Term Paper on supply chain management practices from a strategic viewpoint

The integration of supply chain management systems has been the subject of significant debate and discussion. As organizations seek to develop partnerships and more effective information links with trading partners, internal processes become interlinked and span the traditional boundaries of firms. Physical logistics become more dependent on information technologies, and these technologies can also become enablers of further cooperative arrangements. Firms are then faced with the management of an extended enterprise as a network of processes, relationships and technologies creating an inter dependence and shared destiny. The truly strategic nature of supply chain management thus becomes apparent for participating companies, with successful implementation becoming a source of competitive advantage. The intent of this literature review is to document and analyze literature relating to the integration and implementation of supply chain management practices. As such, it is organized into the following sub-sections:

Supply chain integration. This section covers issues relating to integration of core processes across organizational boundaries through improved communication, partnerships, alliances and cooperation. It also includes the application of new technologies to improve information flows and coordinate the flow of physical goods between trading partners.

Strategy and planning. Supply chain management as a strategic matter for trading partners, along with factors relating to the amount of planning required.
Implementation issues. Factors critical for successful implementation, as well as issues specific to inter and intra-organizational aspects of supply chain initiatives are contained in this sub-group.

The literature is examined from three perspectives. First, supply chain integration covers issues relating to integration of core processes across organizational boundaries through improved communication, partnerships, alliances and cooperation. Second, strategy and planning examines supply chain management as a strategic matter for trading partners, along with factors relating to the amount of planning required. Third, implementation issues concern factors critical for successful implementation, as well as issues specific to inter and intraorganizational aspects of supply chain initiatives are contained in this sub-group

The scope of this review is by design limited to a cross-section of the literature in this area. As such, it cannot, and does not, attempt to be an examination of the full range of the literature, but a sampling of important and influential works.

This review of the literature serves to highlight the inter-dependence between integration (technologies, logistics, and partnerships), a strategic view of supply chain systems, and implementation approach. All three need to inform and underpin each other in order for management of supply chains to be able to deliver on the promise of benefits for all trading partners.

This study reviews a sample of recent and classic literature in this field, and in doing so provides some clear guidelines for the conduct of future research.