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December 1, 2023

Integrated Planning: Interactions between Commercial and Supply Chain

— In the face of growing pressure to streamline operations, industry leaders Beda Bolzenius (Marelli) and Pierre Liautaud (KONE) discuss how organizations are dismantling silos to integrate sales and supply chain processes, fostering collaboration, and efficiency.

The following are the main takeaways from their discussion at aim10x live London.

Overcoming Organizational Silos: 

One crucial aspect highlighted by Pierre during the discussion was the need to break down silos within organizations, particularly between sales and supply chain departments. He emphasized that the existence of separate departments with their own key performance indicators (KPIs) can result in a lack of trust and misalignment, leading to suboptimal performance. By overcoming these challenges and fostering collaboration, organizations can create a more cohesive and efficient system.

The Importance of Healthy Tension: 

Beda emphasized the significance of maintaining a healthy tension between sales and supply chain functions. Achieving a balance between the two is crucial for optimal performance. However, he cautioned that when commercial supply conditions do not align with technical lead times, organizations may face significant difficulties. This misalignment can lead to financial issues, strained customer relationships, and operational challenges. Balancing these aspects is essential for sustainable success.

The Role of Technology:

Both Pierre and Beda acknowledged that technology can play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between sales and supply chain departments. Advanced technological tools can provide better visibility and communication, enabling smoother collaboration and decision-making processes. However, they also stressed that technology alone is not the ultimate solution. Human communication and trust remain fundamental in managing the relationship between these departments. Technology should be seen as an enabler and facilitator, enhancing human interactions rather than replacing them.

Consequences of Misalignment: 

Pierre shed light on the significant costs and operational inefficiencies that can arise from misalignment between sales and supply chain functions. To illustrate this, he shared an example of rusted escalators in Kenya, which resulted from a lack of trust and communication between departments. Such consequences can have a detrimental impact on an organization's reputation, financial performance, and overall efficiency. By striving to align sales and supply chain processes, organizations can avoid these costly setbacks and improve their overall performance.

Managing Change in a Global Context: 

Beda emphasized the importance of understanding and adapting to different cultural contexts when implementing change in a global organization. He highlighted the contrasting attitudes towards change in Japanese and Chinese cultures, emphasizing the need to tailor change management strategies accordingly. Recognizing and respecting cultural differences plays a vital role in ensuring successful change initiatives and fostering organizational alignment on a global scale.

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