Middle Managers becoming extinct but “silo” managers are needed even in the recession

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Middle managers are those who manage junior managers but "silo" managers according to my definition  manage the span of two functions. A good example of silo managers are the production planning folks who deal with production folks ,supply(procurement)  managers and marketing.

You might righteously argue that "silos should not exist"- but they do and do so for a reason in some cases like production planning.If production directly spoke with marketing and procurement (supply) you don't need a production planning function. Sure – but then the production folks energy, that should be singularly focused on production and associated tasks of reducing waste,enhancing quality and generating production related innovations gets  diverted to co-ordination work. The impact on marketing productivity is even more drastic. Instead of dealing with customers and understanding their problems- marketing folks land up dealing with production problems that are internal. Thus although "production planning" sounds unglamorous  like a "staff" role, production planners do serve  a vital role.

The recession based expediency of doing away with vertical layers (middle managers) is getting extended to eliminating silo managers which might result in serious organizational problems. And ERP systems alone cannot help without knowledgeable people behind them.  So before you think of eliminating these  staff sounding positions like "production planner" think carefully about the potential downside.

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