I have noticed over the years the term “Supply Chain” used in a number of different contexts. Some of what I read had me pondering, thinking that the meaning may be morphing into something else, for example adverts for jobs looking for a Supply Chain Manager yet the role was traditionally a Purchasing Manager – based on the tasks allocated to the role.
It just appears that some have tried to keep up with the trends and used newer terms but in the wrong way, whether through misunderstanding or up-selling the role. Using the above example I could understand the job title being Supply Manager.
So I looked through my reading materials and across the web to see if someone had drafted an overview of the supply chain on a function bases, not systems or processes. The best, only one really, was found in a project for AUSTROADS (AP-R150). The aim of Austroads was to improve knowledge and understanding of the freight industry and the customers it services.
I my attempt to get a clearer impression of how the current Supply Chain functions tie together I expanded the diagram published by Austroads. My amendments are based on industries I have had experience with including manufacturing, distribution, wholesale and MRO.
This, I believe is a good representation (Click PDF below) and can be validated by turning it into a real world application by just adding “Manager” after most of the functions shown. This is the hierarchy I have seen in the majority of cases, although functions can be combined depending on the size of the company.
Over the top of this of cause, can be laid systems such as MRP, DRP, ERP, etc.
I would be interested to see if you have other options or configuration.
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Supply chain as a term is definitely very broad. What makes it complicated is the fact that not only is it being segmented into ever more functions eg: purchasing, procurement, planning and sourcing, this is exacerbated with the improvements in technology and financial instruments e.g. Supply Chain Finance. And, when it is expanded into other industries, “complexity” is an understatement, for example, what is a “Supply Chain Planning Manager in Accounting”!
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