Three Types of SCM Definitions

Today, I present Mentzer et al.’s (2001) must-read article, Defining Supply Chain Management. The authors demonstrate that, “although definitions of SCM differ across authors […], they can be classified into three categories”: (1) SCM as a management philosophy (= supply chain orientation), which involves a systems approach to viewing the supply chain as a whole, a strategic orientation toward cooperative efforts, and a customer focus; (2) SCM as an implementation of a management philosophy, which involves seven activities such as “mutually sharing information”; and (3) SCM as a set of management processes, which includes processes such as “customer relationship management” and “order fulfillment”. The article also contains a useful definition of SCM as “the systemic, strategic coordination of the traditional business functions and the tactics across these business functions within a particular company and across businesses within the supply chain, for the purposes of improving the long-term performance of the individual companies and the supply chain as a whole”.

Mentzer, J.T., DeWitt, W., Keebler, J.S., Min, S., Nix, N.W., Smith, C.D. & Zacharia, Z.G. (2001). Defining Supply Chain Management. Journal of Business Logistics, 22 (2), 1–25. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2158-1592.2001.tb00001.x

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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.

2 responses to “Three Types of SCM Definitions”

  1. Mark Barratt says :

    Andreas,
    There is another definition that needs to be considered. “The management of upstream and downstream relationships with suppliers and customers to deliver superior customer value at less cost to the supply chain as a whole” (Christopher, 1998). (Martin) Christopher goes on to define the supply chain as “a network of connected and interdependent organization, mutually and cooperatively working together to control, manage and improve the flow of materials and information from suppliers to end users”. In light of Industry 4.0 and digital supply chains, these two definitions are appropriate than ever.
    Regards,
    Mark

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