Supply Chain Management Definition

SCM definitions are a dime a dozen. An early definition comes from Cooper et al. (1997): “Supply chain management is the integration of business processes from end user through original suppliers that provides products, services and information that add value for customers.” However, this definition assumes that integration – the Emperor’s new suit? – is always good and that the unit of analysis is a customer-focused rather than a closed-loop system. Mentzer et al. (2001) argue that SCM has “the purposes of improving the long-term performance of the individual companies and the supply chain as a whole”. Here, it should be stated more explicitly that performance means “triple bottom line” performance. The CSCMP’s definition of SCM acknowledges that SCM is focused on interacting business entities. But, this definition violates some of Wacker’s (2004) eight rules for a “good” formal conceptual definition. Future SCM definitions should be focused on the coordination of business entities in closed-loop supply and demand networks.

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About Andreas Wieland

Dr. Andreas Wieland is an Associate Professor of Supply Chain Risk Management at the Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School. His current research interests include resilient and socially responsible supply chains.

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