What is supply chain management?

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The supply chain is essential to manufacturing. In short, it is materials and process flow.

Supply chain management focuses on managing this flow. The goal is to be as efficient as possible in moving the product from the supplier to the customer. How does a business create the best product at the lowest cost? To manage well, you must be familiar with many business areas, including purchasing, operations, inventory management and warehousing, customer service, and logistics. If you want to start a trucking company to provide logistic services, you may need to invest in commercial trucks.

Every industry – from agriculture to disaster response to retail to IT to health care – has use for supply chain management. More schools are developing specializations and degrees in this area. You can study for an associate degree in supply chain management (Waukesha County Technical College, Gateway Technical College, Milwaukee Area Technical College), study for a bachelor’s degree in business and earn a specialization (DeVry University), major in business with a logistics minor (Milwaukee School of Engineering), or earn a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marquette University). Some companies, such as GE Healthcare in Waukesha, have specialized training programs specific to their product and business.

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(Source: GE Healthcare)
(Source: GE Healthcare)


The steps of a supply chain are: BUY materials for building a product, transport the materials to the factory to MAKE the product, move the product to STORE it, then ship it to SELL to the customer.

(Source: Marquette University Center for Supply Chain Management)
(Source: Marquette University Center for Supply Chain Management)
(Source: WCTC)
(Source: WCTC)

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