supply chain management – Systems and technology Development

The transformation of the supply function to a value-adding activity rather than a mere cost-reduction function has meant that organizations need to invest in appropriate systems to support such a shift. The need for systems to manage supply chain, for instance, arises from the need to enhance communication and integration of various players in the supply chain (Sridharan, Caines & Patterson, 2005). Integration of the supply chain allows the entity to capture the synergy that results from coordinated functioning of the intra-and inter-entity processes thus enabling the entity to provide the customer with a better value (Grieger, 2004).

Dell provides a standard case that highlights the system requirements for effective supply management. Dell’s pursuit of a built-to-order strategy where customers’ views form the basis of product development (Kumar, 2005), highlights the need for system integration. Such integration from the suppliers, through the in process, to the customers ensures efficient delivery of customer orders thus reducing lead times and enhancing customer satisfaction (Kumar, 2005). With respect to the acquisition process, the system development would thus focus on selecting a supplier who can integrate seamlessly with the entity’s systems, thus reduce the costs required for training and investment in new systems (Biel, 2009). For such integration to arise, the buyer entity would need to create a layer of information technology infrastructure that supports the real-time transmission of information among various players in the supply chain. Accordingly, effective systems for enhancing the acquisition process enable the integration of such systems as customer relationship management (CRM) systems, supplier relationship management (SRM) systems and systems being employed at various operational levels of the entity.

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