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along with delivering a high value product consistently.Note that in a company with more than one product area, it is appropriate to conduct the value chain analysis at the product group level, and not at the corporate strategy level. It is crucial for companies to have the ability to control and make most of their capabilities. In the advent of outsourcing, progressive companies are increasingly making their value chains more elastic and their organisations inherently more flexible (Gottfredson et al, 2005). The important question is to see how the companies are sourcing every activity in the value chain. A systematic analysis of the value chain can facilitate effective outsourcing decisions. Therefore, it is important to have an in-depth understanding of the company’s strengths and weaknesses in each activity in terms of cost and differentiation factors.The strategy of Wal-Mart worked when the company improved its business through innovative practices in activities such as purchasing, logistics, and information management, which resulted in the value offering of “everyday low prices” (Magretta, 2002). It is important to note that refining
business models on a constant basis is as critical to the success of the company as its business strategy. Notably, both the strategy and business model of an organisation are crucial for the robustness of the overall value chain.For example, 7-Eleven had been vertically integrated, controlling most activities in the value chain by itself. The company has now outsourced many parts of its business including functions like HR, IT management, finance, logistics, distribution, product development, and packaging. According to Gottfredson et al (2005), the value chain decisions of companies will increasingly shape their overall organisational structure. Moreover, the value chain decisions will play a role in determining the type of management skills that companies may need to develop or acquire to survive in fiercely competitive business markets.The Apple podcasting value chain is comprised of nine steps that essentially move from raw content to the listener. All the steps of the value chain include content, advertising, production, publishing, hosting/bandwidth, promotion, searching, catching, and listening. It is important to note that each step in the value chain adds value to the podcast in distinctive ways, has its own sets of challenges and opportunities.It is important to note that the nature of value chain activities differs greatly in accordance with the types of companies and industries. For companies with complex systems like IBM, Accenture and Cisco etc., it is not possible for one member of the value chain to provide all the products and services from start to finish. The marketing function in such companies focuses on aligning with key partners and allies that must collaborate with each other. For example, installing SAP's ERP system requires direct involvement from companies like HP, Oracle, and Accenture, along with indirect involvement of companies like EMC, Cisco, and Microsoft, and collaboration between many departments within the company. The market assets contrast starkly between the companies with