Why Supply Chain Management??

A supply chain is basically a group of independent organisations connected together through the products and services that they separately and/or jointly add value on in order to deliver them to the end consumer. It is very much an extended concept of an organization which adds value to its products or services and delivers them to its customers. But what is the benefit of understanding the value adding from the supply chain perspective? Why managing supply chain is becoming necessary and important to today’s business success? These are some of the fundamental questions that must be first addressed before discussing the “how to” questions.

Over the last three decades, the concept and theory of business management have undergone profound changes and development. Many old ways of doing business have been challenged and many new ideas and approaches have been created, among them are business process re-engineering, strategic management, lean thinking, agile manufacturing, balanced scorecard, blue ocean strategy, … just to name a few. Supply chain management is undoubtedly one of those new and well grown management approaches emerged and rapidly developed across all industries around the world.

So, the question is “Why now?” A convincing answer to this question is that our business environment has changed, which includes globalization, more severe competition, heightened customer expectation, technological impact and geopolitical factors and so on. Under such a renewed business environment, an organisation focused management approach is no longer adequate to deliver the required competitiveness. Managers must therefore understand that their businesses are only part of the supply chains that they participated and it is the supply chain that wins or loses the competition.

Thus, the arena of competition is moving from ‘organisation against organisation• to •supply chain against supply chain. The survival of any business today is no longer solely dependent on its own ability to compete but rather on the ability to cooperate within the supply chain. The seemingly independent relation between the organisations within the supply chain becomes ever more interdependent. You “sink or swim with the supply chain. It is for this reason that gives rise to the need for supply chain management.

What’s more practical and indeed more assured way of better managing a business is to managing it along with the supply chain through appropriate strategic positioning, adequate structural configuration, collaboration, integration and leadership. The paramount importance of doing so does not derive from the theories or reasoning, rather it is withstood by the business performance improvement and market measured customer results. It is the tangible benefits and success that it delivers makes the subject important.

One can hardly find any aspect of business that has nothing to do with supply chain management. Take an example of quality management – a very important part of today’s business management, and ask yourself a question: can you manage and improve the quality standard of your product or service measured by the end-consumer without managing the suppliers and buyers in the supply chain at all? Of course not. Business value creation is always a collective contribution from the whole involved supply chain.