What is global supply chain management?

Global supply chain management is one of the most important disciplines in 21st century business.

As the term implies, the supply chain is a series of interlinked functions, companies and individuals. It starts with those who produce and supply raw materials or components to manufacturers, continues with the logistics firms that move finished goods to warehouses and distribution centers, and concludes with the hand-off to wholesalers and retailers.

For many companies, success is dependent on effective management of global supply chains.

Why is global supply chain management so significant?

Modern life depends on the rapid, efficient, and safe movement of a high volume of materials, components and finished products around the world. According to the World Trade Organization, world trade was about $16 trillion in 2016. Supply chains can only function if a series of interconnected systems work in harmony: shipping and transportation, information and management, and security and construction. Within these systems, there is little room for error. If the supply of cocoa from Guinea is disrupted, a factory in Pennsylvania can’t produce chocolate bars. If a single supplier of paint in Japan is unable to ship goods for a week, car production in Michigan may cease temporarily.

How do people gain expertise in global supply chain management?

Many universities and institutions of higher education offer degrees and training in global supply chain management. The topic is popular in business and engineering departments. Global supply chain management professionals hold important positions at the most prestigious corporations. A range of companies in industries such as transport, shipping, logistic and software make-up the global supply chain.

What attributes makes companies good partners for global supply chain management?

Companies that operate on a global scale while possessing deep knowledge of local markets and recognizing the importance and value of location make excellent global supply chain partners. Being able to amass and leverage data and information technology is another important attribute.