Conflict Between Departments

Each business function has a different view of which publics and activities are most important. Manufacturing focuses on suppliers and production; finance addresses stockholders and sound investment; marketing emphasizes consumers and products, pricing, promotion and distribution. Ideally, all the different functions should blend to achieve consumer satisfaction. In practice, departmental relations are full of conflicts and misunderstandings. The marketing department takes the consumer's point of view. But when marketing tries to develop customer satisfaction, it often causes other departments to do a poorer job in their terms. Marketing department actions can increase buying costs, disrupt production schedules, increase inventories and create budget headaches. Thus the other departments may resist bending their efforts to the will of the marketing department.

Despite the resistance, marketers must get all departments to 'think consumer' and to put the consumer at the centre of company activity. Customer satisfaction requires a total company effort to deliver superior value to target customers.

Creating value for buyers is much more than a 'marketing function'; rather, it is 'analogous to a symphony orchestra in which the contribution of each subgroup is tailored and integrated by a conductor - with a synergistic effect. A seller must draw upon and integrate effectively ... its entire human and other capital resources .., [Creating superior value for buyers] is the proper focus of the entire business and not merely of a single department in it."2

ABB Asea Brown Boveri, formed in 1987 by the merger of Sweden's Asea and Switzerland's Brown Boveri, shows the benefits of customer focus. ABB launched a customer focus programme in 1990. It was initially a regional effort stressing time-based management to quicken response to customers by cutting total customer order to delivery time. The customer focus programme has since extended to all its operations. It encourages people in all its 5,000 plus profit centres to 'think customer', track customer satisfaction and to find ways to continually improve customer service.

The company keeps 'close to the customer' by extreme decentralization and a flat, team driven organization. Sune Karlsson, who

Marketing Within Strategic Planning • 105

Influences Marketing Strategy
Figure 3.6

Influences on marketing strategy is responsible for the customer focus programme, says: 'the people in our many small groups are close to the customer, are more sensitive to their needs, and are more able to respond to those needs'. The role of keeping the customer satisfied and happy is not just the role of marketing people. Employees work together to develop a system of functional plans and then use cross-border co-ordination to accomplish the company's overall objectives. Furthermore, Karlsson suggests, 'We have learned that the customer focus programme reduces the optimal size of an operation (that is, improves efficieney). It ensures that the customer is better served and brings us closer to the ultimate goal of partnering (that is, long-term relationships).'0

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Responses

  • Lassi
    Why should all department "think consumer"?
    6 years ago
  • tuomo
    What are the conflicts of different departments in marketing?
    6 years ago
  • JILL CARILLO
    How the conflict between depatments can affect customer satisfaction?
    6 years ago
  • malka
    How conflict between departments affects customer satisfaction?
    6 years ago

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