Jenny Craig, the chain of weight-management centers, set a rapid tempo to deliver a decisive blow to rival Nutrisystem in the s.
In this market, where diet centers were deriving almost all of their profits from the sales of portion- and calorie-controlled food products, Nutrisystem achieved an initial advantage by introducing a series of product improvements: freeze-dried food, boil-in pouches, and later, microwavable pouches. Because Nutrisystem was primarily a chain of franchises, each product improvement required the franchisees to invest in new food storage capacity and accompanying advertising campaigns. Further introductions required the approval once again of countless franchise owners.
Almost immediately after identifying an opportunity to sell a new line of frozen foods, Jenny Craig invested heavily in that product line and its requisite storage capacity. As is the case with the concept of focus, however, the problems of scarcity and a lack of fungibility can limit the degree to which resources can be combined. On the front lines, combined arms implies the integration of weapons-allocating, coordinating, and targeting as evolving conditions and tactical objectives require. In Operation Desert Storm, for instance, the U.
Marine Corps relied heavily on simultaneous direct fire, artillery, and air attacks, synchronized by frontline observers and pilots, to create shock, terror, and chaos among more heavily equipped Iraqi forces. At a higher level, combined arms involves selecting and arranging various combat assets to provide the commander with a fighting force tailored to the mission at hand.
Consisting of infantry, artillery, and cavalry, the corps operated as a coordinated, self-sufficient entity that could move more rapidly with less logistical support requirements than conventional force configurations and deliver more combat power because of the complementary nature of its assets. And when traders identify arbitrage opportunities across regional power grids or across time, Duke can sell the output of its plants to areas where electric power prices are highest or sell guarantees of future output in derivatives markets.
While each of the preceding elements of maneuver warfare represents a valuable concept on its own, the benefits of this combat philosophy are most fully realized when the elements work together. The credit card operation of Signet Bank until it was spun off in a public offering in , Capital One has enjoyed explosive growth.
Employing sophisticated data-mining techniques and simple screening mechanisms, the company identified the most profitable customers and determined which combination of price and characteristics would make a product desirable to each one of them. Capital One began by targeting critical vulnerabilities of commercial banks that offered credit cards: their obliviousness to the significant differences in profitability among customers and the potential of exploiting these differences. Absent this insight, banks offered uniform prices based on average costs. Having identified this opening, Capital One weighed the risks of its unproven concept—high start-up costs with a small customer base and the considerable lag time between market testing and payback if any —against the potential benefit of redefining the credit card market.
To carve out its place in the industry, the company relied heavily on stealth to surprise its competitors. For example, it used a difficult-to-detect direct mail campaign to poach customers from unwitting banks. And it hired consultants on a limited basis so that none ever saw enough of a product to reverse-engineer it.
In addition, it avoided industries where regulation would have required it to reveal its pricing models. Capital One initially adopted a narrow focus on a small yet highly profitable segment of the market: cardholders who carried a high recurring balance, presented a relatively low risk of default, and displayed a willingness pay high finance charges. Although the company has since broadened its customer profile—for example, it now issues secured cards to people not deemed creditworthy—it still uses sophisticated customer analyses to create the most enticing offers.
Even in its early days as part of Signet Bank—when it was a nearly autonomous subsidiary—Capital One embraced decentralized decision making.
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It has continued to rely heavily on the judgment of talented problem solvers who, at the point of decision, interpret trial data and identify profitable market opportunities. Finally, Capital One deployed in an unprecedented manner what were essentially combined arms: risk management and marketing. Aligning its data-mining, targeted marketing, and differential-pricing techniques helped the company maximize sales volume as well as minimize exposure to bad loans by selecting desirable customers and balancing risk with adjusted expected return.
More interesting than the fact that Capital One applied all these elements is the way in which these concepts complemented and reinforced one another.
Strategy and Tactics, Military
Because front-line managers could quickly refine or add product offerings without having to wait for approval from superiors once removed from the action, competitors were constantly forced to play catch-up. The freedom of frontline managers to continually fine-tune their product offerings ensured that Capital One maintained its razor-sharp focus on attracting and retaining only the most profitable customers.
In addition, these managers were encouraged to identify and attack the critical vulnerabilities of companies in new markets—such as automobile leasing and cell phone bandwidth reselling. In doing so, the individual frontline managers exercised reconnaissance pull, effectively moving the organization as a whole to a position of new strategic advantage. Over the past 20 years, competing schools of thought within the U. Some well-respected military figures have voiced skepticism about maneuver warfare, saying that it represents little more than common sense and is backed by selective historical examples of victors defeating inept opponents.
We would argue, however, that history has proven maneuver warfare extremely effective in varying and adverse conditions. Accordingly, it is a useful guide for strategic business thinking, particularly in the fast-paced, complex, fluid, and uncertain business environment of the twenty-first century. Companies that can effectively shape the conditions governing competitive encounters will flourish; those that cannot will fail.
The importance of this last point cannot be overstated. In business, as in war, the line between these should never be crossed.
Integrity and self-discipline on the part of both the military and the business practitioner of maneuver warfare are paramount. Finally, given the fact that for every move there is a countermove, maneuver warfare practitioners must constantly be aware that rivals could be employing the very same concepts to shape the conditions of the competitive encounter in their favor.
One need only recall how the Germans, the modern progenitors of maneuver warfare, were deceived about the location of the D-day invasion.
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Indeed, two decades after Merrill Lynch stole a march on rivals with the introduction—and deceptive downplaying—of the cash management account, eTrade and Charles Schwab employed the concept of rapid tempo to attack the brokerage giant. The upstarts used their relative speed advantage to enter the on-line trading market more quickly than Merrill Lynch, with its large brokerage force, was able to do.
As a result, Merrill Lynch was put on the defensive and had to scramble to catch up. Eric K. Jason A. Santamaria is an associate at Morgan Stanley in New York. He served as an artillery officer in the United States Marine Corps from to Decision making. Livnat, Zohar Eugen Octav Popa Thought Experiments in Academic Communication. Macagno, Fabrizio Strategies of Character Attack. Marraud, Hubert Arguments from Ostension. Mazzi, Davide Mercier, Hugo Looking for Arguments.
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Krabbe The Role of Argument in Negotiation. Fair and unfair strategies in public controversies. Maneuvering with an army is advantageous; with an undisciplined multitude, most dangerous. There are concrete and identifiable military tactics associated with maneuver each refined through conflict and war and each tailored to the needs of the situation faced by commanders on the frontline.
List of military strategies and concepts - Wikipedia
The modern era has seen joint forces maneuvers in which Air, Land, Sea work in tandem to accomplish a mission. The state of maneuver warfare changes as weapons and technology evolve. No longer is it reasonable to maneuver in column in two opposing battle lines as in the Napoleonic Wars, modern weapons have changed the concepts of maneuver and made them increasingly more complex, nuanced and challenging.
Five years after the establishment of U.