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9: Global Supply-Chain Management

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    In today’s global competitive environment, individual companies no longer compete as autonomous entities but as supply-chain networks. Instead of brand versus brand or company versus company, it is increasingly suppliers-brand-company versus suppliers-brand-company. In this new competitive world, the success of a single business increasingly depends on management’s ability to integrate the company’s intricate network of business relationships. Supply-chain management (SCM) offers the opportunity to capture the synergy of intra- and intercompany integration and management. SCM deals with total business-process excellence and represents a new way of managing business and relationships with other members of the supply chain.

    Top-performing supply chains have three distinct qualities. (Lee (2004, October)). First, they are agile enough to readily react to sudden changes in demand or supply. Second, they adapt over time as market structures and environmental conditions change. And, third, they align the interests of all members of the supply-chain network in order to optimize performance. These characteristics—agility, adaptability, and alignment—are possible only when partners promote knowledge-flow between supply-chain nodes. In other words, the flow of knowledge is what enables a supply chain to come together in a way that creates a true value chain for all stakeholders. Knowledge-flow creates value by making the supply chain more transparent and by giving everyone a better look at customer needs and value propositions. Broad knowledge about customers and the overall market, as opposed to just information from order points, can provide other benefits, including a better understanding of market trends, resulting in better planning and product development. (Myers and Cheung (2008, July)).

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