To say that these are challenging times would be a gross underestimation. The challenges that have been thrust upon us in the past two or three years were previously unimaginable. But for those of us who are involved in some way with the development, operation or enhancement of Supply Chains, these are very exciting times. For example, look at the changes that have taken place in technology. We are also starting to learn just how much more we have to do if we are to operate on a true global scale, crossing borders, and designing new corporate structures. "Most large corporations are now outsourcing as many functions as possible to enable them to concentrate on core competencies but are we outsourcing enough or too much?" (Weber: Interview). The movement toward virtual corporations and supply chains has progressed much more than anticipated. Today if your company is not agile, you"re gone.
During an interview with Mr. Weber, Director of Logistics Operations and Business at U.S. Transportation Command, he stated, "Our entire transportation and logistics structure is trying to redefine itself. We have large logistics conglomerates, which are absorbing some very large entities along the way and there is the evolution of third party logistics (3PL) and fourth party logistics (4PL) that are willing to assume outsourcing and integration responsibilities for everything put in front of them" (Weber: Interview). The requirements for real-time visibility are continuing to reach for new heights and in some cases the technology is winning and in others it is not making a lot of progress. In the not to distant future, everything will have a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag on it. As we expand our understanding of new statistical techniques, we will be able to drive toward perfection and the search for predicting the needs of our customers before they know what they need.
Supply Chain Management (SCM) continues to grow in both need and usage.