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Fundamental Terms in Supply Chain Management

written by: WyntoNcReative•edited by: Ginny Edwards•updated: 9/6/2010

Learn today that some very common words are also fundamental terms in supply chain management. Granted perhaps the most notable are those related to customer service. Find out why.

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    Business Terms 

    Supply chain management is simpler to understand when you know the basic terms used in the business, whether you are a business owner looking for a buyer's relationship in supply chain management with a company to handle your business and your orders, or you are in the supply business yourself. Here are some of the basic terms to assist you in learning more about the business.

    What is Supply Chain Management?

    Supply chain management is a business that supplies retail stores with their products. The buyer is someone who is looking for a way to simplify the ordering process, including the financing of large shipments, and who wants a fast, efficient delivery of goods. The supply chain management company organizes and plans shipments for the retail store from beginning to end in a way that provides the buyer with the products they need and in a way that maximizes efficiency and lowers overall cost.

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    Business Terms

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    Logistics

    Supply chain management is focused on the logistics of deliveries to ensure the most efficient supply chain possible. These terms all relate to the ordering and delivery of the goods that are needed by companies using supply chain management companies:

    • The plan is one of the supply chain management terms that refers to the set up of the supply chain to make the process as efficient and rewarding as possible. This step needs to be carefully thought out to ensure the customer and the supply company is finding the best deal that meets the needs of the buyer.
    • Deliver is a term that refers to the actual network of warehouses and delivery to the customer. The delivery process can be very complex, making it necessary to follow deliveries carefully using a tracking system.
    • Make, refers to the process that manufacturers follow to prepare the goods for pickup. Plan, deliver and make are all supply chain management terms that refer to the ordering and delivery process.
    • The source, or companies that are chosen to supply the goods, is also a very important part of the supply chain management business. Without a high quality source for goods, customers may return the product for unsatisfactory quality.
    • Returns are generally something that anyone in the supply chain management business strives to avoid. Returns happen when the customer sends the products back to the company,which can cause a major loss of revenue for all parties involved, including the supply chain management company.
    • Traffic is when the company works to find the most time and cost efficient method of delivery. The traffic department of a supply chain management company also works to track deliveries and solves any issues that arise within the logistics plan.
    • Tracking signals are used to detect potential quality issues within a shipment by watching the value of the shipment. The goods can be examined at any time during shipment to ensure quality.
    • Tracing is the tracking of a shipment as it moves through the network from the seller to the buyer.
    • A third party logistics provider is the company that orchestrates the ordering and shipping of goods using several different services provided by different companies. In supply chain management companies, the third party logistics providers are in charge of ensuring the network is running smoothly.

    Customer Service

    Within the supply chain management terms you will learn, perhaps the most important are those related to customer service and ways to hone customer service skills. The Call Center, or Customer Interaction Center, is where buyers can find more information about the services offered by the supply chain management company. All supply companies have a phone number that you can call anytime for more information on products, shipments, or to ask general questions.

    With these fundamental supply chain management terms, you can begin to learn more about the business and how it provides buyers with a reliable service that simplifies the process of ordering and receiving products to sell in the retail business.

    Image credit (Linda L. Costet "Autographics_Inc")