Supply and demand: two words that form one concept; a concept that has been driving business since the beginning of civilisation. Think back to the simple days of milk men. Supply chains have been evolving with our needs for decades.
Just as there is a chain of command at every institute, supply chains are present in all companies, globally. Today there is a growing need for innovation and organisation at the heart of business. We live in an age where everything, even our own personality, is a commodity and it’s delivered as instant gratification.
As consumers we are unaware of the work, management and movement that goes into producing and selling the items we buy. We don’t think about how many hours, steps or stops our commodity made before it arrived all packaged at the shop. Few are aware that this is a legitimate business profession and one that is rapidly increasing in popularity.
Supply Chain Management is the man behind the scenes that drives goods from the supplier to customer. To better understand how far Supply Chain Management has evolved from simple milkman deliveries, perhaps it is best to understand the terms first.
It’s tough to pin down an easy definition of both logistics and Supply Chain Management but not impossible. According to the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, ‘supply chain management’ is defined as follows, “Supply Chain Management encompasses the planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion, and all logistics management activities. Importantly, it also includes coordination and collaboration with channel partners, which can be suppliers, intermediaries, third party service providers, and customers. In essence, Supply Chain Management integrates supply and demand management within and across companies.”
Another key factor that goes hand in hand with Supply Chain Management is logistics management. This is a more statistical part of the process. The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals explains the term as, “that part of Supply Chain Management that plans, implements, and controls the efficient, effective forward and reverses flow and storage of goods, services and related information between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet customers requirements. If the logistics are wrong, companies have been known to suffer huge losses.
A great example of logistics and Supply Chain Management excellence is Apple. In fact, earlier this year Apple, was once again named the top supply chain in Gartner’s top 25 supply chains study. They’ve held this title for an impressive six years running. Other exceptional examples of supple chain excellence include McDonalds, Amazon and Unilever.
The thing that stands out about Apple is the quality of products they produce. They strive for excellence both in ease of functionality, availability, as well as aesthetics. They’re not know as a giant for nothing.
The IIE's Varsity College Part-Time offers courses so you can follow in the footsteps of Apple and enables you to become the business person you’ve always wanted to be. Supply chain and logistics management, a short learning program, serves as an interesting introduction to this ever growing field of business.