Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Book Review: Hunters & the Hunted

Hunters & the Hunted shows the way enterprises evolve and adapt through the years and how an organization on the decline, can learn from these lessons of history. It links the basic purpose of an organizational existence to financial gains and customer satisfaction. It goes on to show how customer satisfaction is vital for an organizations continued existence. By taking examples from the past, it illustrates how the lack of fulfilling the customers’ expectations (stated or unstated) leads to a gap in the market, which a competitor then utilizes to drive the company out of the market.
It then links these customer requirements directly to operational processes. It illustrates how the manufacturing methodology fundamentally affects the customer satisfaction. This is in illustrated in many different ways ranging from quality and cost (directly related to operations); to service (delivery time and schedule). Then the book goes on to show how competitors attack existing companies whenever they fall short on customer expectations. They improve their manufacturing setup to enable them to provide better customer service.
It shows how this is accomplished by the help of linear solutions (like reorganization, decentralization, de-layering, continuous improvement, benchmarking, and participative management) & more importantly, through non-linear solutions. The book emphasizes on the non-linear solutions (Also called re-engineering by some people) and shows how linear solutions help the company to remain in competition (at least for a short time) but non-linear solutions make a company soar ahead of its competitors and hunt them down. The book provides some valuable insights into the world of manufacturing. It shows us that a bad system cannot be improved endlessly. Eventually it has to be replaced by a better system.
Some of the key points discussed are
1. Customer orientation (operating in customer time, quality, cost etc)
2. Cycle time & system response time
3. Inspection, inventory & feedback
4. Strategy, process model, process intent & value delivery system
5. Linear & non-linear solutions
6. Quality & Cost, Flexibilty & Delivery
The book tries and manages to present theories in a compelling manner. Even counter-intuitive points are presented in a logical and easy to understand manner. As a literature of management this book provides for a very compelling read and is quite thought provoking in nature.

Review by:
Jagrit Minocha (PGP 23064)

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