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Supply Chain and Marketing Channels

    Supply Chain and Marketing Channels

    The supply chain and marketing channels can be differentiated in the following ways:

    1. The supply chain is broader than marketing channels. It begins with raw materials and delves deeply into production processes and inventory management. Marketing channels are focused on bringing together the partners who can most efficiently deliver the right marketing mix to the customer in order to maximize value. Marketing channels provide a more narrow focus within the supply chain.
    2. Marketing channels are purely customer facing. Supply chain management seeks to optimize how products are supplied, which adds a number of financial and efficiency objectives that are more internally focused. Marketing channels emphasize a stronger market view of the customer expectations and competitive dynamics in the marketplace.
    3. Marketing channels are part of the marketing mix. Supply chain professionals are specialists in the delivery of goods. Marketers view distribution as one element of the marketing mix, in conjunction with product, price, and promotion. Supply chain management is more likely to identify the most efficient delivery partner. A marketer is more likely to balance the merits of a channel partner against the value offered to the customer. For instance, it might make sense to keep a channel partner who is less efficient but provides important benefit in the promotional strategy.

    Successful organizations develop effective, respectful partnerships between the marketing and supply chain teams. When the supply chain team understands the market dynamics and the points of flexibility in product and pricing, they are better able to optimize the distribution process. When marketing has the benefit of effective supply chain management—which is analyzing and optimizing distribution within and beyond the marketing channels—greater value is delivered to customers. If the supply chain team came to you (the marketer) and told you that, based on their analysis,  you should add a lean warehousing, just-in-time inventory approach for your product, you should definitely listen.

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