In commerce, supply chain management (SCM), the management of the flow of goods and services, involves the movement and storage of raw materials, of work-in-process inventory, and of finished goods from point of origin to point of consumption. Interconnected or interlinked networks, channels and node businesses combine in the provision of products and services required by end customers in a supply chain. Supply-chain management has been defined as the "design, planning, execution, control, and monitoring of supply chain activities with the objective of creating net value, building a competitive infrastructure, leveraging worldwide logistics, synchronizing supply with demand and measuring performance globally."
- Origin of the term and definitions
- Historical developments
- Creation era
- Integration era
- Globalization era
- Specialization era phase I outsourced manufacturing and distribution
- Specialization era phase II supply chain management as a service
- Supply chain management 20 SCM 20
- Business process integration
- Supply chain
- Tax efficient supply chain management
- Sustainability and social responsibility in supply chains
- Management components
- Reverse supply chain
- Systems and value
- Global applications
- Supply chain consulting
- Skills and competencies
- Roles and responsibilities
- University Rankings
SCM practice draws heavily from the areas of industrial engineering, systems engineering, operations management, logistics, procurement, information technology, and marketing and strives for an integrated approach. Marketing channels play an important role in supply chain management
Origin of the term and definitions
The term "supply chain management" entered the public domain when Keith Oliver, a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton (now Strategy&), used it in an interview for the Financial Times in 1982. The term was slow to take hold. It gained currency in the mid-1990s, when a flurry of articles and books came out on the subject. One of the first to formally define supply chains as encompassing all activities associated with the flow and transformation of goods from raw materials through to the end user, as well as the associated information flows. Supply chain management was thus defined as the integration of these activities through improved supply chain relationships to achieve a competitive advantage. In the late 1990s it rose to prominence as a management buzzword, and operations managers began to use it in their titles with increasing regularity.
Other commonly accepted definitions of supply chain management include:
A supply chain, as opposed to supply chain management, is a set of organizations directly linked by one or more upstream and downstream flows of products, services, finances, or information from a source to a customer. Supply chain management is the management of such a chain.
Supply chain management software includes tools or modules used to execute supply chain transactions, manage supplier relationships, and control associated business processes.
Supply chain event management (SCEM) considers all possible events and factors that can disrupt a supply chain. With SCEM, possible scenarios can be created and solutions devised.
In many cases the supply chain includes the collection of goods after consumer use for recycling. Including third-party logistics or other gathering agencies as part of the RM re-patriation process is a way of illustrating the new endgame strategy.
Supply chain management is a cross-functional approach that includes managing the movement of raw materials into an organization, certain aspects of the internal processing of materials into finished goods, and the movement of finished goods out of the organization and toward the end consumer. As organizations strive to focus on core competencies and become more flexible, they reduce their ownership of raw materials sources and distribution channels. These functions are increasingly being outsourced to other firms that can perform the activities better or more cost effectively. The effect is to increase the number of organizations involved in satisfying customer demand, while reducing managerial control of daily logistics operations. Less control and more supply chain partners lead to the creation of the concept of supply chain management. The purpose of supply chain management is to improve trust and collaboration among supply chain partners, thus improving inventory visibility and the velocity of inventory movement.
Organizations increasingly find that they must rely on effective supply chains, or networks, to compete in the global market and networked economy. In Peter Drucker's (1998) new management paradigms, this concept of business relationships extends beyond traditional enterprise boundaries and seeks to organize entire business processes throughout a value chain of multiple companies.
In recent decades, globalization, outsourcing, and information technology have enabled many organizations, such as Dell and Hewlett Packard, to successfully operate collaborative supply networks in which each specialized business partner focuses on only a few key strategic activities (Scott, 1993). This inter-organisational supply network can be acknowledged as a new form of organisation. However, with the complicated interactions among the players, the network structure fits neither "market" nor "hierarchy" categories (Powell, 1990). It is not clear what kind of performance impacts different supply network structures could have on firms, and little is known about the coordination conditions and trade-offs that may exist among the players. From a systems perspective, a complex network structure can be decomposed into individual component firms (Zhang and Dilts, 2004). Traditionally, companies in a supply network concentrate on the inputs and outputs of the processes, with little concern for the internal management working of other individual players. Therefore, the choice of an internal management control structure is known to impact local firm performance (Mintzberg, 1979).
