Partnering with Other Company Departments Each company department can be

Partnering with other company departments each

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Partnering with Other Company DepartmentsEach company department can be thought of as a link in the company’s internal value chain.9 That is, each department carries out value-creating activities to design, produce, market, deliver, and support the firm’s products. The firm’s success depends not only on how well each department performs its work, but also on how well the various departments coordinate their activities.For example, Walmart’s goal is to create customer value and satisfaction by providing shoppers with the products they want at the lowest possible prices. Marketers at Walmart play an important role. They learn what customers need and stock the stores’ shelves with thedesired products at unbeatable low prices. They prepare advertising and merchandising programs and assist shoppers with customer service. Through these and other activities, Walmart’s marketers help deliver value to customers.
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However, the marketing department needs help from the company’s other departments. Walmart’s ability to help you “Save Money. Live Better” depends on the purchasing department’s skill in developing the needed suppliers and buying from them at low cost. Walmart’s information technology (IT) department must provide fast and accurateinformation about which products are selling in each store. And its operations people must provide effective, low-cost merchandise handling.A company’s value chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Success depends on how well each department performs its work of adding customer value and on how well the activities of various departments are coordinated. At Walmart, if purchasing can’t obtain the lowest prices from suppliers, or if operations can’t distribute merchandise at the lowest costs, then marketing can’t deliver on its promise of unbeatable low prices.Ideally, then, a company’s different functions should work in harmony to produce value for its customers. But, in practice, departmental relations are full of conflicts and misunderstandings. The marketing department strives to always understand the customer’s point of view, but sometimes marketing’s focus on customer satisfaction can cause other departments to do a poorer job in their terms. Marketing department actions can increase purchasing costs, disrupt production schedules, increase inventories, and create budget headaches. Sometimes, the other departments may resist the marketing department’s efforts.Yet marketers must find ways to get all departments to “think customer” and to develop a smoothly functioning value chain. One marketing expert puts it this way: “True market orientation . . . means that the entire company obsesses over creating value for the customerand views itself as a bundle of processes that profitably define, create, communicate, and deliver value to its target customers. . . . Everyone must do marketing regardless of function or department.” Says another, “Engaging customers today requires commitment from the entire company. We’re all marketers now.”10 This means that whether
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