Supply Chain Management

Product and Service Differentiation

Supply chain management is an indispensable component for organizations in managing the supply of their products into the market, starting from the industry to the final consumer. This is the case with pharmaceutical firms.

A firm needs to competitively stay in the market ahead of others by creating competitive strategies and aligning them with organizational goals, objectives, and vision. This is particularly the case with pharmaceutical firms where prices of medicines are tightly controlled by the government.

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For a firm to create competitive advantage over its rivals, strategic approaches incorporated in the pursuit of its goals include product and service differentiation. Clever company executives realize that there are no controls over these areas and endeavor to strategically exploit them to the competitive advantage of a firm. To aggressively and innovatively pursue a firm’s strategic goal and remain competitive, a firm incorporates several approaches discussed below.

Increasing the Product Range

Sustainable profits, a wide market, strong market position, and a strong image are core elements company executives innovatively factor into a firm’s pursuit of its strategic goals to competitively remain in the market. A firm may differentiate its core activities by diversifying them to gain sustainable profits. These are achieved by increasing the product range offered by a firm in addition to the sale of medicine, a core business activity. Firm managers realize that diversifying a firm’s product range increases its market base and profit generation. This has the additional effect of improving a company’s image, increasing the customer base, and advertising the name of the company.

Training Staff to Be Helpful and Knowledgeable

Customers determine the profitability of a company. A satisfied customer will always tell another customer about a service or a product. In addition to that, a satisfied customer will always go back for more. To achieve this, company executives train staff to better equip them for better service provisions and product delivery.

Staff training equips staff with appropriate work related technical skills leading to personal development. This is a motivational factor for employees and their managers. Companies however, should adopt the most cost effective training methods appropriate for employee working conditions. Specific job procedures and technical knowledge span areas companies should concentrate on in the training process. According to the Staff Training document, training strategies in the technical field can be external, internal, or online (2).

Thorough investigations about one’s job should be done by company executives before training commences. Technical trainings are at times short as the knowledge gained is exact (Staff Training, 2).

On the other hand, on-the-job procedures require an accumulation of knowledge and focuses on knowledge and skills transfer. This involves old employees taking new employees through work related procedures and activities. Thus, employees become effectively equipped with the knowledge and skills to provide better services and improve company image.

The contents and skills needed for the training should be clearly identified and defined in the process. In the process, training procedures should be identified and documented, and training approaches determined also. A staff training program should incorporate methods of delivery. These may be formal, informal, or on-line as mentioned above.

Working with Manufactures

Details such as the condition of the goods on arrival, deviations or consistency with the agreed upon price, quantity of products delivered, reliability and integrity of documentation, the delivery time, and the ability to sustain a product’s packaging are critical elements when working with manufacturers and suppliers.

The performance of a supplier can be rated on the technical skills of its employees, management competency, management approaches to enforcing controls, ability to consistently supply the required products, its financial stability, and its strategic abilities in terms of its capital needs. Supplier reliability is influenced by

the attention performance appraisal staff gets from the supplier firms, individual attitudes, maintenance levels of manufacturing equipments, quality control enforcement mechanisms, effective housekeeping, and the level of technical expertise of the supplying firm.

This ensures inventory control and reliable and sustainable stock levels. This leads to customer satisfaction and places a firm at a competitive advantage over its rivals.

Value Addition Services

Any firm on the fringes of success must factor value addition services to its products and service delivery. This is not the core business of a firm, but is a promoting strategy for increased consumer spending on a product or service.

A firm may strategize on a cost effective approach in offering value addition to its customers. These services can be outsourced or developed in-house. Value added services may add additional costs to a company but the benefits out weigh incurred costs.

Some of the benefits include customer satisfaction, better ratings, increased consumption of its products and services, better responses to customer concerns, better analysis of customer behavior, more information on product innovation in line with customer needs and wants, and better customer involvement in product innovations.

Advertising

To persuade the market and gain a bigger share and maintain a strong position, pharmaceutical firms have to continuously advertise the range of their products to the consumer. Consumers well equipped with appropriate knowledge about current company products are likely to develop positive minds in their buying process. Besides advertising their products, firms include their names in adverts to create a good image about them and their products. Advertising targets various groups of consumers.

These include individuals, various governmental and non-governmental organizations, and other groups of interest. Advertising should target each group’s needs and the best products and strategy to satisfy their needs and wants. In addition to that, advertising should be environmentally friendly and should generate feelings about environmental conservation and preservation.

This generates increased product consumption, increased confidence, and better branding. Different media can be used to reach various audiences. These include the internet and radio among others. Sales promotions, marketing mix, and other advertising strategies competitively place a firm ahead of its rivals.

The marketing concept of product, place, price, and promotion should be vital in the marketing strategy. The product element spans packaging, product warranties, product quality, and safety. Price spans discounts, skimming and other strategies, flexibility in pricing, and seasonal discounts. Place spans market size, distribution channels, warehousing, and inventory controls. Promotion includes public relations, the communication budget, and the push and pulls approaches in marketing among other elements (Marketing 1).

Automated Dispensing System

One strategic advantage of a firm is to incorporate an automatic dispensing system in its products and services delivery. This technology facilitates service and product delivery. Employees incorporate their skills in the use of this facility in enhancing and improving productivity in the workplace. The resulting benefits span employee, customer, and management satisfaction and work level productivity.

Works Cited

Marketing. Internet Center for Management and Business Administration, Inc. 2002-2010. 14 Aug. 2010.
http://www.netmba.com/marketing/mix/ 2002-2010. website NetMBA.com

Staff Training. Preliminary Strategies. 14 Aug.2010.
http://www.usu.edu/teachall/text/behavior/LRBIpdfs/Straining.pdf

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