In the 21st century, changes in the business environment have contributed to the development of supply chain networks. First, as an outcome of globalization and the proliferation of multinational companies, joint ventures, strategic alliances, and business partnerships, significant success factors were identified, complementing the earlier "just-in-time", lean manufacturing, and agile manufacturing practices. Second, technological changes, particularly the dramatic fall in communication costs (a significant component of transaction costs), have led to changes in coordination among the members of the supply chain network (Coase, 1998).
Many researchers have recognized supply network structures as a new organisational form, using terms such as "Keiretsu", "Extended Enterprise", "Virtual Corporation", "Global Production Network", and "Next Generation Manufacturing System". In general, such a structure can be defined as "a group of semi-independent organisations, each with their capabilities, which collaborate in ever-changing constellations to serve one or more markets in order to achieve some business goal specific to that collaboration" (Akkermans, 2001).
Supply chain management is also important for organizational learning. Firms with geographically more extensive supply chains connecting diverse trading cliques tend to become more innovative and productive.
The security management system for supply chains is described in ISO/IEC 28000 and ISO/IEC 28001 and related standards published jointly by the ISO and the IEC.Supply Chain Management draws heavily from the areas of operations management, logistics, procurement, and information technology, and strives for an integrated approach.
Six major movements can be observed in the evolution of supply chain management studies: creation, integration, and globalization (Movahedi et al., 2009), specialization phases one and two, and SCM 2.0.
The term "supply chain management" was first coined by Keith Oliver in 1982. However, the concept of a supply chain in management was of great importance long before, in the early 20th century, especially with the creation of the assembly line. The characteristics of this era of supply chain management include the need for large-scale changes, re-engineering, downsizing driven by cost reduction programs, and widespread attention to Japanese management practices. However, the term became widely adopted after the publication of the seminal book Introduction to Supply Chain Management in 1999 by Robert B. Handfield and Ernest L. Nichols, Jr., which published over 25,000 copies and was translated into Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Russian.
This era of supply chain management studies was highlighted with the development of electronic data interchange (EDI) systems in the 1960s, and developed through the 1990s by the introduction of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. This era has continued to develop into the 21st century with the expansion of Internet-based collaborative systems. This era of supply chain evolution is characterized by both increasing value added and cost reductions through integration.
A supply chain can be classified as a stage 1, 2 or 3 network. In a stage 1–type supply chain, systems such as production, storage, distribution, and material control are not linked and are independent of each other. In a stage 2 supply chain, these are integrated under one plan and is ERP enabled. A stage 3 supply chain is one that achieves vertical integration with upstream suppliers and downstream customers. An example of this kind of supply chain is Tesco.
The third movement of supply chain management development, the globalization era, can be characterized by the attention given to global systems of supplier relationships and the expansion of supply chains beyond national boundaries and into other continents. Although the use of global sources in organisations' supply chains can be traced back several decades (e.g., in the oil industry), it was not until the late 1980s that a considerable number of organizations started to integrate global sources into their core business. This era is characterized by the globalization of supply chain management in organizations with the goal of increasing their competitive advantage, adding value, and reducing costs through global sourcing.
Specialization era (phase I): outsourced manufacturing and distribution
In the 1990s, companies began to focus on "core competencies" and specialization. They abandoned vertical integration, sold off non-core operations, and outsourced those functions to other companies. This changed management requirements, by extending the supply chain beyond the company walls and distributing management across specialized supply chain partnerships.
