How to Deal with Conflicts Between Marketing and Operations

Value Chain (Porter)
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Paula Kokare
Project Manager, Switzerland

How to Deal with Conflicts Between Marketing and Operations

Shapiro recognized several reasons for the conflicts between marketing and operations teams:
  • CAPACITY MANAGEMENT AND LONG-TERM SALES PROJECTIONS: Operations teams are constrained in their ability to flexibly adjust the (long-term) manufacturing planning to short term changes in demand factors and marketing forecasts. Short term changes in the physical delivery of goods promised by the marketing team come at the expense of the organization as a whole.
  • PRODUCTION SCHEDULING AND SHORT-TERM SALES PROJECTIONS: As marketing is not directly involved in developing production plans, due to their close interaction with customers it is a challenge for marketing to develop precise forecasts.
  • DELIVERY AND PHYSICAL DISTRIBUTION: It is also a challenge for the operations team to ensure alignment between the sales / marketing forecasts and inventory availability. Ensuring the maximum quality while producing a large variety of goods in a limited amount of time is difficult. As a result of time constraints, quality issues resulting from systems errors get fixed at a later stage of the product development and delivery process instead of being repaired at the source. This leads to repeat errors and lost time.
  • ENSURING QUALITY: From an operations point of view increased variety in operating systems leads to increased inventories; more frequent and costly set ups; increases in processing and distribution requirements; higher costs. These result in higher probability of errors and customer disappointments. However, resistance from the operations team to produce large varieties of goods is often regarded as a source of lost sales volumes by marketing teams.
  • BREADTH OF PRODUCT LINE: Marketers like a broad product line while manufacturers want a uniform product line.
  • COST CONTROL: Marketing and operations teams have different perspectives on the cost base of production. From a marketing perspective, costs are perceived as a constraint to offer the best prices to company’s customers. From the operations point of view, higher costs are a result of marketing’s irrational promises to customers to deliver a broad variety of goods, fast delivery times, superior quality and new products.
  • INTRODUCTION OF NEW PRODUCTS: From a manufacturing point of view, pushes for continuous new product developments and quality improvements require new systems and processes, new skills and personnel to operate these processes. From a marketing perspective, new products are necessary for business growth. However, the demands from marketing put large pressures on the manufacturing and are therefore often regarded as 'unreasonable' by operations teams.
  • ADJUNCT SERVICES: Services like installation, field service or repair are perceived differently by marketing and manufacturing too.
⇒ How can one resolve this dilemma between the legitimate interests of sales/marketing and operations/manufacturing? Thanks for sharing your experiences…
Shapiro, B.P. (1977), "Can Marketing and Manufacturing Coexist?", Harvard Business Review, 55, 5, pp. 104-114


C.L. Kappagomtula
Professor, Malaysia

Agile Manufacturing is the Key to All the Shortcomings Brought out by Shapiro

Marketing, Finance and Operations are the triumvirate in the operations management. Each one has to ... Sign up

Vivek Hattangadi
Management Consultant, India

Conflicts Between Marketing and Operations

@C.L. Kappagomtula: A well-balanced response so beautifully articulated. You have given a very clea... Sign up

Javier Elenes
Business Consultant, Mexico

There is not a A Valid Reason for a Conflict IF Both Work in a Company Fully Oriented to the Market

In a company oriented to the market, OPERATIONS reduces cycle times in order to have the ability for... Sign up

Y Srinivas Rao
Manager, India

Sales versus Factory

Well said the theoretical part of it. But most fights are EGO CLASHES. In third world countries most... Sign up

Paramathmuni srinivas Kumar

Collaboration Comes to Rescue

Probably collaboration among different entities in the organization and LISTENING to the other's vie... Sign up

Carl-Henric Nilsson
Professor, Sweden

Processes Instead of Functions

I have worked with operations management as a researcher as well as a consultant. I found PROCESS-OR... Sign up

Stephen lane
Director, United Kingdom

Market Orientation

If marketing and operations' OBJECTIVES are properly aligned then there is no reason why they cannot... Sign up

Omondi, Kenya

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jorge anibal hoyos hoyos
Manager, Colombia

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Dr. Vishal Dilip Chavan
Professor, India

Leadership with Vision Helps to Diminish the Conflict

Visionary leadership is very important to deal with dynamic and versatile culture. If the leader is ... Sign up

edward sevume

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I have dealt with this problem one time and what I discovered then was the problem of business misal... Sign up

Sabine Pitcher
Manager, United Kingdom

And Coexistence Isn't Even Enough

That article was almost a light bulb moment. It explains sooo many of my daily struggles. (I'm not M... Sign up

Paula Kokare
Project Manager, Switzerland

Shapiro's Guidance to Avoid Conflicts Between Marketing and Operations

Thank you all for your valuable contributions and interesting posts! As already recognized by many ... Sign up

Kurt Ludikovsky
Consultant, Austria

Third Element: SALES

Interesting discussion. First of all I think a main point is the type of operation, e.g. mass produc... Sign up


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