Supply Chain Blog

SC and Sales senior team squabbles: Always bad for business

Posted by Dave Jordan on Thu, Jul 05, 2018

Another sign of getting old I guess. When was the last time you watched a football match when no tattoos were on show and the haircuts did not look like something out of the Time Warp musical? As I write England is still involved yet we are all waiting for the inevitable elimination on penalties. At least it won’t be to Germany this time – what rotten bad luck boys!

sales-supply-chain-disagreementIn other news I see The Donald and Kim Jong-un have finally met face to face after a great deal of public bitchiness. That must have been the bad hair day to end all bad hair days; an orange bird’s nest and something that looks like a greasy black croissant. Funny, after so much apparent dislike that these 2 diverse characters actually seem to get on well with each other, in public at least. Even if you don’t like someone you may still have to do business with them and that can be difficult.

The bird’s nest-croissant situation reminded me of many FMCG and Pharmaceutical companies where the Sales and Supply Chain Directors do not co-operate very well. Commonly they fail to see that doing business is just that and difficult discussions and criticism is not personal. However, when relationships break down (or don’t even start) you find that precious time is spent trying to prove the other party wrong.

While the focus should be on beating your competition, you may find that 2 of your key operational directors are motivated in a very different direction. You can hear your competitors laughing as the in-fighting worsens and the conflict cascades down the business to those operating at lower levels. Decisions are being made in order to trick or trip the other department and ensure KPIs are missed and fingers can be pointed. What a complete waste of time, effort and experience!

Such behaviour has to be tackled head-on and it needs the Chairman or CEO to bang heads together and quickly. From a leadership perspective it is vital that the CEO does not appear to take sides or knee-jerk react to information received.

One of the frequent causes of Sales-SC conflict is a poor alignment of Key Performance Indicators. When setting KPIs for the senior team it is important to ensure that a few principles are observed:

  1. Some KPIs must be shared. If a bonus relies on performance of some common KPIs then you are more likely to put the personal stuff aside and do what is best for the business. Stop allocating silo based KPIs.
  2. KPIs should be equally stretching. Any imbalance will surely lead to a bitter and twisted relationship for all involved.
  3. Share out the recognition. Sales tend to be seen as the in-market heroes yet everyone else in the company is working to support that success. If the quarter has gone well, congratulate everybody.

If the Presidents of USA and North Korea can get along despite many, many differences in style and opinion then surely there is hope for your Sales and Supply Chain Directors.

Image courtesy of Ben Schonewille at freedigitalphotos.net.

 

Tagss: CEO, Supply Chain, Sales, KPI, Dave Jordan