Supply Chain Management is all the the activities a company makes to bring it's products to market. Successful supply chain management and execution can be a huge competetive advantage. SCM links all of the various partners in the supply chain.
There are many areas in the supply chain, including inventory control, inbound & outbound transportation, warehousing, sourcing, and supply management. With the vast amount of various actitivies, there necessarily needs to be excellent information systems to monitor the data involved.
Such a topic might seem bland or difficult to grasp, especially with all of the subtleties involved. But basically the supply chain breaks down to all of the things required to get goods from being raw materials through all stages of the chain to get to the end user.
And getting the product to the end user is every bit as significant as creating a great product. If you have the best thing this sliced bread and yet you can't get it to people when and in the amounts they need it, then you've failed.
Getting products to consumers in today's fast-acting market is key. Getting your goods to market faster than the competition is one of the best way's to improve your company's competitive position. With the ability of companies to create at today's pace, it is pertinent that you can get to market quickly. Getting to market quickly means more profits.
Think about it this way: if you see two almost equal products, say a smartphone. One even looks slightly cooler, maybe it has a feature that you really like. But the one you like is backordered by 2 months. You may very likely just go ahead and get the lesser phone, because you need it now.
Supply Chain Management is what will help the company that makes that backordered smartphone remove that bottleneck and make sure they have enough to sell to everyone. One of the main reasons for Apple's transformation to the most profitable company has been their supply chain management. Apple continually improved to get their shipping times working in a precise, German, clockwork-like fashion. They reduced inventories while factories in China were automated to be able to adapt to changing demand for different products. They worked with various 3rd party companies to best remove any kinks from the supply chain. Granted, this is just one aspect of Apple's excellence, but Steve Jobs put Tim Cook in charge as CEO - Tim's main focus was on improving the supply chain.
One of Tim Cook's sayings is, "You kind of want to manage it like you're in the dairy business. If it gets past its freshness date, you have a problem".
Some other facets of SCM include modal analysis, load planning, inventory management, materials handling, route planning and distribution network design.
As you can see, supply chain management can get very complicated. You need a set of tools to be able to manage all of these various things. That leads us to Transportation Management Solutions (TMS) and Supply Chain Execution (SCE) solutions.
Transworks offers one of the most advanced TMS/SCE solutions on the planet. Even better, it's available as a cloud-based, SaaS service, that way you automatically get the latest and greatest version with constant updates.