The supply chain is a vast and expansive process. It has many links, the number varying from one industry to another, from one company to another, from one combination of partners to another. The expanse and unpredictable nature of supply chains presents a challenge to anyone trying to build an analytic application for supply chain intelligence (SCI). One approach to SCI focuses on suppliers and issues with their supplies; another focuses on procurement issues like purchase prices. These provide good visibility into the supply side of the chain, but tend to ignore the demand side.
In manufacturing companies, most supply chain issues relate to the production of a product. Thus, manufacturers need to analyze their supply chain with a focus on life cycle stages of a product. On the supply side of the chain, raw materials, components and subassemblies are analyzed in the context of the products they complete, not as isolated supplies. On the demand side, many quality and compatibility issues are unknown until a product enters life cycle stages involving distribution and use by end consumers.
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