewear prescription doctor is also available for those who care for their eyesight and health. The company is involved in mass customization operation strategies, which means the production of uniquely designed products within the short time. They make use of exceptional and reliable suppliers to deliver the finished product in the shortest time possible as well as offer the highest quality. The sunglasses can be conveniently ordered online, but the company still has much to do to improve its services. For instance, the introduction of online surveys and forums can help discover the latest fashion trends in designing sunglasses. Furthermore, there should be constant professional support when it comes to prescribing the eyewear. Exclusiveness, fast delivery, affordable prices and flexibility should remain the priorities of the company.