Up till now, the discussion has focused on supply chains for manufacturing organizations rather than supply organizations. However, service organizations can also benefit from supply chain management. A supply chain for a service organization is similar to that for manufacturing organizations since external suppliers, internal operations, and external distributors can be needed. In the case of an e-tailer, supply chain management can be used to integrate external suppliers (usually providing better demand forecast information to its suppliers, thus reducing uncertainty within the chain); it has internal operations with regard to order processing, order picking, and so on; and it can have external distribution done by a third-party provider (such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL).
Let's look at an example of a supply chain for a full-service travel agency as shown in Figure 4-4. The agency arranges a wide variety of trips for its customers. The service can be as simple as making airline, train, hotel, cruise, car rental, or personal tour arrangements for the customer. A customer can require a single type of service or have a highly complicated travel request.
The internal operations at the travel agency are split into two parts: Travel Enablement and Travel Billing.
Travel Enablement begins ...