Leadership, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability, Part 3: Strategy Focus

Early corporate citizenship initiatives were often directed at supporting commu­nity causes ranging from charitable organizations to cultural institutions like municipal symphonies and operas. Companies have been historically helpful in developing the cultural infrastructure of many communities. Whether these cor­porate philanthropy efforts were beneficial to the company or only to selected individuals is very subjective. However, many of these early efforts were not scrutinized for their contribution to the strategic objectives of the firm. Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer have argued that a company needs to choose its social initiatives strategically. They have advanced the concept of shared value, which they define as “policies and operating practices that enhance the competi­tiveness of a company while simultaneously advancing the economic and social conditions in the communities in which it operates. Shared value creation focuses on identifying and expanding the connections between societal and eco­nomic programs.”

Porter and Kramer identify three approaches that apply to international marketers:

(1) delivering attractive products that are truly beneficial to society; (2) removing problems in the supply chain that are both costly and socially detrimental, such as reducing. greenhouse gasses; and (3) enabling local cluster development to help communities become more competitive.

They argue that “we need a more sophisticated form of capitalism, one imbued with a social purpose. But that purpose should arise not out of charity but out of a deeper understanding of competition and economic value creation.” The best interna­tional marketers are driven by the desire to create value and improve their com­petitive positions, so shared value becomes the right and smart thing to do.

International Logistics, Part 1: Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management encompasses the planning and mangement of all activities involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion, and logistics. It also includes coordination and collaboration with channel partners, which can be suppliers, intermediaries, third party serivice providers, and customers. In essence, supply chain management integrates supply and demand management within and across companies.

Advances in information technology have been crucial to progress in supply chain management. Consider the example of Gestamp (Spain’s leading supplier of metal components for car manufacturers), which used electronic data interchange technology to many reports increased manufacturing productivity, reduced investment needs, increased efficiency of the billing process, and led to a lower rate of logistic errors across the supply process after implementing a supply chain system. Globalization has opened up supplier’s ability to provide satisfying goods and services will play the most critical role in securing long-term contracts. In addition, the physical delivery of goods often can be old-fashioned and slow. Nevertheless, the use of such strategic tools will be crucial for international managers to develop and maintain key competitive advantages. An overview of the international supply chain is shown below:

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