Competitive advantage for a company means not just matching or surpassing what competitors can do, but discovering what customers want and then profitably satisfying, and even exceeding, their expectations.
As barriers to interregional and international trade have diminished and as access to goods and services has grown, customers can locate and acquire the best of what they want, at an acceptable price, wherever it is in the world. Under growing competition and, hence, rising customer expectations, a company’s penalty for complacency becomes even greater.
A strategic tool to measure the importance of the customer’s perceived value is value chain analysis. By enabling companies to determine the strategic advantages and disadvantages of their activities and value-creating processes in the marketplace, value chain analysis becomes essential for assessing competitive advantage.