Competitive Advantage

1. I believe that cost reduction and product differentiation are still relevant to present. A company now can still maintain the low cost by controlling cost drivers and by reconfiguring the value chain to gain competitive advantage. At present, retail industry still consider the cost as the primary element that affects sale volume. Only business that can drive their cost or price (the buyer's value) lower than rivals will survive in competition. Differentiation is considered as a another way for having competitive advantage that is still relevant and useful. In order to create products with uniqueness, a company must be thoroughly aware of the value of its products to customers and of the value chain in its competitors. Buyer's value is the more important than the other, because it reflects how well the uniqueness is accepted. To satisfy the buyers, a company need to reduce the cost without cutting down quality, or create other attractiveness such as pack style or the location that is convenient to reach, or invent new product. A business can have sustainable advantages only if the buyers's needs and perceptions remain stable and competitors can't imitate the uniqueness. For technology aspect, new technology is relevant to present. A astute manager must be aware of improvement of technology from the competitors. However, old tech will be the past interest only.
2. Desirable competitor is encounraged, because it stimulate a business to move forward throught competition. In contract, undesirable competitor will have no good effect on the other. Psychic damage, harm done by one competitor to others, or distortion of the economic system will result.