Supply Chain Management
To ensure that the supply chain is operating as efficient as possible and generating the highest level of customer satisfaction at the lowest cost, companies have adopted Supply Chain Management processes and associated technology. Supply Chain Management has three levels of activities that different parts of the company will focus on: strategic; tactical; and operational.
Strategic: At this level, company management will be looking to high level strategic decisions concerning the whole organization, such as the size and location of manufacturing sites, partnerships with suppliers, products to be manufactured and sales markets.
Tactical: Tactical decisions focus on adopting measures that will produce cost benefits such as using industry best practices, developing a purchasing strategy with favored suppliers, working with logistics companies to develop cost effect transportation and developing warehouse strategies to reduce the cost of storing inventory.
Operational: Decisions at this level are made each day in businesses that affect how the products move along the supply chain. Operational decisions involve making schedule changes to production, purchasing agreements with suppliers, taking orders from customers and moving products in the warehouse.
If a company expects to achieve benefits from their supply chain management process, they will require some level of investment in technology. The backbone for many large companies has been the vastly expensive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) suites, such as SAP and Oracle. Since the wide adoption of Internet technologies, all businesses can take advantage of Web-based software and Internet communications. Instant communication between vendors and customers allows for timely updates of information, which is key in management of the supply chain.
Basically Supply chain management operates at three levels; strategic, tactical and operational. At the strategic level, company management makes high level strategic supply chain decisions that are relevant to whole organization. The decisions that are made with regards to the supply chain should reflect the overall corporate strategy that the organization is following.
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