Supply chain activities aren't the responsibility of one person or one company. Multiple people need to be actively involved in a number of different processes to make it work.
It's kind of like baseball. While all the participants are called baseball players, they don't do whatever they want. Each person has a role – pitcher, catcher, shortstop, etc. – and must perform well at their assigned duties – fielding, throwing, and/or hitting – for the team to be successful.
Of course, these players need to work well together. A hit-and-run play will only be successful if the base runner gets the signal and takes off running, while the batter makes solid contact with the ball. The team also needs a manager to develop a game plan, put people in the right positions, and monitor success.
Winning the SCM “game” requires supply chain professionals to play similar roles. Each supply chain player must understand his or her role, develop winning strategies, and collaborate with their supply chain teammates. By doing so, the SCM team can flawlessly execute the following processes:
- Planning – the plan process seeks to create effective long- and short-range supply chain strategies. From the design of the supply chain network to the prediction of customer demand, supply chain leaders need to develop integrated supply chain strategies.
- Procurement – the buy process focuses on the purchase of required raw materials, components, and goods. As a consumer, you're pretty familiar with buying stuff!
- Production – the make process involves the manufacture, conversion, or assembly of materials into finished goods or parts for other products. Supply chain managers provide production support and ensure that key materials are available when needed.
- Distribution – the move process manages the logistical flow of goods across the supply chain. Transportation companies, third party logistics firms, and others ensure that goods are flowing quickly and safely toward the point of demand.
- Customer Interface – the demand process revolves around all the issues that are related to planning customer interactions, satisfying their needs, and fulfilling orders perfectly.