The Difference Between CRM & SCM

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Supply chain management centers on core partnerships with a few trusted suppliers.
Supply chain management centers on core partnerships with a few trusted suppliers. (Image: simonkr/iStock/Getty Images)

Customer relationship management, or CRM, and supply chain management, or SCM, are both software-driven business systems. The primary distinction is that CRM is a marketing process, whereas SCM is a distribution process. With both systems, companies rely on software to facilitate more effective and efficient business activities and gather information to make forecasts.

CRM Basics

CRM is the use of database software to collect, analyze and interpret customer data. The goal is to have more targeted marketing, sales and service activities to enhance loyal relationships with core customers and to drive more revenue and profit in the long run. While many employees might participate in a CRM system, it is overseen by the marketing department.

SCM Basics

SCM is the use of software to manage automated transportation and logistics with suppliers or buyers. A business that uses SCM syncs its inventory software programs to suppliers to allow for rapid replenishment of inventory when goods get low. The goal is to have more trusting, efficient supply chain relationships to minimize distribution costs and optimize revenue.

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