Topic: Decision Support Systems for Supply Chain Management and Design
Supply chain management (SCM) has evolved to become an integral part of the operations management. SCM can have tremendous impact on organizational performance in terms of cost, quality, flexibility an responsiveness in the global market. Companies are investing in data driven decision support application frameworks to help then response to the changing market condition and customer needs. A more defined organizational structure, performance metrics and decision support systems (DSS) in SCM is required to create competitive advantages for an organization.
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A supply chain may be defined as an integrated process wherein a number of various business entities (i.e., suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers) work together in an effort to acquire raw materials, convert these raw materials into specified final products and deliver these final products to retailers
Supply chain management . . . “encompasses every effort involved in producing and delivering a final product or service, from the supplier's supplier to the customer's customer. Supply Chain Management includes managing supply and demand, sourcing raw materials and parts, manufacturing and assembly, warehousing and inventory tracking, order entry and order management, distribution across all channels, and delivery to the customer.”
(The Supply-Chain Council)
A supply chain’s success is heavily dependent on the right planning and information flow within and outside the boundaries of the supply chain. Looking at the Supply Chain as an inter related business process within one another, we can consider 2 process dimension; 1) the process plan in which we predict and anticipate event that can happen in supply chain and also project appropriate resources needed to meet the planned events, across all related parties (Sales/Marketing, Production, Transportation, Buys, etc); 2) the execution processes developed and all actions required in day to day phases to meet the plans. In both plan and executions processes, decisions is taken all the time. And the decision made will the impact the quality/speed of the other flows in the supply chain. Supply Chain can be very slow/ interrupted because data is not available or analysis needed took out time before a decision can be made.
Decision making are made throughout the entire supply chain and can be classified as strategic, tactical and operational. It is vital to make sure that the supply chain design, configuration and capabilities (people, processes, systems) matches the unique business requirement. Since decision flow can disrupt the supply chain if not done properly, having efficient decision support systems (DSS) that can provide fast and updated information that enables Supply chain decision makers to make faster/right decision at the right time is inevitably of high importance to Supply chain management success.
There are many factors to be considered in the process of selecting DSS model that would work best for a supply chain network. A DSS has to be customizable to the objective of a business, which generally includes maximizing customer satisfaction, maximizing profit and minimizing production bottleneck. Some of the possible requirements to consider when establishing the DSS for supply chain are 1) system architecture scalability, re-configurability, distribution and decentralization; 2) ability to support and co-exist with legacy systems that are still in use and/or with systems provided by other parties in a supply chain, 3) agility and adaptive behavior of...