In Chapter 15, the supply chain concept exists as a means to enhance the ability of a firm to develop and maintain strategic advantages in a competitive marketplace. The benefits of supply chains extend beyond the operational dimensions of lead time, quality, and flexibility to the strategic and financial areas. Supply chains, if properly structured, can effectively combine the core competencies of a given firm with the skills and capabilities of its suppliers. However, to be strategic, supply chains must be driven by marketing strategies, targeting of customers, and the creation of value propositions that are highly attractive to these customers. Thus, our treatment of the supply chain will identify strategy and customers as the beginning points for all planning and decision-making activities.
According to the chapter supply chains are seldom static. They are constantly changing and evolving as a result of strategic changes taking place within the firm, competitive actions, changes in technology, and shifts in targeted customers or in customers’ needs. Supply chain management (SCM) is now a fact of life. Increasingly managers, researchers, and educators recognize the importance of SCM as both a strategic and tactical weapon. However, the practice of supply chain management is ever changing. Initially, the supply chain was viewed as an entity that was primarily concerned with the upstream suppliers and supplier management. By the mid 1990s, there was a change in orientation. The focus has shifted from the upstream to the entire supply chain. As we move into the middle of the first decade of the 21st century, we are seeing another shift in focus from supply chain management to strategic supply chain management. As this transition takes, there is a strong need for researchers, managers, and educators to reassess the current and future stages of supply chain management with the goal of identifying, presenting, and implementing a...
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