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One major market trend impacting the high-tech mobility and telecommunications sector is convergence, says Michele Carroll, president of Carrollco Marketing Services. Companies are struggling with the need to provide access to all types of services on the user's device of choice. Additional challenges include ever-changing business models, a shifting universe of players, globalization, intensifying competition, and the need to realize the full promise of the internet, social media and the cloud.
Also changing rapidly is the role of supply-chain management professionals. They need to possess the right skills and mindset "to make collaboration happen," says Carroll. Companies tend to focus on the flow of physical product, information, technology, finance and marketing - everything but the human element. Collaboration among a company's internal team, suppliers and customers is key. "Third-party logistics and service providers don't think about that aspect at all," says Carroll.
Companies most likely to succeed today are "learning organizations," she says. They understand the crucial link between corporate culture and systems. The capability extends to the design and deployment of new products, which are proliferating at a dizzying rate.
Culture comes from the top, says Carroll. It's up to the chief executive to establish the company's vision, then work with individuals throughout the organization to implement it. Carroll cites the work of Peter Senge, director of the Center for Organizational Learning at the MIT Sloan School of Management, whose notion of the "Fifth Discipline" stresses the need for companies to think more creatively about their direction and goals.
Carroll's advice to those starting out in the world of supply chain is "to be open to learning - recognize that it's OK not to know the answer." She stresses the difference between discussion and dialog - the latter aimed at solving problems in a collaborative environment. "Together we can create something better than what either of us came in with," she says.
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