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Supply Chain Management?
A SUPPLY CHAIN is a network of supplier, manufacturing, assembly, distribution, and logistics facilities that perform the functions of procurement of materials, transformation of these materials into intermediate and finished products, and the distribution of these products to customers. Supply chains arise in both manufacturing and service organizations. SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT (SCM) is a systems approach to managing the entire flow of information, materials, and services from raw materials suppliers through factories and warehouses to the end customer. SCM is different from SUPPLY MANAGEMENT which emphasizes only the buyer-supplier relationship. Supply chain management has emerged as the new key to productivity and competitiveness of manufacturing and service enterprises. The importance of this area is shown by a significant spurt in research in the last five years and also proliferation of supply chain solutions and supply chain companies . All major ERP companies are now offering supply chain solutions as a major extended feature of their ERP packages. Supply chain management is a major application area for Internet Technologies and Electronic Commerce (ITEC). In fact, advances in ITEC have contributed to growing importance of supply chain management and SCM in turn has contributed to many advances in ITEC.  

➢ Two Faces of Supply Chain Management
SCM has two major faces to it. The first can be called loosely as the back-end and comprises the physical building blocks such as the supply facilities, production facilities, warehouses, distributors, retailers, and logistics facilities. The back-end essentially involves production, assembly, and physical movement. Major decisions here include:    1. Procurement (supplier selection, optimal procurement policies, etc.)    2. Manufacturing (plant location, product line selection, capacity planning, production scheduling, etc.)    3. Distribution (warehouse location, customer allocation, demand forecasting, inventory management, etc.)    4. Logistics (selection of logistics mode, selection of ports, direct delivery, vehicle scheduling, etc.)    5. Global Decisions (product and process selection, planning under uncertainty, real-time monitoring and control, integrated scheduling) The second face (which can be called the front-end) is where IT and ITEC play a key role. This face involves processing and use of information to facilitate and optimize the back-end operations. Key technologies here include: EDI (for exchange for information across different players in the supply chain); Electronic payment protocols; Internet auctions (for selecting suppliers, distributors, demand forecasting, etc.); Electronic Business Process Optimization; E-logistics; Continuous tracking of customer orders through the Internet; Internet-based shared services manufacturing; etc.

Key issues in Supply Chain Management-
 
|ISSUE |CONSIDERATIONS | |Network Planning | Warehouse locations and capacities | | |Plant locations and production levels | | |Transportation flows between facilities to minimize cost and time | |Inventory Control | How should inventory be managed? | | |Why does inventory fluctuate and what strategies minimize this? | |Supply Contracts | Impact of volume discount and revenue sharing...
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