Cross-functional alignment in supply chain planning: A case study of sales and operations planning
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In most organizations, supply chain planning is a cross-functional effort. However, functional areas such as sales, marketing, finance, and operations traditionally specialize in portions of the planning activities, which results in conflicts over expectations, preferences, and priorities. We report findings from a detailed case analysis of a supply chain planning process that seemingly weathers these cross-functional conflicts. In contrast to traditional research on this area, which focuses on incentives, responsibilities, and structures, we adopt a process perspective and find that integration was achieved despite formal functional incentives that did not support it. By drawing a distinction between the incentive landscape and the planning process, we identify process as a mediator that can affect organizational outcomes. Thus, organizations may be capable of integration while functions retain different incentives and orientations to maintain focus on their stakeholders' needs. Through iterative coding, we identify the attributes of the planning process that can drive planning performance - information, procedural, and alignment quality - but also find evidence that achieving alignment in the execution of plans can be more important than informational and procedural quality. In addition to process attributes, we also identify social elements that influenced the performance of the planning process and place the information processing attributes within a broader social and organizational context. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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