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)

Equinix: The Hub of the Internet
Posted on December 7, 2015 at 7:21 pm
You probably mention putting things into the “cloud” all the time. But do you actually know what that means? No, but like literally? Well, the “cloud” is physically a server sitting somewhere in a data center – most likely an [...]
IKEA: Redefining the Market to Achieve Success
David Rose
Last modified on December 8, 2015 at 8:22 pm
How did an offbeat Swedish retailer managed to conquer the market for furniture around the globe? Below that quirky surface lies an amazing success story of well-executed strategic alignment.
Lending Club: Bringing Loans to the Masses
Last modified on December 6, 2015 at 4:34 pm
Lending Club has disrupted the lending industry through its business and operating strategy
Amazon: The Cycle of Victory
Posted on December 9, 2015 at 10:01 pm
Amazon leverages its superior warehousing and product innovation to drive prices down and purchases up.
Growing “Organically” in the Vitamins Industry
Mr. Organic (Brenhouse)
Last modified on December 8, 2015 at 4:50 pm
How a West Palm Beach start up disrupted the $35 billion vitamins industry
Netflix – Behind the Scenes
Last modified on December 1, 2015 at 12:24 am
Netflix is transforming your living room -- what goes on behind the scenes to deliver the experience
Bolthouse Farms: Turning a Billion Pounds of Carrots into a Billion Dollars
Noah Rosenberg
Last modified on December 9, 2015 at 12:09 am
An agricultural business that was highly effective at aligning its operating and business models after repositioning its strategy.
SpaceX and the Operating Frontier
Posted on December 3, 2015 at 3:20 pm
Redefining the cost of innovation breakthroughs through operational strategies at SpaceX
Stitch Fix – Driving Retail Profits with Data Analytics and Mass Customization
Posted on December 9, 2015 at 7:25 pm
Stitch Fix has innovated upon the retail business and is attempting to escape from fast fashion operating problems by using data analytics to offer personal service to customers and real-time feedback to designers.
The Milky Way: The evolving National Dairy Development Board of India
Last modified on December 9, 2015 at 10:21 pm
Milk in India India took over the European Union as the largest producer of milk [1} with over 138 million tonnes of milk produced in 2014[2]. With over 1.25 billion people in the country [3], we get a per capita [...]
Have you ever tried to become a Uber Driver?
Posted on December 1, 2015 at 9:58 pm
Uberify your business and operating model
Build-A-Bear Workshop: It’s Time to Hibernate
Last modified on December 8, 2015 at 5:24 pm
Retail industry trends, such as decreased mall traffic and movement to online shopping, are threatening Build-A-Bear Workshop's physically dependent operations
Zappos: Best in Class Customer Service
M LaBombard
Last modified on December 8, 2015 at 10:08 pm
Zappos's operating model supports its mission to provide superior customer service.
Publix: Every Floridians’ Favorite Supermarket
Posted on December 9, 2015 at 3:51 pm
Publix employee satisfaction leads to superior customer service.
Rent the Runway: A Successful Fashion Forward Business
Posted on December 9, 2015 at 11:47 pm
A stylish business with an effective model
Codility – how to disrupt recruitment of software engineers and have fun in the process!
Gosia Karas
Last modified on December 9, 2015 at 5:38 pm
A few thoughts on a small, Polish company that helps Silicon Valley giants hire top talent.
GSK – Keep it simple
Emre Sahin
Last modified on December 8, 2015 at 11:58 pm
GSK – The Big Pharma that decided to keep it simple in an industry that is getting more complicated than ever
SunPower: A Bright Spot in Renewable Energy
Last modified on December 9, 2015 at 7:01 pm
A diversified, integrated approach to making solar energy both an affordable and profitable venture., not your daddy’s furniture store
Yi Xie
Posted on December 9, 2015 at 10:55 pm
Imagine the last time you shopped for furniture. Was it a good experience? Did you visit several stores before purchasing? Did you weigh the costs of furniture delivery vs renting your own U-Haul? Did you have to call your friend [...]
Haidilao Hot Pot’s Success
Last modified on December 9, 2015 at 5:59 pm
It is not usual to relate a fancy word such as 'unstoppable' with a restaurant chain, this traditional business model just does not sound sexy any more nowadays. However, the success of Haidilao Hot Pot, a chain of hot pot [...]
Mendocino Farms: A fast casual sandwich shop where “happy” is worth every penny
Adam Gold
Last modified on December 9, 2015 at 11:35 pm
Mendocino Farms has perfected its restaurant design to deliver gourmet sandwiches at fast-food speeds in a location that feels like a neighborhood hangout.
Gilt: A VIP Club for Shoppers of Flash Sale
Posted on December 8, 2015 at 12:42 am
Gilt is an online retailer that sells designer clothes and other luxury goods at deep discounted prices up to 70% off. It is a fast growing company founded by two HBS Alumnae right after recession.
Peloton: the Netflix of boutique fitness
Posted on December 8, 2015 at 6:02 pm
Peloton provides an example of symbiotic business and operating models, in which this boutique fitness studio has maximized ROA and brand effectiveness by offering both live and online subscriber-based spin classes.
Student Transportation: Lost on the Way to School?
Robby Kirkham
Posted on December 6, 2015 at 2:22 pm
Student Transportation, Inc. (“ST” or the “Company”) has achieved tremendous growth over the past 18 years by effectively aligning its operating and business models. However, if ST succumbs to investor pressure to reduce the capital intensity of the business, it [...]
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