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What Is the Right Supply Chain for Your Product?

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Essay title: What Is the Right Supply Chain for Your Product?

What Is the Right Supply Chain for Your Product?

A simple framework can help you figure out the answer.

Never has so much technology and brainpower been applied to improving supply chain performance. Point-of sale scanners allow companies to capture the customer’s voice. Electronic data interchange lets all stages of the supply chain hear that voice and react to it by using flexible manufacturing, automated warehousing, and rapid logistics. And new concepts such as quick response, efficient consumer response, accurate response, mass customization, lean manufacturing, and agile manufacturing offer models for applying the new technology to improve performance.

Nonetheless, the performance of many supply chains has never been worse. In some cases, costs have risen to unprecedented levels because of adversarial relations between supply chain partners as well as dysfunctional industry practices such as an overreliance on price promotions. One recent study of the U.S. food industry estimated that poor coordination among supply chain partners was wasting $30 billion annually. Supply chains in many other industries suffer from an excess of some products and a shortage of others owing to an inability to predict demand. One department store chain that regularly had to resort to markdowns to clear unwanted merchandise found in exit interviews that one-quarter of its customers

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