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This paper seeks to compare and contrast the differences in the way manufacturing firms and service firms operate. For this purpose the paper conducts a comparative analysis of the operations strategy of Toyota, the world's leading car manufacturer and Ryanair, Europe's leading low-cost airline. Firstly, it will be dealt with the competitive factors both companies need to excel at in order to gain competitive edge and sustain economic viability from a long-term perspective. Secondly, it will outline the major aspects that enable both companies to succeed in a highly competitive and dynamic business environment. In particular, it will draw on key components of successful operations strategies, such as process design, human resource management, innovation management, supply chain management and quality management. Finally, the paper concludes by summing up the key points and highlighting the respective implications. In addition, the paper provides a more comprehensive strategic analysis of Ryanair's low-cost strategy in the appendix in order to promote understanding.