Supply chain and logistics players have played a key role in the current scenario across the world. While many are availing the benefits of a robust supply chain, there is very little knowledge about supply chain and the need for supply chain management. What are these terms, and how are they impacting modern-day businesses and consumers? Let’s break it all down.
What is supply chain? Why does it matter?
In simple words, a supply chain is a network of people, businesses, information, and resources that facilitates the production and distribution of a product or service to the end-user.
It could be as simple as procuring raw material directly from a producer and selling it, or as complicated as procurement, refinement, processing, value addition, packaging, and more!
How do businesses benefit from a supply chain:
- One can consider the supply chain as the roadmap that defines all the stages of business operations, right from acquiring material from a producer to delivering it to the intended consumer. The supply chain, directly or indirectly, meets your customers’ needs.
- It also lays the foundation for sourcing the material, which relates to acquiring products from suppliers after vetting the reliability, affordability, and quality of the material. After sourcing, the supply chain paves the way for the regular procurement of the raw material.
- Most importantly, it helps deliver the product as per customer requirements and contributes to customer satisfaction, making it a foundational element for a company’s growth.
With these tasks, the supply chain or supply chain service contributes to a business’ growth, maturation, and expansion, and can be rightly called the life force of any organisation.
Here are the key pointers for a supply chain:
- The important facets involved in the supply chain are producers, vendors, warehouses, transportation companies, distribution centres, and retailers.
- Some of the key functions in a supply chain include product development, marketing, operations, distribution, finance, and customer service.
- Supply chain management is important because it results in reduced costs and a speedy production cycle.
What is supply chain management (SCM) and why is it important?
The supply chain is a crucial component for any business to maintain its efficiency and productivity, and there exists a need to manage the flow of activities and processes within the supply chain.
Supply Chain Management or SCM, is the process of integrating and coordinating all the supply activities. Through efficient SCM, companies can quickly and cost-effectively deliver goods and services without compromising on the quality.
Activities involved in SCM:
How does supply chain management work
The Supply chain management process encompasses a wide range of functions that begin from the moment you receive an order right up to product delivery and after-sales services. Here are some of the core activities of SCM:
- Maintaining business continuity through a constant supply of intermediary or raw goods and services.
- Tracking and monitoring information related to the status of goods, business operations, etc.
- Identifying strategic business locations to reap favourable results.
- Streamlining processes to reduce redundancy and cut down operational costs.
- Keeping the business relevant and competitive with the overall market situation and condition.
- Monitoring all the production activities right up to the assembly, testing, packing, and delivery.
- Orchestrating the logistics for the timely delivery and distribution of products.
- Managing after-sales support and processing returns.
- Boosting customer satisfaction through the timely delivery of high-quality products.
- Planning production and distribution by forecasting consumer demand.
- Meeting unprecedented demand spikes through efficient inventory management.
Logistics: The Supply Chain Hero
Logistics form the cornerstone of any supply chain and logistics players such as Shadowfax step in with its speedy, reliable and cost-effective solutions that provide end-to-end-services. The role of logistics in maintaining SCM efficiency has been captured in the following points:
- Ensuring smooth movement and operations through the supply chain
- Warehouse design and management
- Packaging, tracking, and accounting
- Transportation of raw material and distribution of goods
- Working with regulatory bodies for cross-country or cross-state deliveries
- Coordinating with intermediaries to build long-term relationships
- Managing labor resources and reverse logistics
Given that businesses are expanding beyond continents, managing operations and maintaining supply would call for global supply chain management. With consumption patterns of consumers changing, supply chain and logistics enterprises are becoming increasingly important with each passing day.
So, regardless of your industry, you need to give supply chain services and supply chain management their due credit.