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Have you considered a career in Supply Chain Management

5th Feb 2014
Have you considered a career in Supply Chain Management

In the 1980s, the term supply chain management (SCM) was developed to express the need to integrate the key business processes, from end user through original suppliers. Original suppliers are those that provide products, services, and information that add value for customers and other stakeholders. The basic idea behind SCM is that companies and corporations involve themselves in a supply chain by exchanging information about market fluctuations and production capabilities. Keith Oliver, a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, is credited with the term's invention after using it in an interview for the Financial Times in 1982.

If all relevant information is accessible to any relevant company, every company in the supply chain has the ability to help optimize the entire supply chain rather than to sub-optimize based on a local interest. This will lead to better-planned overall production and distribution, which can cut costs and give a more attractive final product, leading to better sales and better overall results for the companies involved.

Incorporating SCM successfully leads to a new kind of competition on the global market, where competition is no longer of the company-versus-company form but rather takes on a supply-chain-versus-supply-chain form.

The primary objective of SCM is to fulfill customer demands through the most efficient use of resources, including distribution capacity, inventory, and labor. In theory, a supply chain seeks to match demand with supply and do so with the minimal inventory. Various aspects of optimizing the supply chain include liaising with suppliers to eliminate bottlenecks; sourcing strategically to strike a balance between lowest material cost and transportation, implementing just-in-time techniques to optimize manufacturing flow; maintaining the right mix and location of factories and warehouses to serve customer markets; and using location allocation, vehicle routing analysis, dynamic programming, and traditional logistics optimization to maximize the efficiency of distribution.[12]

There is often confusion over the terms "supply chain" and "logistics". It is now generally accepted that "logistics" applies to activities within one company or organization involving product distribution, whereas "supply chain" additionally encompasses manufacturing and procurement, and therefore has a much broader focus as it involves multiple enterprises (including suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers) working together to meet a customer need for a product or service.

Starting in the 1990s, several companies chose to outsource the logistics aspect of supply chain management by partnering with a third-party logistics provider (3PL). Companies also outsource production to contract manufacturers. Technology companies have risen to meet the demand to help manage these complex systems.

Supply Chain Management can offer you a very rewarding career – we would encourage you to explore it further!

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