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Value chain

From Academic Kids

de:Wertschöpfungskette

The value chain was described and popularized by Michael Porter in his 1985 best-seller: Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance. New York, NY The Free Press.

The value chain categorizes the generic value-adding activities of an organization. The "primary activities" include: inbound logistics, production, outbound logistics, sales and marketing, maintenance. The "support activities" include: administrative infrastructure management, human resources management, R&D, and procurement. The costs and value drivers are identified for each value activity. The value chain framework quickly made its way to the forefront of management thought as a powerful analysis tool for strategic planning. Its ultimate goal is to maximize value creation while minimizing costs.

The concept has been extended beyond individual organizations. It can apply to whole supply chains and distribution networks. The delivery of a mix of products and services to the end customer will mobilize different economic actors, each managing its own value chain. The industry wide synchronized interactions of those local value chains create an extended value chain, sometimes global in extent. Porter terms this larger interconnected system of value chains the "value system." A value system includes the value chains of a firm's supplier (and their suppliers all the way back), the firm itself, the firm distribution channels, and the firm's buyers (and presumably extended to the buyers of their products, and so on).

Capturing the value generated along the chain is the new approach taken by many management strategists. For example, a manufacturer might require its part suppliers to be located nearby its assembly plant to minimize the cost of transportation. By exploiting the upstream and downstream information flowing along the value chain, the firms may try to bypass the intermediaries creating new business models, or in other ways create improvements in its value system.

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