Jan 10, 2011
Do you know that this is the most frequently searched Google phrase that drives people to my site (and I’m sure very many other sites in this space as well)? Ah, this is easy enough to answer and so I posed the question to myself : What exactly is the Supply Chain?
I must confess that I really couldn’t come up with an answer that didn’t suffer from some rebuttal or the other. So I pose it to you as well – What is the Supply Chain?
Now some may hearken to the introduction that most have of the supply chain that usually have the neat diagrams that connect material flow from neat boxes of producers, intermediaries etc and information flow in the reverse direction. But is that what it is? In the sense, does the activity of material and information flow define Supply Chain Management? In other words, is Supply Chain Management just an activity descriptor?
Well, if it is not just an activity descriptor – then you can safely put away transportation, warehouse and all sorts of other management. Inventory Management?
So let’s move up that chain to see whether it is about the customer? Forecasting? S&OP? In other words, is it about getting an analytical feel for the way demand is going to be or a structured process about marshalling a firm’s resources and fulfilling that demand whatever that might be? Again, how is this different from some definite activity?
Alright, maybe it is not one activity but a rhythm of many activities that must be more or less in harmony. So how is that different from just Operations Management with a new focus on getting all the links functioning together?
You see where I’m going…
Perhaps we take the easy route and point to an activity (or activities) or point to a piece of software (ERP, MRP, SCM, TMS, WMS etc)?
If someone came to you and asked you – “What is Supply Chain Management?” , what would you say?
Now, that’s a proper way to start the year off!!