In the simplest term, Supply Chain Management helps in movemenet and storage of raw materials, work-in-process, inventory, and finished goods from point of origin to the point of consumption. The concept of supply chain management has been in existence for over a century and has since then evolved from an initial focus on improving relatively simple, but very labor-intensive processes to the present day engineering and managing of extraordinarily complex global networks.
The wide transformation in logistics was seen in the 1980s with the advent of personal computers which helped in providing a superbly better operating environment for planners.
The use of new technologies such as mapping and easy-to-use spreadsheets aloowed for an enormous advancement in logistics planning and execuition technology. The various reserach centers of the Georgia tech research center which led this huge transformation developed methodlogies which soon began to find their ways into the commercial world.
Not so after this, logistics started getting tremendoes attention from company executives as a new way of improving their businesses if they could invest in trained professionals and the new technology. Despite been perceived as very expensive, it was also very important and complex. Prior to this, logistics was used only to insinuate the support of military movements. The change to the meaning of the term "logistics" was backed by the National Council of Physical Distribution Management in 1985. The council changed its name to the CLM (Council of Logistics Management) giving a reason that it was "to reflect the evolving discipline that included the integration of inbound, outbound and reverse flows of products, services, and related information."
This period marked the technology revolution in the concept of supply chain management. Prior to the 90's, there were desires to blend the multiple data bases existing in almost all companies which were rarely talked about. In the 1990's, there was a significant improvement towards this end by the materialization of the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. This move was motivated by the concerns that the previous systems might fail becuase it wasn't able to handle years beyond the 90s. Though there were some issues with installing the ERP systems for most companies, by 2000, many large companies already have the system in place. This helped improve the accuracy and availability of data and with this camethe new generation optimization software referred to as APS (Advanced Planning and Scheduling) software.
With the need to broaden the focus and offer better solutions to the system, further researches were conducted. Due to the globalization of manufacturing in the mid-90s, the usage of the term "supply chain" began.There were tremendous growth in the manufacturing sectors and with it came th need for complex logistics strategies to offer better solutions.
In 2005, the Council of Logistics Management changed its name to the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals to reflect the growing association of supply chain management with strategy. Supply chain management was then used to refer to strategic issues and logistics referred to tactical and operational issues. The difference been that "Supply Chain Management is the systematic, strategic coordination of the traditional business functions and the tactics across these business fucntions within a particular company and across businesses within the supply chain for the purposes of improving the long-term performance of the individual companies and the supply chain as a whole" while "Logistics is that part of the supply chain process that plans, implements, and controls the efficient, effective forward and reverse flow and storage of goods, services, and related information between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet customers' requirements."
Since the 80s, computer technology has advanced greatly that the level of advancement in supply chain management is far behind. Basically, Supply chain management is still based on the principles used with personal computers.
However, with the level of technological advances in the world today, areas of supply chain and logistics can be tremendous improved in value, including warehousing and distribution, transportation, and manufacturing logistics. We can expect to see these improvements in days to come.