This transition also refocused the fundamental perspectives of each organization. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) became brand owners that required visibility deep into their supply base. They had to control the entire supply chain from above, instead of from within. Contract manufacturers had to manage bills of material with different part-numbering schemes from multiple OEMs and support customer requests for work-in-process visibility and vendor-managed inventory (VMI).
The specialization model creates manufacturing and distribution networks composed of several individual supply chains specific to producers, suppliers, and customers that work together to design, manufacture, distribute, market, sell, and service a product. This set of partners may change according to a given market, region, or channel, resulting in a proliferation of trading partner environments, each with its own unique characteristics and demands.
Specialization era (phase II): supply chain management as a service
Specialization within the supply chain began in the 1980s with the inception of transportation brokerages, warehouse management (storage and inventory), and non-asset-based carriers, and has matured beyond transportation and logistics into aspects of supply planning, collaboration, execution, and performance management.
Market forces sometimes demand rapid changes from suppliers, logistics providers, locations, or customers in their role as components of supply chain networks. This variability has significant effects on supply chain infrastructure, from the foundation layers of establishing and managing electronic communication between trading partners, to more complex requirements such as the configuration of processes and work flows that are essential to the management of the network itself.
Supply chain specialization enables companies to improve their overall competencies in the same way that outsourced manufacturing and distribution has done; it allows them to focus on their core competencies and assemble networks of specific, best-in-class partners to contribute to the overall value chain itself, thereby increasing overall performance and efficiency. The ability to quickly obtain and deploy this domain-specific supply chain expertise without developing and maintaining an entirely unique and complex competency in house is a leading reason why supply chain specialization is gaining popularity.
Outsourced technology hosting for supply chain solutions debuted in the late 1990s and has taken root primarily in transportation and collaboration categories. This has progressed from the application service provider (ASP) model from roughly 1998 through 2003, to the on-demand model from approximately 2003 through 2006, to the software as a service (SaaS) model currently in focus today.
Supply chain management 2.0 (SCM 2.0)
Building on globalization and specialization, the term "SCM 2.0" has been coined to describe both changes within supply chains themselves as well as the evolution of processes, methods, and tools to manage them in this new "era". The growing popularity of collaborative platforms is highlighted by the rise of TradeCard's supply chain collaboration platform, which connects multiple buyers and suppliers with financial institutions, enabling them to conduct automated supply-chain finance transactions.
Web 2.0 is a trend in the use of the World Wide Web that is meant to increase creativity, information sharing, and collaboration among users. At its core, the common attribute of Web 2.0 is to help navigate the vast information available on the Web in order to find what is being bought. It is the notion of a usable pathway. SCM 2.0 replicates this notion in supply chain operations. It is the pathway to SCM results, a combination of processes, methodologies, tools, and delivery options to guide companies to their results quickly as the complexity and speed of the supply chain increase due to global competition; rapid price fluctuations; changing oil prices; short product life cycles; expanded specialization; near-, far-, and off-shoring; and talent scarcity.
SCM 2.0 leverages solutions designed to rapidly deliver results with the agility to quickly manage future change for continuous flexibility, value, and success. This is delivered through competency networks composed of best-of-breed supply chain expertise to understand which elements, both operationally and organizationally, deliver results, as well as through intimate understanding of how to manage these elements to achieve the desired results. The solutions are delivered in a variety of options, such as no-touch via business process outsourcing, mid-touch via managed services and software as a service (SaaS), or high-touch in the traditional software deployment model.
Business process integration
Successful SCM requires a change from managing individual functions to integrating activities into key supply chain processes. In an example scenario, a purchasing department places orders as its requirements become known. The marketing department, responding to customer demand, communicates with several distributors and retailers as it attempts to determine ways to satisfy this demand. Information shared between supply chain partners can only be fully leveraged through process integration.
