While there has been much talk over the past 10 years or so about "collaboration," much of it has been focused on external supply chain collaboration. It seems that many companies neglected to get their own houses in order before looking outside their own supply chains, according to a University of Tennessee report entitled Bending the Chain: The Surprising Challenge of Integrating Purchasing and Logistics.
A sales manager recently spoke about an embarrassing scene that unfolded before an important client meeting. "Two teams from our firm were waiting in the lobby when the client walked in, and the groups didn't recognize each other. What a contradiction of our promise to provide integrated solutions! We looked like the Keystone Kops."
One of the biggest opportunities to dramatically improve supply chain performance occurs when traditional supply chain functions are decomposed and reinvented as integrated business processes. Few supply chain practitioners would dispute that notion. However, when it comes to their technology strategy, too many practitioners fall back into deploying the TMS, WMS, route planning, mobile and other technological silos developed in the 1990s that don't ultimately support their vision.
Every organization of significant size struggles with alignment. When you talk with CEOs, alignment is often the number one issue on their plate. Even organizations with as few as 25 employees often struggle with what seems like a simple problem: How do I get everyone on the same page?
Analyst Insight: Let's start at the very beginning. Supply chain DNA is focused on costs while providing acceptable service to customers. Marketing DNA is focused on revenues that come from the sales and services. As a result, the only shared value between marketing and supply chain people is the recognition that "stuff has to get to customers." To marketing, the term "minimize" only relates to the number of times a customer is dissatisfied, whereas to supply chain, "minimize" is the Holy Grail. – Robert Sabath, Principal Essentialist SCM, Trissential