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What is a Supply Chain?

Suppliers, manufacturers, transporters and distributors are key parts of the supply chain.
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  • Written By: Shannon Kietzman
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2014
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A supply chain is a network of retailers, distributors, transporters, storage facilities, and suppliers that participate in the production, delivery, and sale of a product to the consumer. It is typically made up of multiple companies who coordinate activities to set themselves apart from the competition.

There are three key parts to a supply chain:

While often applied to manufacturing and consumer products, a supply chain can also be used to show how several processes supply one another. The definition in this sense can apply to Internet technology, finance, and many other industries. A supply chain strategy defines how the network should operate in order to compete in the market, evaluating the benefits and costs relating to the operation. While a business strategy focuses on the overall direction a company wishes to pursue, supply chain strategy focuses on the actual operations of the organization and the path that will be used to meet a specific goal.

Another related term is supply chain management (SCM), which is the oversight of materials, information, and finances as they are distributed from supplier to consumer. The supply chain also includes all the necessary stops between the supplier and the consumer, so its management involves coordinating this flow of materials within a company and to the end consumer.

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Supply chain management can be divided into three main flows:

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Discuss this Article

Nasri77
Post 17

what is the importance of strict control to the supply chain in housekeeping?

anon160554
Post 15

how can we understand the role of supply chain in internet service providers?

anon124822
Post 13

what is the importance of supply chain management?

anon110416
Post 12

What about compliance (legal) as part of the supply chain as most of the raw materials and even some finished components are imported or exported?

anon81128
Post 9

what are the merits of an effective supply chain?

anon74506
Post 8

Excellent job on explaining and details on Supply Chain Management!

anon70565
Post 7

in steel industries how important SCM.? how implement SCM on existing conventional system of procurement?

anon60806
Post 5

Supply Chain in today's world is very critical and a very complex field to manage. With many many variables at hand and many systems and stats report that must be watched and put into consideration, it is quite a challenge to identify the right decisions to make at one point.

And any slight mistake can cost hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars.

Due to this complexity there is a need to collaborate and share ideas in this field. Taking the initiative, I and some friends in the industry created an online forum for discussion.

Habsiy
Post 4

Article 3: My point each step in the supply chain is completing each other and we cannot ignore one of them.

Article 2: Green supply chain I think it is that all the process in supply chain going safely without any difficulties.

Article 1: The natural of the products or the raw materials.

anon37042
Post 3

What is the importance of packaging in the supply chain?

anon23156
Post 2

so what about green supply chain ?

anon9988
Post 1

what are the factors to consider when choosing a ship

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