Last updated August 24, 2023
What is a supply chain?
A supply chain refers to the network of organizations, resources, activities, and technologies involved in the creating, production, distribution, and delivery of goods or services to the end consumers. It encompasses the entire process from sourcing raw materials to delivering the final product to customers.
Supply chains involve multiple stages and participants, such as , manufacturers, wholesalers, and so on, all working together to ensure that products are efficiently produced, transported, and made available to consumers.
What are the key components of a supply chain?
- Sourcing and procurement: This involves finding and selecting suppliers for raw materials, components, and other resources needed to manufacture products.
- Manufacturing or production: This step involves transforming raw materials and components into finished products through various manufacturing processes.
- Distribution and logistics: After production, the products need to be transported to distribution centers or directly to retailers. This involves planning transportation routes, managing warehouses, and optimizing .
- Retail and sales: The products reach retailers where they are displayed and sold to consumers. This step also involves and managing the available at retail locations.
- Consumers: The end consumers purchase and use the products, which completes the supply chain cycle.
Effective supply chain management ensures efficient production, timely delivery, cost savings, and improved customer satisfaction. It also helps in adapting to market changes and reducing risks.
Supply chain disruptions are unexpected events, such as natural disasters, strikes, geopolitical issues, or supply shortages, that interrupt the normal flow of goods and services.