About this book
During the last years, the competitive pressures and short product lifecycles have caused many manufacturing and retail companies to focus on supply chain management practices and applications. Continuing shifts in the geopolitical situation (e.g. NAFTA, Extension of European Union) and emerging markets (e.g. Eastern Europe and China) opened new business opportunities and at the same time kept companies busy revising their supply chain structures such as manufacturing locations, warehouse locations, inbound logistics, and distribution operations. This led to an increased demand in strategic supply chain planning tools such as supply chain simulators and location optimization tools.
New techniques and practices for highly efficient supply chain management are being made possible by the rapid progress in information and communication technologies, laying the foundation for a new wave of applications.
Connectivity and the integration of business processes have laid the foundations for an increased visibility over the entire supply chain. Software technologies like portals, data warehouses, reporting systems, and on-line analytical processing (OLAP) are providing the necessary information and visibility for the decision makers. The next step is to assist the decision maker to quickly and optimally respond to unexpected situations. Intelligent analytics can automatically determine the best decision alternative and predict its consequence on the supply chain performance. We use the phrase "sense and respond" to characterize such a supply chain management system that is able to respond quickly and optimally to unexpected situations.
These chapters of this book were written by supply chain researchers, consultants, and supply chain practitioners who have not only developed the practices but have deployed these practices in various supply chains at IBM and other companies.