The history of SCM
Supply chains have existed since ancient times, beginning with the very first product or service created and sold. With the advent of industrialization, SCM became more sophisticated, allowing companies to do a more efficient job of producing and delivering goods and services. For example, Henry Ford’s standardization of automobile parts was a game-changer that allowed for the mass production of goods to meet the demands of a growing customer base. Over time, incremental changes (such as the invention of computers) have brought additional levels of sophistication to SCM systems. However, for generations, SCM essentially remained a linear, siloed function that was managed by supply chain specialists.
The internet, technology innovation, and the explosion of the demand-driven global economy has changed all that. Today’s supply chain is no longer a linear entity. Rather, it’s a complex collection of disparate networks that can be accessed 24 hours a day. At the center of these networks are consumers expecting their orders to be fulfilled―when they want them, the way they want them.
We now live in a time of unprecedented global business and trade, not to mention continual technology innovation and rapidly changing customer expectations. Today’s best supply chain strategies call for a demand-driven operating model that can successfully bring people, processes, and technology together around integrated capabilities to deliver goods and services with extraordinary speed and accuracy.
Though SCM has always been an enterprise fundamental, the supply chain today is more vital than ever as a marker for business success. Companies that can effectively manage their supply chain to adapt to today’s volatile and ever-changing, technology-driven business environment are the ones that will survive and thrive.