I was rather pleased to read the Aberdeen report , see the CNN summary here. 56% of the over 800 firms surveyed felt that supply chain management was a market strategy differentiator and could make all the difference in customer satisfaction and service apart from delivering sustainability in a firm’s overall operations.
This seems fairly logical given the nature of the supply chain with the upstream concerned with supplying materials to the firm and the downstream distribution channel being the customer fulfillment end should be in-sync to deliver customer satisfaction at optimal costs.
Interestingly,however, that is not how either academe or the consulting world is organized. Supply chain is typically part of operations with a serious heritage of linear programming, queuing theory and so on. Distribution is somehow bunched with logistics and deals with the "Place" in marketing ( of the 4 P’s of marketing). One thread that ties this chain together is IT and it’s recent accessibility in web based software as a service (SaaS) applications. Perhaps the possibilities of the softwares that deal with the upstream supply chain and downstream distribution channel that is making managers realize the huge marketing strategy possibilities of the supply chain.