The TOM Challenge: TOM Winners and Losers Assignment

December 09, 2015

Read The Full Prompt

The basic thesis of the TOM course is that company performance is driven by the alignment between the company’s business model and operating model. As defined in the “Introduction to the RC TOM Course” note, a business model is defined as how the firm creates and captures value, and an operating model refers to the processes that transform a firm’s assets (e.g., capital, labor, intellectual property, equipment, etc.) into valuable actions.

Please identify one organization in the global economy that you think is highly effective (or one that is highly ineffective) at driving alignment between its operating and business models

  1. Did you choose the company as an example of effectiveness or ineffectiveness? Why?
  2. Describe the company’s business and operating models. What is interesting about them?
  3. Do the models align and support each other?  How?  What specific features of the operating model are designed to create and sustain competitive advantage?  What features of the business model leverage unique capabilities of its operating model?  What are the implications for performance?

Submitted (929)

Gelson’s: The Super Market
Last modified on December 9, 2015 at 11:09 pm
Find out how this Los Angeles grocery favorite has been able to protect its turf from the likes of Whole Foods, Sprouts and Trader Joes.
Costco Wholesale: A Warehouse Powerhouse
Last modified on December 6, 2015 at 4:10 pm
Warehouse giant Costco is effectively leveraging its operating model to sustain a business advantage and drive growth.
Whole Foods: A Whole Package from Austin, Texas
Last modified on December 9, 2015 at 10:21 pm
Whole Foods: A Whole Package from Austin, Texas
Emirates, connecting the world.
Posted on December 9, 2015 at 6:13 pm
Emirates Airline, connecting the world. A classic example of well aligned business and operational models.
Inditex and Zara: Delivering fast (and more profitable) fashion
Last modified on December 9, 2015 at 8:20 pm
Through its flagship brand Zara, Inditex has revolutionized fashion retailing through its promise to design, produce, and deliver cutting-edge apparel in under 3 weeks. Read on to find out how Zara successfully delivers to over 2000 stores in 88 countries [...]
Catch Surf: A Surfboard Company with an Apparel Problem?
Last modified on December 9, 2015 at 6:13 pm
Catch Surf brings the fun, carefree attitude of the 1980s surf culture into the modern day with state-of-the-art foam surf Beater Boards and a recent expansion into apparel.
The Tangiers Casino–A Sure Bet
Last modified on December 9, 2015 at 5:48 pm
The true story of success behind the largest skimming operation in Las Vegas history.
Y Combinator: Accelerating Innovation
Posted on December 2, 2015 at 8:38 pm
Merits of the Startup Accelerator Model
Paddle8: Bringing the Art Auction House Online
Andrew Cone
Last modified on December 9, 2015 at 11:29 pm
Combining the ease and efficiency of e-commerce with the taste and trust of a traditional auction house.
Tesla Motors: A Battery Charged Model of Effectiveness
Sara Gilson
Posted on November 30, 2015 at 1:38 am
A discussion of the effective alignment of the business and operating models of Tesla Motors that have allowed the company to achieve significant success launching its industry revolutionizing electric cars
Southwest Airlines: Operating Efficiency Funds Customer Service
Posted on December 9, 2015 at 8:36 pm
Southwest Airlines powers its business model of customer service with operational excellence.
Stitch Fix: Decoding fashion through analytic
Posted on December 6, 2015 at 10:06 pm
How much easier would shopping be if a stylist mailed you five pieces of clothing that she tailored just for you, and you had the choice to buy what you like and mail the rest back for free?
PCRF: Providing a solution to healthcare problems in the Middle East
Miral Alaraj
Posted on December 9, 2015 at 10:55 pm
“PCRF offers hope and a light of humanity in the Middle East by continuing to provide thousands of children medical care and humanitarian aid that they otherwise would not have access to due to the political and economic forces. The [...]
Meritage Midstream: Stable infrastructure development in an unstable energy environment
Last modified on December 8, 2015 at 5:51 pm
How aligning business and operating models in the midstream industry drives performance through downturns
Revolution Foods. Transforming the way America eats.
Posted on December 9, 2015 at 4:16 pm
Named by Fast Company as one of the most innovative companies in 2015, Revolution Foods is setting a precedent for social impact for-profit enterprises in the US. The now famous social enterprise was founded in 2006 with the mission to [...]
Maple: A Restaurant without a Restaurant
Devon Rinker
Posted on December 9, 2015 at 8:30 pm
Maple is a new concept in Manhattan backed by David Chang (of Momofuku fame). Don’t try to call to get a reservation though, because it’s delivery only.
The United States Postal Service: Snail Mail Forever
Posted on December 9, 2015 at 7:02 pm
The United States Postal Service is an independent government agency that is self-sustained, yet carries out a critical public service. It has experienced multiple periods of unprofitability due to its inability to optimize operations as a fully private sector entity [...]
Profitably lending to lower income households in Mexico
Axel P
Posted on December 9, 2015 at 12:19 am
Mexico´s largest microfinance lender, Banco Compartamos has more than 2.5 million customers with an average loans of US$360. Through an effective alignment of its business model and operating model, this lender has profitably served millions of lower income households by [...]
The Hype Machine – More Than Just The Hype
Last modified on December 5, 2015 at 4:07 pm
By having an operating model founded on nothing more than 'page view' payment, the Hype Machine has been become an authentic, authoritative new music source
Zara: disrupting the traditional cycle of fashion
Posted on December 6, 2015 at 5:06 pm
How running a fashion company made Zara’s founder richer than Warren Buffet
COSTCO: Big Bad Amazon can’t blow this brick and mortar house down.
Last modified on December 9, 2015 at 10:36 pm
COST SAVING, Costco's business and operating models' singular focus.
Roshan Telecommunications (Afghanistan) – Private Enterprise Winning where Developmental Aid has Failed
Posted on December 9, 2015 at 11:27 pm
Within the massive numbers of development project failures in Afghanistan since 2001 Roshan Communications stands out as one of the only success stories. It is even more impressive since it has made a profit since its sixth month in operation. [...]
Disney: Enabling the Most Magical Place on Earth
Bryan A. Coburn
Last modified on December 5, 2015 at 10:17 pm
Disney goes through great lengths to put you in a whole new world.
Virgin America: An Invisibly Lean Approach to Premium Service
Last modified on December 13, 2015 at 12:24 pm
Virgin America leverages operational smarts to deliver the hippest customer experience in the skies.