Introduction to Supply Chain Management

One of the major challenges to manufacturing companies in current business environment is the increasingly fierce competition. The stormy global economy in recent years has also contributed to an increased level of uncertainty and turbulence when conducting business.

A supply chain is a network of numerous autonomous entities (i.e., suppliers, manufacturers, assemblers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers) (Figure 1). Material, information and cash are three main flows going
back and forth along the chain through all entities.

Figure 1. A general model of supply chain

Supply Chain Management (SCM) refers to the effort of managing flows, processes, and functions along the entire chain with purpose of maximizing overall profitability by satisfying end customers.

The hallmark of SCM is that companies along the supply chain are no longer keeping arm-length distance but work closely together in key business functions, i.e., strategic planning, product design, customer
service and relationship management. The advantages of successful SCM are increased customer satisfaction, reduced response time and inventory, and increased profit margin, just to name a few.

Education

Narvik University College offers SCM courses at graduate and post-graduate levels. The courses aim to give students insight to philosophies, basic principles and techniques in SCM. Key strategic drivers for supply chain performances as well as techniques, methods and tools for conducting supply chain management are discussed and explored in detail.

Communities

  1. Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP): http://cscmp.org/
        Based in USA with chapters around the world. It organizes educational events, i.e., annual
        global conferences and conference in major chapters (e.g., European and Asia conferences), providing
        on-line courses, on-site education, and etc.
  2. European Logistics Association (ELA): http://www.elalog.org/
        A logistics association covering almost every country in Central and Western Europe. It organizes conferences,
        seminars, and discussing forum on topics of logistics and SCM.
  3. The Nordic Logistics Research Network (NOFOMA): http://www.nofoma.net/
        It is a network for Nordic researchers within the field of logistics and SCM. The aim of NOFOMA is to
        contribute to the continuous improvement and further development of Nordic logistics research asnd researchers.
  4. Logistikk Forening: http://www.logistikkforeningen.no/index.php?page_id=49
        Based in Norway with both academic and industrial members. It aims to provide meeting arena for SCM professionals in Norway.

Conferences

  1. CSCMP’s Annual Global Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 2 – 5.
  2. CSCMP Europe 2011 Conference in Barcelona, Spain on 8 – 10 June.
  3. NOFOMA Conference 2011 in Harstad, Norway on 9-10 June.

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