Share on:

What is alignment? Why does it matter? And how can you create supply chain alignment in a company where functional silos are strong? Inchainge has long occupied itself with these questions and attempts to break down functional silos and align the complete value chain.

What is alignment in Value Chain Management?

We all know that for organizations to be successful they need to be aligned, ideally both in a vertical as in a horizontal sense. Vertical alignment exists when everybody from the CEO to the janitor knows, understands and executes the mission of the organization. Horizontal alignment happens when different functional departments are working for the same common goal.

Alignment issues

Perhaps the biggest challenge of all is that people tend to focus only on their area to the exclusion of others. That self-centered approach can hamper overall success. Not only human tendencies can get in the way of alignment. Because of how organizations are structured, a majority of the employees are often too distant or completely removed from the ultimate goal and mission of the company.

Like a game of telephone, organizational goals cascade from the top of an organization to the bottom. Therefore, the goal often gets lost in translation. This can set the organization back big time. Talented workers that were hired to move company goals forward, may end up wasting their contributions on tasks unrelated to the company strategy. Another effect can be that workers simply do not see how their efforts contribute. As a result, they can become disengaged or even leave. These examples of misalignment can obviously make a huge impact on your bottom line.

Learn about alignment while experiencing it

To truly learn how powerful alignment can be, or the lack thereof can be, one needs to experience it. The reason for this is that a key element of alignment is that it hinges on collaboration and communication.

In Inchainge’s business game simulations, participants form a management team. Each participant heads a department, e.g. sales, finance, or supply chain. In order to be successful, the team needs to put a strategy in place. Subsequently, the team needs to derive departmental decisions from it. That is how they can take care of being vertically aligned. At the same time, the team needs to be mindful of trade-offs that exist within and between their departments. Sometimes suboptimal decisions in one or more department lead to a better overall team result, which signals horizontal alignment.

KPI’s and alignment

Last but not least, business outcomes are measured and followed by KPIs. These KPIs can be selected by the team members. Some KPIs are reflecting the performance of one department, hence put a focus on one's own department only. Other KPIs demonstrate the performance of multiple departments, or even the whole team. In this way, they further alignment.

Becoming aligned is something that one person cannot do on his or her own. It happens with colleagues, between departments and so on. Reading a book about it or attend a lecture will simply not suffice. Experiential learning cannot be missed while learning about alignment.

Want to know more?

Now you know everything about alignment and how Inchainge’s business simulation games can provide you a way to experience and learn about alignment. Do you want to experience alignment by participating in the business simulation games of Inchainge?