I hope that you have enjoyed the article “How Supply Chain Can Woo Marketing.”

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In the article, I provided three ways that a supply chain department can be a perfect marketing collaboration partner.  I wanted to expand upon the first way here.

Part of Marketing’s job is to communicate the organization’s competitive advantage to prospective customers.  Competitive advantage can be a number of things:  quality, low cost, service, speed, social responsibility, agility, etc.

So, if Marketing is touting quality as the organization’s competitive advantage, the entire organization – including Supply Chain – needs to work to ensure that it is contributing to that competitive advantage.  Otherwise, it might not actually be an advantage or differentiator.  At worst, Marketing’s pitch could be a lie.

Think about this.  You may be like me, a Starbucks junkie.

Now, do you or I drink Starbucks because it is the least expensive coffee available?

Heck no!

So, why do we drink Starbucks?

Because of its superior taste, right?

Well, that and maybe that little extra jolt we get that helps us make it through a Monday in the office *winkwink*.

So, it is quality – and not low cost – that is a competitive advantage for Starbucks.

Now, think about Ford.  You’ve probably heard their marketing slogan “Built Ford Tough” a gazillion times.  Ford has been using it for over 35 years to advertise their trucks!

Those three words communicate durability.  Every department – and employee – who contributes to the manufacture of a Ford truck should have durability first and foremost in their mind.

In this USA Today article, a Ford marketing manager said of the slogan, “It’s much more than a tagline. It’s the brand promise…We’re going to deliver.”

Now, I personally don’t know how Ford measures its supply chain performance.  But I bet that it’s not like many less-successful organizations, who measure supply chain performance by only one metric:  cost savings.

In some organizations who compete solely on price, perhaps cost savings should be the primary supply chain performance measure.  But when the marketing message is all about durability, there has to be organizational alignment.  You don’t want your supply chain people blindly accepting every low bid without regard to the suppliers’ quality.

Ford clearly believes that it is “going to deliver.”  And the facts cited in the article – that there are more Ford pickups on the road with more than 250,000 miles than any other brand – suggest that the mentality of durability has indeed permeated the supply chain.

So, I hope that I have made the case for close supply chain-marketing collaboration.  If there is misalignment in your organization, you may be contributing to your organization’s loss of market share.  Supply chain priorities should help market share maximization, not hurt it.  The right measurements ensure alignment of priorities.

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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