Although Sherlock Holmes is not available for decision support consulting, he would have had no trouble finding engagements with manufacturing companies. In fact, if the great detective were to expound on why the challenges can be great, he would have answered a set of key questions, answered in the following piece. These questions include:

In the consumer supply chain, manufacturing plays two roles. First, commercial manufacturing must extract resources and refine them. They sell these refined ingredients to consumer manufacturers. Next, consumer manufacturing must mix refined ingredients into consumer products and market them. This split between commercial and consumer manufacturers is important. Although these two segments will have similar business models, their products, customers and technologies will be quite different. Of course, some companies will have integrated both commercial and consumer manufacturing processes under one roof.

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