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Better value chains: a matrix for competitive advantage

Conrad den Hertog (Project Manager, Global Transformation, Philips, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Article publication date: 9 September 2014



The purpose of this paper is to present a new and comprehensive business strategy matrix which can be used to create competitive advantage for the value chain of every business unit of any firm.


This paper reviews the key findings of several well-known papers within the value chain literature and then adds several new conceptual insights to step by step create a logically developed, business strategy matrix featuring four strategy choices.


This paper presents the four business strategy choices of competitive value chains, based on the business strategies of innovative quality, lean cost, agile delivery and attentive service.

Research limitations/implications

A future research implication of this paper is to empirically test the financial benefits for producers of custom products, of applying agile delivery as a key business strategy.

Practical implications

This paper provides the senior management of each business unit of any firm, with a clear guide to defining an optimal business strategy.

Social implications

This paper is intended to advance the practice of business strategy by senior management, to enhance customer value across all business units.


This paper expands upon existing business strategy models by providing a comprehensive business strategy matrix, which can be applied to all possible business units. It does this by building upon current best practice to demonstrate that next to innovative quality, lean cost and attentive service strategies, an agile delivery strategy is required in the case of custom products.



den Hertog, C. (2014), "Better value chains: a matrix for competitive advantage", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 35 No. 5, pp. 43-48.



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