Getting on the Same Page: Case Analysis
A supply chain consists of a collection of companies that are involved directly or indirectly in the manufacture, handling and distribution of a product or service to the customer. The supply chain consists of the point of origin of the raw materials and other constituents until the point of consumption (Prater & Whithead, 2013). Supply chain management is the control and coordination of materials, storage, data and finances that move from the point of origin all the way to the consumer (Rouse, 2015). The aim of supply chain management is to provide a cost-effectiveness and efficiency to the supply chain. Supply chain management encompasses such activities as forecasting demand, procurement, shipping and delivery, and management of the inventory. Logistics is the management and coordination of the process of obtaining, storing and distributing goods, services and information in the supply chain or within the company with the objective of fulfilling customer needs (Prater & Whithead, 2013).
Elements and Processes of Supply Chain Management and Logistics
There are many elements incorporated into supply chain management such as production design, planning, managing orders, order management, fulfilling orders, inventory management, and return management. Production design is the process of creating the service or good that will be delivered to customers (Rouse, 2015). Planning involves forecasting and anticipating changes in demand and other aspects, establishing targets and outlining the processes that will be undertaken by the company to achieve the targets. Order management involves the coordination of control of processes involved in ordering for goods and services. Inventory management is the process of organizing the inflow or outflow of units in an existing inventory. Order fulfillment encompasses all the activities undertaken by the company from when the customer places an order to when the product is delivered to the customer. Return management involves the administration of processes involved in gatekeeping, reverse logistics and managing returns. The processes involved in supply chain management are forecasting demand, selecting suppliers, ordering of supplies, managing the inventory, shipping, delivery and the management of information (Prater & Whithead, 2013).
The elements of logistics include materials management, materials flow system, and physical distribution. Materials management involves the planning, buying, transporting and storing raw materials for use in the manufacture of products. Materials flow system is the process of locating and scheduling through to the completion of production. Physical distribution entails the processes involved in delivering the finished product to consumers. The processes involved in logistics are forecast demanding, ordering, scheduling production, receiving customer orders, credit clearance, commitment to deliver, managing the inventory, delivery, and return management (Prater & Whithead, 2013). Some of the elements and processes in supply chain management and logistics overlap. The processes that overlap include forecasting demand, order management, shipping and delivery, and return management.
Significance of integrating and coordinating operations in a supply chain
Integrating and coordinating operations across the supply chain has many benefits to the companies. Integrating operations will help the companies to manage any changes in customer demands. Coordination of operations creates an optimized inventory level for all the companies. This will eliminate the high costs of storing and managing any excess inventory in the company (Kokemuller, 2015). An optimized inventory will also reduce the possibility of having insufficient inventory. An integrated supply chain will help to monitor and hence improve the quality of goods produced thereby delivering value to customers. An integrated and coordinated supply chain results in a high level of communication efficiency between the companies thereby increasing cost-effectiveness (Kokemuller, 2015).
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