silo [in business jargon]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Liliblue, Oct 26, 2008.

  1. Liliblue New Member

    French, English & Spanish
    I would like an english definition of the word silo in abusiness context. Here is the original sentence:

    "His aim is to have people work across many silos and experience a variety of specific jobs needed to creat a truly integrated supply chain."

    Any help is welcome :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2008
     
  2. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    Hi, Liliblue, and welcome to the forum. It's good to have you with us.

    I wish I could answer your question. You know what a silo is, because the word is used in French too. It sounds as though it means a business environment, here, but I've never come across the word to mean that.
     
  3. Liliblue New Member

    French, English & Spanish
    Thank you for your welcomeThomas. I tried to look for a "silo" translation in French and discovered that it was also used in french but the signification is still not adapted to my sentenceand its context...

    Thank you for your interest anyway :)
     
  4. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    Maybe it just means a large industrial plant. Is there any indication what line of business we are dealing with?
     
  5. Liliblue New Member

    French, English & Spanish
    it's about Leadership and mentoring programs.
    The paragraph says
    " A phrase mentors in the company use is that employee should look left and right when selecting a career path, meaning they should get out of their comfort zone and look around for all types of opportunities. Basic to the Integrated Supply Chain Division is to have people work across many silos and experience a variety of specific jobs needed to creat a truly integrated supply chain."

    Is this helping?
     
  6. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    The term has been adapted (commandeered) from the free-standing grain silos down on the farm.

    The idea is that each department in an organization -- sales, design, manufacturing, customer service, order fulfillment, technical support, etc. -- is an independent vertical structure that is self-contained and independent from the others. You work in your own silo, communicate with people inside the silo (there are no windows, so you don’t even see anyone else), and have as little contact as possible with people in other silos.

    A more efficient organization connects those silos (departments) laterally into a cohesive structure in which people know the function, contribution and importance of all the other silos and the people working in them.
     
  7. Liliblue New Member

    French, English & Spanish
    I guess i know what you mean copyright... Can i just put the definition this way: "departments set without connection but working in a same aim" ot should i use your explanation "independent vertical structure that is self-contained and independent from the others" ?
     
  8. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    It depends on your audience... if they're business people familiar with jargon, then they'll know what it is. If you like the concept -- it is rather descriptive, once it's described -- then you can use the term and define it in one smooth motion, informing some of the people, and connecting with others who are familiar with the term.

    Thinking about it, I suppose I would go with this one-two punch if you like the word/concept and think it's useful. I just wouldn't repeat it a lot... one good use and a stylish explanation should satisfy everyone.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2008
  9. Liliblue New Member

    French, English & Spanish
    This is for my teacher who will easily understand since i am studying in a business school ;)
    I will then put it this way, no need for further explanations...i had to look for 80 words, give their definition and an example...i think i've spend enough time on one word!!
    Thank you for helping me to sort it out :)
     
  10. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    This source says that it's a pejorative expression for an element in a business structure which has developed independence to the point of being unable to communicate helpfully with other parts of the organisation.

    P.S. I think the implication may be that what information goes in doesn't come out.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2010
  11. QuimLopez New Member

    Castellano, España
    Hi,

    It make sense, I have this text:

    "Through our monthly business reviews, shared services where practical and by GLT
    regular communications I believe we can mitigate the risk of creating silos that
    would adversely impact our success"


    By the negative sense it has it is clear that there is an intention of avoiding a "business ghetto".
     
  12. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    I heard this on BBC radio (Radio 4's Today programme) this morning. It was in a business discussion and I'm pretty sure that 95%+ of listeners wouldn't have understood it.

    I've also seen it described as the "Greek-temple" style of management. This was the prevalent system in the British Civil Service. A triangle (= political control) stands on top of vertical columns that are separate and independent, with no communication between them (= the government departments). At the base there is a common foundation that supports the whole (= unskilled clerks, cleaners, drivers etc.).

    Before long it usually becomes apparent that this is inefficient, and inter-departmental lines of communication are introduced.
     

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