Supply chain business process integration involves collaborative work between buyers and suppliers, joint product development, common systems, and shared information. According to Lambert and Cooper (2000), operating an integrated supply chain requires a continuous information flow. However, in many companies, management has concluded that optimizing product flows cannot be accomplished without implementing a process approach. The key supply chain processes stated by Lambert (2004) are:
Much has been written about demand management. Best-in-class companies have similar characteristics, which include the following:
One could suggest other critical supply business processes that combine these processes stated by Lambert, such as:
- coordinate with customer relationship management to identify customer-articulated needs;
- select materials and suppliers in conjunction with procurement; and
- develop production technology in manufacturing flow to manufacture and integrate into the best supply chain flow for the given combination of product and markets.
Integration of suppliers into the new product development process was shown to have a major impact on product target cost, quality, delivery, and market share. Tapping into suppliers as a source of innovation requires an extensive process characterized by development of technology sharing, but also involves managing intellectual property issues.
There are gaps in the literature on supply chain management studies at present (2015): there is no theoretical support for explaining the existence or the boundaries of supply chain management. A few authors, such as Halldorsson et al. (2003), Ketchen and Hult (2006), and Lavassani et al. (2009), have tried to provide theoretical foundations for different areas related to supply chain by employing organizational theories, which may include the following:
However, the unit of analysis of most of these theories is not the supply chain but rather another system, such as the firm or the supplier-buyer relationship. Among the few exceptions is the relational view, which outlines a theory for considering dyads and networks of firms as a key unit of analysis for explaining superior individual firm performance (Dyer and Singh, 1998).
In the study of supply chain management, the concept of centroids has become an important economic consideration. A centroid is a location that has a high proportion of a country's population and a high proportion of its manufacturing, generally within 500 mi (805 km). In the US, two major supply chain centroids have been defined, one near Dayton, Ohio, and a second near Riverside, California.
The centroid near Dayton is particularly important because it is closest to the population center of the US and Canada. Dayton is within 500 miles of 60% of the US population and manufacturing capacity, as well as 60% of Canada's population. The region includes the interchange between I-70 and I-75, one of the busiest in the nation, with 154,000 vehicles passing through per day, 30–35% of which are trucks hauling goods. In addition, the I-75 corridor is home to the busiest north-south rail route east of the Mississippi River.
Tax efficient supply chain management
Tax efficient supply chain management is a business model that considers the effect of tax in the design and implementation of supply chain management. As the consequence of globalization, cross-national businesses pay different tax rates in different countries. Due to these differences, they may legally optimize their supply chain and increase profits based on tax efficiency.
Sustainability and social responsibility in supply chains
Supply chain sustainability is a business issue affecting an organization's supply chain or logistics network, and is frequently quantified by comparison with SECH ratings, which uses a triple bottom line incorporating economic, social, and environmental aspects. SECH ratings are defined as social, ethical, cultural, and health' footprints. Consumers have become more aware of the environmental impact of their purchases and companies' SECH ratings and, along with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), are setting the agenda for transitions to organically grown foods, anti-sweatshop labor codes, and locally produced goods that support independent and small businesses. Because supply chains may account for over 75% of a company's carbon footprint, many organizations are exploring ways to reduce this and thus improve their SECH rating.
For example, in July 2009, Wal-Mart announced its intentions to create a global sustainability index that would rate products according to the environmental and social impacts of their manufacturing and distribution. The index is intended to create environmental accountability in Wal-Mart's supply chain and to provide motivation and infrastructure for other retail companies to do the same.
It has been reported that companies are increasingly taking environmental performance into account when selecting suppliers. A 2011 survey by the Carbon Trust found that 50% of multinationals expect to select their suppliers based upon carbon performance in the future and 29% of suppliers could lose their places on 'green supply chains' if they do not have adequate performance records on carbon.
The US Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, signed into law by President Obama in July 2010, contained a supply chain sustainability provision in the form of the Conflict Minerals law. This law requires SEC-regulated companies to conduct third party audits of their supply chains in order to determine whether any tin, tantalum, tungsten, or gold (together referred to as conflict minerals) is mined or sourced from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and create a report (available to the general public and SEC) detailing the due diligence efforts taken and the results of the audit. The chain of suppliers and vendors to these reporting companies will be expected to provide appropriate supporting information.
