An article in a recent Harvard Business Review points out that industries typically disaggregate as interfaces between various stages of the value chain become open and standardized. This allows value to migrate up or down the value chain—and away from established players. But the authors argue that it doesn't have to be that way. They point to automobile manufacturers as an example of being able to keep a fairly constant share of their industry’s total market capitalization despite competitive pressures and phenomena such as outsourcing. They do it by: (1) controlling the assets least likely to be commoditized; (2) serving as “guarantor of quality” to the end customer; (3) staying in close touch with changing customer needs; and (4) balancing the imperatives of growth and strategic control of the value chain. Clearly, factors such as these need to be taken into account when assessing the value of any firm.
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