Supply chain management is a set of processes and practices that connect a product from its initial raw materials and manufacturing state, all the way to delivery to the customer. A supply chain consists of the various businesses and stakeholders involved in a given product, from its initial creation to final delivery and use. Optimum management of those organizations at each step of a product’s lifecycle is considered fundamental to the efficient operation of many businesses, such as consumer goods and industrial manufacturing companies.
Excellence in supply chain management is considered a vital competitive advantage. It’s critical to everything from managing and reducing costs, to ensuring product quality and safety, to speeding up the product development and delivery timeline. It’s also considered a prerequisite to high customer satisfaction. Supply chain management remains a critical business function ripe for continued innovation and competitive advantage, especially as supply chains continue to become more complex. Emerging technologies and trends, such as IoT, blockchain, and data analytics, are already changing traditional models. IoT in particular offers the ability to predict the need for machine maintenance, to provide more exact asset tracking, and to manage inventory, more efficiently, among other benefits.