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Supply Chain Strategy Alignment: What the C-Suite Needs to Know

Effective management of supply chains is indeed a daunting and challenging task. Arguably, the main goal of supply chain management lies at the core of making overall chain profitability a common goal for all partners across the chain. Executing this task involves a great deal of boundary-spanning interdependent and coordinated efforts.

The scope of such efforts includes inter-functional as well as inter-firm cooperation. From an internal function standpoint, organizations can attain cooperation through coordinated efforts and commitment among the staff from all functional areas. However, In order to achieve such coordination, organizations must first learn how to overcome numerous obstacles that get in the way and that may or may not be within their direct control.

Where should network constituents start their coordinating efforts? What approaches should be used? A good starting point is identifying and approaching individual internal organizational obstacles. Initiatives should be implemented to align organizational goals and strategies with those of the supply chain partners. To that end, traditional organizational behaviors, activities, and roles should be given a new orientation.

Let’s start with sales staff. The sales function is a typical example of an organizational role that needs reorientation. But what exactly does it mean to give the sales function a new orientation? It simply means to evolve from a traditional to a contemporary approach.

In the traditional sales function role, salespeople are trained to focus on pre-purchase activities such as obtaining orders and contracts and selling products. They are trained to manage transactions. Under this modus operandi, performance objectives and compensation packages influence salespeople to focus on short-term financial results. For the “supply-chain-untrained” executive, that’s the way sales people should be trained and incentivized, right? However, this traditional approach is completely counterproductive to supply chain management objectives and goals as I will discuss.

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