Supply chain management has for a long time been a bedrock for most businesses as they endeavor to gain a competitive edge over their competitors. Corporations, especially those dealing with consumer products, are faced with the challenge of ensuring that they meet the expectations of their customers without necessarily incurring extra costs. In a bid to ensure efficiency in the supply chain management, business leaders have over time embraced the ‘customer first approach’ so as to ensure that stock outs do not adversely impact on customer loyalty. As opposed to the bygone years, where manufacturers set the tone in the production process, in the recent past, there has been a paradigm shift where the consumers are the one who have become integral in determining how the production process should be carried out. This has left producers with the absolute goal of ensuring that stock outs are not experienced.
Different scholars give different definitions to supply chain management. Ellram (2014)defines it as the systematic assessment of the suppliers’ assets as well as the capabilities on the basis of overall business strategy, determination of the different activities to be used while engaging with different suppliers. It also involves the execution and planning of the interactions with the suppliers in a manner that is more coordinated across the chain life cycle so as to maximize the value that is realized via those interactions (Ellram, 2014). Focusing more on supply chain management creates two-way relationships that are mutually beneficial with the strategic supply partners so as to deliver greater levels of innovation and competitive advantage than the one that could be achieved while the enterprises are operating via traditional purchasing arrangements or even independently (Ellram, 2014).
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