What's your internal organization got to do with marketing and supply chain? Well everything…. but first some nostalgia.
This is the 500th post of this blog and happily coincides with the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens who explored perennial and timeless issues of the human condition. So too with organizations whose challenges continue despite technology ,globalization and the Internet. Let's take marketing and supply chain in turn and see how it's so important for both types of leaders to account for the organization within.
- Marketing is defined as " the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large". (Approved October 2007 by the American Marketing Association). Keeping up with value is the innovation piece and a timeless organizational challenge as the world becomes flatter and supply chains are repeatedly asked to find cheaper, better sources of products and services.Meanwhile organizations continuously try to figure out what their core competence is and try to outsource everything else.
- Supply Management is defined as"The identification, acquisition, access, positioning, management of resources and related capabilities the organization needs or potentially needs in the attainment of its strategic objectives." ( 2010 Institute for Supply Management) .
If you think about it, strategic objectives are ultimately about providing value to customers and other stakeholders as in the marketing definition. Without providing value, you do not have a business.
Strangely employees in most organizations do know the above definitions but are generally unaware of where they fit in into this value creation process in the organization . This off course leads to the famous employee disengagement problem where about half the employees in firms large and small are disengaged. They would do exactly as told and not an inch more despite the old industrial order crumbling around us as Seth Godin is so fond of pointing out.
There was no supply chain management in the early days of the industrial revolution because everything was done in-house. So the command and control system worked great and education and training was all geared to "putting your head down" and just doing what you were asked to do- and you had a job for life. The trouble is that the world has suddenly changed so no matter what your structured skill – someone in a low cost location can do parts of it and you need to move up in the knowledge chain.
Marketers and Supply Chain leaders on the other hand do not address the "internal" pieces of the organizational engagement problem. So you have marketing and sales with sudden orders that puts manufacturing and supply chain in a bind. The order was cooking for a while ( remember the sales funnel?) and the rest of the internal organization was just not able to get an early heads up, probably because the sales folks felt better talking about an order – after they got it- just to avoid blame in case it fell through.
So where does all of this leave organizations and their leaders in marketing and supply chain? Two thoughts:
- Do not consider meeting with your team, on an individual basis, as a waste of time. In the age of the individual a charged up individual who understands their "purpose" in organizational value creation is really on her/his way to engagement and actually lesser stress!
- Reach out to internal users if you are in Supply Chain and internal manufacturing,planning if you are Marketing. Go slow on the industrial age model of spending most of your time on customers because if you have your organization on the same page- customer satisfaction and referrals in an age of social media will follow.