by Kenneth Rudich
[Editor’s Note: This is the first installment for an ongoing series.]
The conceptual origins of the generic value chain in this series can be traced back to the work of well-known Harvard Business professor Michael Porter.
He described the concept of a generic value chain in his 1985 best-selling book, Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance.
If you look at the diagram of Dr. Porter’s original value chain model, the intent to construct an analytical tool for a manufacturing environment is abundantly clear.
His value chain analysis begins by isolating the key processes or activities found in a manufacturing environment.
It starts with obtaining the raw materials, then turning them into finished goods, and finally getting them into the hands of consumers.
As such, value might be improved from within an individual activity, or it might be enhanced by strengthening the relationships between activities (e.g., across process flows).
Even modest gains along different parts of the chain can yield a powerful cumulative effect, one that can lead to significant improvement in overall value.
Porter’s Enduring Effect
Upon release, Dr. Porter’s book was received with enthusiasm, and his brainchild grew quite popular in business and academia.
So popular, in fact, that as years passed it captured the imagination of others who would later re-purpose the original model to satisfy their own specific requirements for value creation. This spawned a variety of diagrams that differ in appearance but still adhere to the same basic principles as the original.
Then google “value chain for marketing,” click the images tab, and view what it retrieves — again, more variety but the same foundational principles.
These search results show how one good idea can endure over time and become a springboard source of widespread thought and inspiration.