Designated supply chain (supply chain management)1.0IntroductionSupply chain management forms the vital link between the supplier and the end-user. As the name suggests, the supply chain is a network of facilities and distribution options that helps in procurement of raw materials, processing this to semi and finished products, and through proper distribution, reach the customer at the desired time. Supply chains exist in just about every production, service and maintenance industry, although the complexity of the supply chain may vary greatly from industry to industry and firm to firm (Ganeshan & Harrison, 1995). The service industry of late has seen unlimited scope for professionalism in streamlined operations leading to better customer care and services.
In the years gone by, retailers used electronic data interchange systems for communicating between manufacturers, suppliers, and tracking. The trend has given way to a more advanced and sophisticated brand of software that not only enhances performance and efficiency, but cuts costs, raises customer fulfillment, and controls long-term supply positioning (Valdero Corporation, 2002). Many innovative software packages have been introduced in the market lately to bridge the gap between planning and execution, the lifeline of the supply chain industry.
Supply chain management looks at providing real-time visibility and control over changes occurring in the supply chain industry. The technological development in the software industry is such that, the supply chain industry today has the availability of solutions for Supply Chain Planning (SCP), Supplier Relationship Management (SRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Business Intelligence (BI). (Oracle Corporation, 2005). This paper takes a look at the prospect of a designated supply chain for Dell, and making appropriate recommendations to improve the existing functions available to them.
2.0Executive SummaryThe purpose of a systematic supply chain management is to reduce inventory and process costs. The supply chain has many intermediate sectors that must function uniformly to elicit the desired result. This calls for a well-groomed, functional operative, which can manage and monitor divisions within a conglomerate such as Dell. With the advent of computers and computer software to run them, divisions such as Order Management, Warehouse Management, Transportation Management, and Replenishment Management are now well knit units that perform in a most professional manner.
Earlier, these functions were handled manually, and the complexity of streamlining such departments caused hardship and frequent mistakes. This has now been replaced by a far more competent and precision software, that can elicit any information at the press of a key to counter any imbalance in the supply chain, critical in the face of competitiveness and sustenance. It is noted that most of the prominent software available for the supply chain managers today feature Inventory Control, Demand Control, Planning and Fulfillment Control, and Product Change Control.
“These features allow the supply chain business houses to dramatically reduce inventory, production and process costs by giving them a single transparent view of the supply chain, proactive performance measurement, and management by exception, continuous supply demand balancing and guided resolution” (Valdero Corporation, 2002). The biggest challenge that Dell has faced in managing its supply chain management has been in the sourcing of raw materials for its development activities. Since Dell operates in many countries, it has found sourcing raw materials at component level the most challenging. This problem has been addressed in the past as well, and there has been a method to cut down on transportation and availability of raw materials at its development plants.
This has been covered elaborately in this paper.