Sunday, November 14, 2010

Supply Chains Used As An Extension of The Brand - Part 1

This week I am going to put some thoughts down about whether companies use their supply chain as an extension of their brand or just as an evil necessity that they would rather do without.  I have personally been involved in many companies and I have seen it done many ways.

Here are some characteristics of supply chains when used in the following manner:

1) Used as an extension

  • Company does not separate the product from the acquisition experience for the customer. They are intertwined.
  • Company puts protection of brand above all else (including cost).
  • Company probably does not do a lot of outsourcing in supply chain (Do you want your brand in another person's hands?).
  • Company cross trains between marketing, sales, product development and supply chain.
  • Company is most likely not "stovepiped". In other words they are not organized around functional silos but rather around products, categories of products or channels / customers.
2) Not used as an extension

  • The reverse of everything above.
  • The customer gets additional feeling of benefiting when dealing with the supply chain. 
  • Service is matched to the brand experience the company is going after
  • Supply Chain is seen as a cost to be cut. 
  • The big one:  When people in the commercial side of the business refer to themselves uniquely as "the business" and the supply chain is just something to execute at the lowest cost imaginable. 
This is just a short list and as I develop my thoughts further I am sure this list will be adjusted and added to.

Can anyone think of a company that makes their supply chain experience part of the brand v other companies which make it just a back office function?

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