Productivity Boundary and Operating Efficiencies
In an alternative approach, Porter (1996) attempts to resolve the issue of trade-offs by introducing the concept of a productivity boundary and operating efficiencies. Porter suggests that the experiences of a firm are determined by its relative position to the productivity frontier shown in this figure. Porter contends that strategic positioning means performing different activities from rivals or performing similar activities in different ways. Whereas operational effectiveness means performing similar activities better than rivals perform them. Porter makes two other observations regarding the productivity frontier. He argues that as companies approach the frontier they are more liable to experience trade-offs: at the frontier only trade-offs. He also contends that the frontier is a moving target which is shifted outwards by new innovations and management approaches. He claims that this model explains the behaviour of Japanese manufacturers in the 1980s. And show that they moved towards the productivity boundary by improving on several fronts at one time: cost, TQM, JIT, increased variety and increased product innovation.