Introduction

A supply-side productivity revolution has transformed business over the past thirty years. Global companies have integrated manufacturing, logistics, finance, and other components into unified global supply chains. By applying process engineering and quantitative process improvement techniques such as lean manufacturing and Six Sigma, companies such as Wal-Mart, Dell, and Toyota have achieved continuous improvement in the operating efficiency of the supply chain. By codifying the processes in software, they have made them available to operators across the globe, who can collaborate via the desktop/laptop/handheld device and the Internet to further reduce cycle times, cut costs, and increase accuracy.

The next revolution in company ...

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