Incidents like the 2013 Savar building collapse with more than 1,100 victims have led to widespread discussions about corporate social responsibility across global supply chains. Wieland and Handfield (2013) suggest that companies need to audit products and suppliers and that supplier auditing needs to go beyond direct relationships with first-tier suppliers. They also demonstrate that visibility needs to be improved if supply cannot be directly controlled and that smart and electronic technologies play a key role to improve visibility. Finally, they highlight that collaboration with local partners, across the industry and with universities is crucial to successfully managing social responsibility in supply chains.
SCM components are the third element of the four-square circulation framework. The level of integration and management of a business process link is a function of the number and level of components added to the link (Ellram and Cooper, 1990; Houlihan, 1985). Consequently, adding more management components or increasing the level of each component can increase the level of integration of the business process link.
Literature on business process re-engineering buyer-supplier relationships, and SCM suggests various possible components that should receive managerial attention when managing supply relationships. Lambert and Cooper (2000) identified the following components:
However, a more careful examination of the existing literature leads to a more comprehensive understanding of what should be the key critical supply chain components, or "branches" of the previously identified supply chain business processes—that is, what kind of relationship the components may have that are related to suppliers and customers. Bowersox and Closs (1996) state that the emphasis on cooperation represents the synergism leading to the highest level of joint achievement. A primary-level channel participant is a business that is willing to participate in responsibility for inventory ownership or assume other financial risks, thus including primary level components (Bowersox and Closs, 1996). A secondary-level participant (specialized) is a business that participates in channel relationships by performing essential services for primary participants, including secondary level components, which support primary participants. Third-level channel participants and components that support primary-level channel participants and are the fundamental branches of secondary-level components may also be included.
Consequently, Lambert and Cooper's framework of supply chain components does not lead to any conclusion about what are the primary- or secondary-level (specialized) supply chain components (see Bowersox and Closs, 1996, p. 93) —that is, which supply chain components should be viewed as primary or secondary, how these components should be structured in order to achieve a more comprehensive supply chain structure, and how to examine the supply chain as an integrative one (See above sections 2.1 and 3.1).
Reverse supply chain
Reverse logistics is the process of managing the return of goods. It is also referred to as "aftermarket customer services". Any time money is taken from a company's warranty reserve or service logistics budget, one can speak of a reverse logistics operation. Reverse logistics is also the process of managing the return of goods from store, which the returned goods are sent back to warehouse and after that either warehouse scrap the goods or send them back to supplier for replacement depending on the warranty of the merchandise.
Systems and value
Supply chain systems configure value for those that organize the networks. Value is the additional revenue over and above the costs of building the network. Co-creating value and sharing the benefits appropriately to encourage effective participation is a key challenge for any supply system. Tony Hines defines value as follows: "Ultimately it is the customer who pays the price for service delivered that confirms value and not the producer who simply adds cost until that point".
Global supply chains pose challenges regarding both quantity and value. Supply and value chain trends include:
These trends have many benefits for manufacturers because they make possible larger lot sizes, lower taxes, and better environments (e.g., culture, infrastructure, special tax zones, or sophisticated OEM) for their products. There are many additional challenges when the scope of supply chains is global. This is because with a supply chain of a larger scope, the lead time is much longer, and because there are more issues involved, such as multiple currencies, policies, and laws. The consequent problems include different currencies and valuations in different countries, different tax laws, different trading protocols, and lack of transparency of cost and profit.
Supply chain consulting
Supply-chain consulting is the providing of expert knowledge in order to assess the productivity of a supply-chain and, ideally, to enhance the productivity.
