Executive Briefings

Focus on Your Business Chain

The term "supply chain" doesn't say it all, according to Reclipse Group president Susan Rosin and CEO Nigel Johnson. They offer a new term which encompasses all of the business processes that are ripe for collaboration, both inside and outside the organization.

"Business chain" connotes a broader effort that embraces the entire organization, says Rosin. It includes all change-management initiatives and supporting technology. Financials are just one example of a function that's not considered part of the traditional supply chain, she adds. "The financial system really does impact what's done with a product from inception to final use."

Johnson speaks of the functional "stovepipes" that emerge when major internal projects are launched. Key elements to consider include the product or service involved; the act of marketing and selling it; the supporting financial elements and metrics, both internal and external, and, most of all, the people involved. They are the key to successful business change management, he says.

People tend to get left out of the equation, says Johnson. Their jobs are defined in such a way as to emphasize the distinctions between the functions within a company. "The next evolution [in supply-chain management] will concentrate on the holistic success of a business," he says.

The siloed mentality tends to be more serious in large, complex organizations. Nevertheless, says Rosin, a "business chain" approach can also benefit smaller companies. They have the same need for visibility throughout the chain, coupled with an understanding of how the various elements interact. In the process, they can better assess which information systems are best suited to their needs.

Companies that take a business chain perspective do a better job of destroying the walls between silos, according to Rosin. They get access to the ideas and processes of all individuals, especially the ultimate customer - not just the direct buyer of their products.

Johnson foresees a dramatic evolution in the business chain over the next 10 years, as companies develop more customer-driven initiatives. He envisions the participation of more smaller entities, with an emphasis on "clean and green" technologies and practices.

To view this video interview in its entirety, click here.

"Business chain" connotes a broader effort that embraces the entire organization, says Rosin. It includes all change-management initiatives and supporting technology. Financials are just one example of a function that's not considered part of the traditional supply chain, she adds. "The financial system really does impact what's done with a product from inception to final use."

Johnson speaks of the functional "stovepipes" that emerge when major internal projects are launched. Key elements to consider include the product or service involved; the act of marketing and selling it; the supporting financial elements and metrics, both internal and external, and, most of all, the people involved. They are the key to successful business change management, he says.

People tend to get left out of the equation, says Johnson. Their jobs are defined in such a way as to emphasize the distinctions between the functions within a company. "The next evolution [in supply-chain management] will concentrate on the holistic success of a business," he says.

The siloed mentality tends to be more serious in large, complex organizations. Nevertheless, says Rosin, a "business chain" approach can also benefit smaller companies. They have the same need for visibility throughout the chain, coupled with an understanding of how the various elements interact. In the process, they can better assess which information systems are best suited to their needs.

Companies that take a business chain perspective do a better job of destroying the walls between silos, according to Rosin. They get access to the ideas and processes of all individuals, especially the ultimate customer - not just the direct buyer of their products.

Johnson foresees a dramatic evolution in the business chain over the next 10 years, as companies develop more customer-driven initiatives. He envisions the participation of more smaller entities, with an emphasis on "clean and green" technologies and practices.

To view this video interview in its entirety, click here.