Advantages of Collaboration

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How does one successfully obtain assistance from individuals in other departments within the same company? It is important for departments to collaborate. Departments collaborate in both formal and informal settings. In this study it was established that companies continually trade off product quality, speed of delivery, and its associated costs to the provider and customer. The collaboration method of choice depends on the issue to resolve and the duration of the project at hand. The reasons why departments impede knowledge sharing were reviewed. Ways to encourage collaboration were addressed. A specific example using the Material Management and Accounting System as a way that information is shared across departments was explored to show the necessity of sharing information amongst departments.

Interdepartmental Collaboration

Organizations are under increasing pressure to collaborate in order to improve performance. While collaboration is a popular, seemingly uncontroversial concept it often is difficult to implement. How does one successfully collaborate with individuals in other departments within the same organization? While collaboration is critical between individuals working within an organization it is especially complicated when the organization is geographically dispersed across sites within a single city, or across numerous states or countries. Let's look at what industry and a researcher say about interdepartmental collaboration. Jason Compton wrote in Customer Relationship Management CRM Magazine, "Without collaboration across departments, and the ability to cross stovepipes with customer information, a successful CRM strategy is impossible," says Liz Shahnam, a vice president at Meta Group Inc. "Many of the failure rates that have been quoted in the media are really not a failure of CRM technology or even CRM projects, it's a failure of the organization to communicate effectively across the enterprise." To survive in an increasingly competitive business environment, enterprises must collaborate effectively and coordinate customer processes across as many functions and business processes as possible, analysts and industry executives say" (Shahnam as stated in Compton, 2002, 1). Additionally Luo stated in his article on Cross-Functional Coopetition that, "Scholars in marketing and strategic management argue that knowledge transfer across functional boundaries is critical for numerous outcomes, including new product success, organizational learning and overall firm performance" (Luo, Slotegraaf, & Pan, 2006, 67). Before knowledge can play a critical role the firm's market knowledge must be transferred or disseminated across departments (Luo, Slotegraaf, & Pan, 2006, 67). This transfer of knowledge across functional boundaries can be rather difficult and complicated (Luo et al.). Ways to Collaborate

There are a finite number of ways to collaborate. These include from the most formal to the least formal way via data input to established systems and processes, such as Material Management and Accounting System (MMAS) which will be discussed later; writing in the form of contracts, letters and email; and through discussion face-to-face in both group and individual settings. The way one chooses to collaborate depends on the duration of the project at hand. We continually trade off product quality, speed of delivery, and its associated costs to the provider and customer. The collaboration method of choice then depends on the issue to resolve. If the issue is a one time or ad hoc request then using an informal method is perhaps the media of choice. Collaboration takes time and with good informal networks in place the informal network can be much quicker to respond than taking time to receive a formal response. On the other hand, when attempting to answer questions that will be answered repeatedly it is beneficial to build an infrastructure in the form of a system to...
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