Supply chain Consulting is a service involved in transfer of knowledge on how to exploit existing assets through improved coordination and can hence be a source of competitive advantage; Hereby the role of the consultant is to help management by adding value to the whole process through the various sectors from the ordering of the raw materials to the final product.
On this regard, firms either build internal teams of consultants to tackle the issue or use external ones, (companies choose between these two approaches taking into consideration various factors).
The use of external consultants is a common practice among companies. The whole consulting process generally involves the analysis of the entire supply-chain process, including the countermeasures or correctives to take to achieve a better overall performance.
Skills and competencies
Supply chain professionals need to have knowledge of managing supply chain functions such as transportation, warehousing, inventory management, and production planning. In the past, supply chain professionals emphasized logistics skills, such as knowledge of shipping routes, familiarity with warehousing equipment and distribution center locations and footprints, and a solid grasp of freight rates and fuel costs. More recently, supply chain management extends to logistical support across firms and management of global supply chains. Supply chain professionals need to have an understanding of business continuity basics and strategies.
Roles and responsibilities
Supply chain professionals play major roles in the design and management of supply chains. In the design of supply chains, they help determine whether a product or service is provided by the firm itself (insourcing) or by another firm elsewhere (outsourcing). In the management of supply chains, supply chain professionals coordinate production among multiple providers, ensuring that production and transport of goods happen with minimal quality control or inventory problems. One goal of a well-designed and maintained supply chain for a product is to successfully build the product at minimal cost. Such a supply chain could be considered a competitive advantage for a firm.
Beyond design and maintenance of a supply chain itself, supply chain professionals participate in aspects of business that have a bearing on supply chains, such as sales forecasting, quality management, strategy development, customer service, and systems analysis. Production of a good may evolve over time, rendering an existing supply chain design obsolete. Supply chain professionals need to be aware of changes in production and business climate that affect supply chains and create alternative supply chains as the need arises. Individuals working in supply chain management can attain a professional certification by passing an exam developed by a third party certification organizations. The purpose of certification is to guarantee a certain level of expertise in the field.
The knowledge needed to pass a certification exam may be gained from several sources. Some knowledge may come from college courses, but most of it is acquired from a mix of on-the-job learning experiences, attending industry events, learning best practices with their peers, and reading books and articles in the field. Certification organizations may provide certification workshops tailored to their exams. There are also free websites that provide a significant amount of educational articles, as well as blogs that are internationally recognized which provide good sources of news and updates.
The following North American universities rank high in their master's education in the SCM World University 100 ranking, which was published in 2017 and which is based on the opinions of supply chain managers: Michigan State University, Penn State University, University of Tennessee, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Arizona State University, University of Texas at Austin and Western Michigan University. In the same ranking, the following European universities rank high: Cranfield School of Management, Vlerick Business School, INSEAD, Cambridge University, Eindhoven University of Technology, London Business School and Copenhagen Business School. In the 2016 Eduniversal Best Masters Ranking Supply Chain and Logistics the following universities rank high: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, KEDGE Business School, Purdue University, Rotterdam School of Management, Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Vienna University of Economics and Business and Copenhagen Business School.
There are a number of organizations that provide certification exams, such as CSCMP (Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals), IIPMR (International Institute for Procurement and Market Research), APICS (the Association for Operations Management), ISCEA (The International Supply Chain Education Alliance) and IOSCM (Institute of Supply Chain Management). APICS' certification is called Certified Supply Chain Professional, or CSCP, and ISCEA'S certification is called the Certified Supply Chain Manager (CSCM), CISCM (Chartered Institute of Supply Chain Management) awards certificate as Chartered Supply Chain Management Professional (CSCMP). Another, the Institute for Supply Management, is developing one called the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) focused on the procurement and sourcing areas of supply chain management. The Supply Chain Management Association (SCMA) is the main certifying body for Canada with the designations having global reciprocity. The designation Supply Chain Management Professional (SCMP) is the title of the supply chain leadership designation.
Topics addressed by selected professional supply chain certification programmes: