Strategic supply chain development by integration of key global logistical process linkages
As manufacturing firms search relentlessly for sources of competitive advantage, a greater emphasis is developing on supply chain management as a means of achieving differentiation in a firm's strategic position. Currently, some researchers are focusing on effective 'end to end' management of key logistical process linkages within the supply chain, as a means of achieving sustainable competitive advantage that is difficult for competitors to emulate. The emphasis presented is on improved delivery performance and customer service. This involves defining optimized balances between supply chain parameters, the achievement of which should result in reduced cost, improved use of working capital, better asset utilization and optimized intra-supply-chain usage. This paper discusses the development of a model and illustrates an application in a major multinational steel producer. Progress has been made in understanding the logistical processes that are used to manage supply chain linkages and, importantly, in understanding the feed-forward and feedback linkages that are necessary to enable supply chain management to be more effective. A generic model for a tiered approach to the planning and scheduling of manufacturing supply chains is thus presented. Ideas for further work are described.