Supply Chain & Order Fulfillment
A company which has an efficient supply chain and an efficient order fulfillment process can add a great deal of value to the purchase process, and sometimes that’s just as important to customers as having a great product delivered. Order fulfillment in a broad context is comprised of all those activities which occur after an order from a customer has been taken, up until the time that goods have been delivered. Admittedly, that is a very large and potentially complicated set of activities, but it can all be made manageable and organized by a smoothly functioning supply chain.
It’s helpful to think of the supply chain as all those organizations which are involved in some way, in helping to get the final products delivered to a customer after an order has been placed. Even though these organizations may not co-exist under the umbrella of a single corporation, they must all work together in order for the primary objective to be achieved – delivering goods to a customer as quickly as possible, and as safely as possible.
The very best supply chains are those which communicate constantly, so that each step of the fulfillment process can be carried out as quickly and efficiently as possible. The flow of goods through the supply chain is necessarily a physical process, but it is the accompanying information flow which provides the coordination that makes the process controllable and repeatable for all customers. When both these channels are being managed smoothly, the supply chain itself is usually functioning extremely well.