Is Sustainable Competitive Advantage Possible, And How Can Technology Be Used As Catalyst?

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Is sustainable competitive advantage possible, and how can technology be used as its catalyst? This is the question that has vexed managers and business leaders for decades. According to Michael Porter, the answer lies in how technology is used. In this Case Study Report, Team 3 discusses how Mrs. Fields, Inc. leveraged technology for strategic positioning. Mrs. Fields, Inc. did not create the sweet snack industry, but it was the company’s innovative use of technology that helped the company sustain a competitive advantage over other companies vying for those same impulse snack dollars.
Mrs. Fields Cookies (MFC) is based in Broomfield, Colorado with a production and distribution facility in Salt Lake City, Utah. Debbi Fields and Randy Fields opened their first store in Palo Alto, California in 1977, and its first headquarters was in Palo Alto, California, moving soon thereafter to Salt Lake City in 1982. Between 1985 and 1988, the company opened 225 new stores. By the late 1980s the chain had grown to include 425 cookie stores across the United States and abroad, with annual retail sales of over $87 million. MFC grew in 1984 with the purchase of another retail cookie chain, the Famous Chocolate Chip Company, and diversified in 1987 with the acquisition of 119-store French bakery/sandwich chain, Le Petite Boulangerie.
From its inception and throughout its growth and expansion, information technology
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