Integrated Supply Chains and Resource Management - Fast Forward MBA in Business communication

Over the last several years, the idea of supply-chain linkages in manufacturing environments has gained momentum as the need for more effective sharing of information throughout a company, and with outside vendors and customers, has increased. If a company cannot efficiently share information, it is unlikely that supply-chain linkages can be identified or continuously improved, which can lead to a noncompetitive situation.

Companies need to create processes that enable their employees to appropriately and successfully share information within and across organizational units. Companies that do not develop and encourage the use of such processes give up potential competitive advantages and underutilize the strengths of their employees.

In Figure, we show a simplified view of potential linkages among groups in a simplified supply chain.

An important communication question is: What barriers exist in current processes that inhibit sharing of information? From a management communication perspective, are there opportunities to share and leverage information that can improve processes and products? Are there opportunities to increase communication efficiency and eliminate barriers? Pertinent questions include the following:

  • What information can Market Research share with Hardware Design that will help develop a better product?
  • What can Customer Service share with Software Design that will improve ease of operation for customers or help hardware designers create a more dependable machine?
  • How can Manufacturing and Hardware Design work together to create an easier-to-build machine?
  • Can Logistics and Distribution and Customer Service decrease the quantity of low-use spare parts held in multiple locations by Customer Service?
  • Do field technicians have information (for example, part reliability) that is not shared with Hardware Design for lack of an appropriate communications mechanism?
  • What information does the Corporate Strategy group need and need to share?

Supply-Chain Linkages in No manufacturing Environments

Supply-chain-like linkage problems are also inherent in service organizations. Nonprofit and government organizations have customers, boards of directors, and customers or clients, and the problems associated with Effective communication in a business environment also exist in those organizations. The communication relationships shown in Figures are critical. The groups shown in Figure obviously will vary depending on the organization, group, or agency.

Supply-Chain Linkages in No manufacturing Environments

Simplified communication linkages in a simplified supply chain (Manufacturing)

Management Styles and Communication Strategies

We advocate using win-win approaches to management, problem solving, and communication because they increase the efficiency of individuals, teams, areas, and companies. If these approaches are linked to appropriate incentive and reward systems (for example, performance pay, merit pay, or profit sharing), they can lead to performance improvements at all levels of an organization.

Effecting Change

If your company, area, or team (or yourself as an individual) does not use win-win approaches, how can you implement a change in your communication styles? We suggest using the ideas of Fisher and Ury, Deming, and others to eliminate barriers to effective communication and increased productivity.

From a strategic perspective, improved communication enhances the performance of the whole company, from sharing knowledge and innovative ideas to being able to make faster and better decisions. Deciding to improve overall communication requires support at a company, team or group, and individual contributor level. Win-win approaches can promote successful communication, and change a win-lose to a win-win or interest-based approach. It is important to stress how the win-win approach can benefit individuals, teams, and the entire company.


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