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CEO Supplier Summit launched

by Matt DeWolf | Sep 14, 2011

Last week we hosted a new program for vendor members, the Supplier CEO Summit. 30 owners and c-level executives met in Chicago for networking and presentations on business strategy and economics. Feedback on the event was great, and we’re already looking forward to the next edition.

One of the speakers, Chuck Bamford of Queens University and University of Notre Dame, focused on the “resource based analysis” approach to business planning. There was a full plate of food for thought from this presentation: separating your organization’s activities and offerings into the “orthodox” (things customers expect, but are not necessarily competitive advantages) and the “unorthodox” (things where you uniquely excel – and are rare, durable, non-substitutable and valuable).

As an example, for a retail car wash, an orthodox component of the business could be equipment maintenance. Every customer expects the equipment to be in good repair – but that is likely not why anyone comes to the wash.

Unorthodox? That’s tough. Similar price points can always be found elsewhere (so that’s not “rare”), and an on-line tire application can be duplicated relatively easily by competitors (so not “durable”).

I couldn’t help but think about some of the WaterSavers washes we visited in Atlanta. One in particular was operating at a near closed-loop, using less than 9 gallons of fresh water per car as well as separating and routing to sanitary sewer. Their investments do perhaps give them some “rare” and “durable” advantages, and something not easily “substituted”.

If you’re interested in this approach, there is quite a bit online – just search on “resource based analysis”.


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