Supply Chain Management became a popular term in the mid-1990s but, even today, no clear definition of the term has emerged. Instead, for most academics and practitioners, supply chain management is a broad term that covers many functions, including but not limited to manufacturing, warehousing, and transportation, as well as supplier relationship management, inventory management, pricing, and customer service.
As globalization has increased the scope and the complexity of supply chains, developing a supply chain strategy has become critical to a company’s success. For some companies, a supply chain strategy that operates across multiple areas is necessary to achieve competitive advantage. For other companies, a supply chain strategy that focuses on a single area is sufficient to achieve operational excellence. In either case, optimization plays an important role.