12 supply chain phrases every company needs to know

John Wikström
Sales & Account Manager Finland

Today, supply chain is not only an integral part of most businesses. In the wake of the pandemic, it has proven to be crucial to company success and customer satisfaction. Here are 12 supply chain phrases every company needs to know in the 21st century.

1. Supply Chain

Let us start with the basics: What is Supply Chain? A Supply Chain is a network of organizations, people, activities, information, and resources involved in the production, handling, and distribution of goods and services. It includes all the steps required to create and deliver a product or service – from purchasing raw materials and components – to manufacturing, distribution, and delivery to the end customer.

2. Supply Chain Management (SCM)

Supply chain management (SCM) refers to the planning, coordination, and execution of activities involved in the production and delivery of goods and services from the supplier to the end customer. SCM involves managing the flow of goods, information, and finances across the entire supply chain. The goal of SCM is to optimize the supply chain to maximize efficiency, minimize costs, and improve customer satisfaction. Activities include procurement, production, inventory management, logistics, transportation, and distribution. SCM also involves collaborating with suppliers and other partners in the supply chain to ensure that all parties are working towards a common goal.

3. Value Chain

Value Chain is a concept used in corporate management and strategic planning to describe the various activities carried out within an organization to create value for their customers. A Value Chain consists of several activities. They range from the start of the production process to the delivery of the final product to the customer. The activities in a Value Chain can be divided into primary and secondary activities. Primary activities are those directly involved in the production of a product or service, such as purchasing, manufacturing, marketing, and sales. Secondary activities are those that support primary activities, such as logistics, technical support, and personnel management.

4. Supply Chain Planning

Supply Chain Planning involves forecasting demand, determining purchasing volumes for safety stock, and scheduling production, transport, and distribution of goods and services. It is an important part of Supply Chain Management, as it helps to ensure that the right products are in the right place, at the right time, and in the right quantities.

Learn more about Supply Chain Planning here.

5. Supply Chain Design

Supply Chain Design involves building an optimal network of organizations, people, activities, information, and resources involved in the production, handling, and distribution of goods and services. It includes strategic decisions for where to place warehouses and manufacturing facilities, how to transport goods, and how to handle the flow of information and resources throughout the supply chain.

Learn more about Supply Chain Design here.

6. Supply Chain Sustainability

Supply Chain Sustainability aims to reduce the environmental impact and improve the social and economic performance of the supply chain. It includes activities such as reducing waste and emissions, promoting ethical and responsible purchasing, and supporting the well-being of employees and communities. Supply Chain Planning & Supply Chain Design are effective methods for minimizing the environmental impact of waste and emissions.

Learn more about Supply Chain Sustainability here.

7. Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP)

Sales & Operations Planning, also known as S&OP, is a process that involves the coordination of sales and operating functions within a company. It involves creating a long-term plan for sales, production, and warehousing and identifying and solving any conflicts or problems that may arise. S&OP helps to ensure that the company can meet customer demand while maximizing efficiency and profitability.

Learn more about Sales & Operations Planning here.

8. Supply Chain Optimization

Supply Chain Optimization is the process of improving and simplifying the supply chain by identifying and eliminating inefficiency and improving the flows of goods, services, and information. This can be done through various techniques such as forecasting, warehouse management, logistics, and transport management. The ultimate goal is to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve customer service.

Supply chain phrases

9. Supply Chain Digital Twin

A Digital Twin is a virtual representation of real-world supply chain operations. The live data can be used in everything from quality control to inventory management. A Digital Twin can be used by engineering, production, and maintenance teams to experiment with new approaches and what-if scenarios without disrupting the actual production. The data can be fed to Machine Learning predictive models to discover previously unknown operational patterns and aberrations. It can also be automatically input into decision models. A Digital Twin will ultimately help teams explore and understand the key drivers and trade-offs in optimized plans and decisions.

10. Supply Chain Visibility

Supply Chain Visibility means having control and insight into the entire supply chain, from suppliers to customers, to make informed decisions and handle any problems or deviations. Businesses can achieve through technology that collects data from relevant sources, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems, Transport Management Systems (TMS), or Warehouse Management Systems. These can provide real-time data on key figures, such as warehouse product flows and estimated delivery times.

11. Scenario Planning

Supply Chain Scenario Planning aims to identify and analyze possible future events and their impact on the supply chain. This involves creating different hypotheses and evaluating how the supply chain would respond to each one. It helps organizations predict and prepare for any disruptions or changes in demand and make well-informed decisions on how to reduce risks and optimize the supply chain. Scenario Planning can also help organizations identify opportunities for improvement and develop backup plans for unexpected events. It is a proactive method for managing uncertainty and risks in the supply chain.

12. Demand Forecasting

Demand Forecasting is the process of estimating the amount of a product or service that customers will buy. Companies use Demand Forecasting to make well-informed business decisions about how much stock they need, how much they should produce, and what prices to set. It also helps companies identify trends and patterns in consumer behavior and predict changes in demand.

Is your supply chain resilient enough?

I hope you found these supply chain phrases helpful. In the past few years, supply chain resilience has become a hot topic – and with good reason. To ensure business continuity, mitigate risks, enhance customer satisfaction, improve operational efficiency, and meet regulatory and social expectations, today’s companies need to create future-proof supply chains. How resilient is yours?

Optilon focuses on helping customers utilize their resources where they generate the most value. We are a company founded by engineers that combine world-leading technology with Nordic expertise in supply chain.

Let one of our dedicated supply chain experts help you. Book a meeting today!

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