them by process (process management). These companies typically use a business process architecture to analyze processes and supply chain relationships in successive levels of detail. Viewing the supply chain as a set of integrated process capabilities rather than as separate corporations and functions can provide critical insights that can be used to improve performance. In this way, complex activities can be coordinated to great advantage between functions and redundant or non-value-added activities, such as administrative or multiple entries, can be eliminated.

Integration is most beneficial when it occurs across multiple processes that have significant effects on supply chain performance, such as information technology, marketing, and finance. Integration across multiple processes can enable customization of the supply chain according to delivery channels, manufacturing requirements, or market segments.


The following factors are critical for successful supply chain integration (Agility Reports, 1997):

  • organizational buy-in, including full commitment by management

  • a clear understanding and articulation of identifiable benefits for all parties

  • adaptability and openness to changes in work design and organizational structure, consistent with agreed-upon levels of process integration

  • effective use of appropriate technologies for communications, data exchange, and product development

  • compatibility with the strategic vision of the enterprise

One of the most critical factors is organizational buy-in. Employee responses to integration efforts often range from indifference to antagonism Managers may attempt to "protect their turf," and organizational in-fighting is not uncommon. To some extent these responses are predictable aspects of human nature.

In anticipation of resistance to organizational change, supply chain participants should plan the integration process carefully. First, baseline relationships and processes should be mapped out in detail, an important, but time-consuming process. Second, the system of rewards and sanctions should be modified so that it is congruent with the proposed changes and consistent for all participants, both inside and outside of the corporation. Third, integration should begin on a small scale, using a cross-functional team under the leadership of a process champion, with participants from both customers and suppliers. It can be helpful to

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