1. Defining the Supply Chain

Supply chain management is a vital, yet often underappreciated facilitator of trade that fosters customer convenience, business success, and societal development. Consumers benefit greatly from supply chain management, yet few people think about the planning, cost, or activities involved in getting fuel to the filling station, fresh foods to the store shelf, or essential medical supplies to the hospital emergency room. People just assume that products will be readily available without worrying about how much their quality of life depends on productive, efficient supply chains.

The same situation exists within many organizations. Despite the ability of supply chain management to facilitate cost-savings and a competitive ...

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