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On December 14, 2015, af commented on Taco Bell: When You Don’t Have Time for Freshness :

Thank you for sharing this information! We’ve seen in a few occasions in TOM how insourcing or incorporating suppliers can be a useful way to maximize efficiency. With Taco Bell you provided us with an example of how outsourcing a key step can have dramatically positive effects on the delivery of value to the customer. I think part of Taco Bell’s success is due to the intimate understanding of what there customer prioritizes—in this case short wait time over food quality. By listening to their customer, Taco Bell had the right strategy to begin with and looked for ways to shape the operating model as a consequence.

Anecdotally, it seems that Taco Bell has also built a strong innovation process since they release some innovative products including Doritos Locos Tacos and their more recent breakfast menu. They test these items with their customers in a similar way to the IDEO prototyping phase by releasing them for limited time or in limited geographies and then they scale up if they are successful.

I completely agree on your assessment of theirs alignment between their operational model and their business model.

On December 14, 2015, af commented on Ally Bank: Taking Retail Banking Online :

This is a great example of how the company centered their experience design around the customer. You did a nice job at laying out the various ways they drove down costs without removing the elements of service that the customer expects from their bank and how this served to also raise the interest rate they could offer.

I suspect that this company could face a serious competitive threat since the barriers to entry are fairly low in this space. While switching costs could keep customers from migrating away from Ally, they will not keep customers that are switching from another bank to migrate to a new competitor of Ally.
Additionally, existing banks may be able to adapt to reduce their own costs by minimizing their brick and mortar presence, and therefore reducing the need to switch to Ally.

On December 14, 2015, af commented on Wegmans: The New Frontier in Grocery :

This is very insightful!

You have convinced me that Wegmans has really carved out a corner of the Grocery landscape in the Northeast. I agree that expansion far beyond those borders may require a change in their operating model and may therefore erode their advantage. It seems that some other regions of the US also feature a grocer with a similar following (Earth Fare and Publix in the southeast comes to mind). I imagine that a slow and steady growth of these regional chains may bring them closer to the territory of one of their competitors at which point chains like Wegmans may begin to see challenges.