By David Frederick Ross (auth.)

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At the core of stage 4 organizations is a new view of logistics. Prior stages regarded logistics as a neutral force in the pursuit of competitive advantage. In contrast, stage 4 distributors see the enterprise as competing through logistics, rather than considering it as being purely internally supportive of marketing and sales. This can be achieved by the development of enterprise strategies that emphasize logistics-based competitive advantage achieved by the following: 1. The continuous search for new management practices and technologies that enable the firm to realize order-of-magnitude breakthroughs in delivery, customer service, cost management, and value-added services before the competition.

Production and Inventory Management Journal 22-23 (Second Quarter, 1991). 22. Charles M. Savage, Fifth Generation Management. Burlington, MA: Digital Press, 1990, pp. 152-156. 23. Richard J. Schonberger, Building a Chain of Customers. New York: The Free Press, 1990, p. 90. 24. Christopher Gopal and Harold Cypress, Integrated Distribution Management. Homewood, IL: Business One Irwin, 1993, pp. 136-137. 25. Richard J. Schonberger, Building a Chain of Customers. New York: The Free Press, 1990, pp.

As was pointed out earlier, the organizations and cultures of stage 2 and stage 3 distributors are characterized by hierarchial structures, the fragmentation of effort and authority, and narrow departmental performance measurements. Structurally, if distributors are to leverage the capabilities of their organizations, they must be prepared to effect four broad changes. To begin with, the requirements of ElM demand that the enterprise be able to continuously adapt to new organizational designs, new channels of information transfer, and different distributions of authority.

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