CHAPTER 10

The Promise of the Real-Time Supply Chain

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After reading this chapter you will be able to

  • Appreciate the “always-on” connection and what it means
  • Assess the profit potential inherent in the self-adjusting feedback loop and explore how it can be harnessed to drive your supply chain
  • Discuss the concept of emergent systems

The pace of business change and innovation is both exciting and relentless. Over the next decade, innovative companies in different market segments will learn to design and deploy their supply chains to improve their competitive positions in the markets they serve. They will create supply chains that enable them to develop and deliver products and provide levels of service at price points that their competitors cannot match.

We all sense that something profound has happened in the last 10 years or so. The Internet is a part of it, but it is not only about the Internet. We learned that in the “dot com” bubble of the late 1990s and early 2000s. It is more about what we can do by using the Internet than it is about any particular technology.

The Start of Something Big

As a historical analogy, consider what happened some 200 years ago at the beginning of an age that came to be known as the Industrial Age. The people of the time sensed that a powerful potential had been released by the invention and spread of the steam engine.

The steam engine for the first ...

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