A supply chain consists of all parties involved in receiving and filling a customer request. It requires transformation of components, natural resources and raw materials into a finished product that has to be delivered to the customer. Such activities begin when a customer has placed an order and end when the customer pays for his/her purchase. Most of the supply chains actually work as supply networks. There has to be a constant flow of information and funds between different stages. This makes the supply chains very dynamic in nature.
A typical supply chain involves the following stages:
Customers- The primary purpose of any supply chain is to satisfy the customer needs, thus, a customer forms the most integral part of a supply chain.
Manufacturers- They are the producers of the products or goods.
Wholesalers- Wholesalers are persons or firms that purchase large quantities of goods or products from the producers, warehouse them and resell them to the retailers.
Wholesalers that carry only non-competing goods are called as distributors.
Retailers- Retailers purchase goods from the wholesalers in large quantities and then sell the smaller quantities to the customers. They can purchase goods directly from the manufacturer.
Raw material/Component suppliers- They supply the primary components or raw materials that are used by the manufacturers for production process. The transformation process converts these into the finished products which are finally delivered to the end customers.
It's not necessary that all these stages have to be present in a supply chain system. There are firms like Dell that do not have a distributor, wholesaler or a retailer in their supply chain.
Some Industries where SCM plays an important role:
A case study on Supply chain
Due to the fierce competition and ever rising customer demand,