The 5 Essential Elements of Supply Chains

supply chain management

It is not enough to manufacture a good product in today's world. Organisations must leverage their supply chain management strengths to stay relevant in the industry. Present-day businesses mint profit by increasing the efficiency of their supply chain system.

A supply chain system is a network of activities which starts from sourcing the right vendors with calculated inventory management and routes through different production processes. It finally culminates with delivering the product on time to its end customer through a series of distribution networks.

The whole cluster of activities is controlled through automation. If you want to leverage the perks of a lucrative future, you can seek a career in supply chain management (SCM).

Benefits of Supply Chain Management

The usefulness of supply chain management is multifold. Some of the key benefits are listed below –

  • The supply chain system is pivoted around data-based planning. The model is flexible and can successfully accommodate sudden changes in business parameters.
  • The supply chain network works on time-tested history data. Thus, a big pool of information helps the system work effectively.
  • Inventory management is simplified through the modern supply chain system that automatically generates re-order levels or excess inventory alerts. Thus, the cost of inventory can be controlled.
  • Supply chain management has revolutionised the logistics and transportation system and the way the cargo is handled. Quick return of faulty or damaged products is another modern-day feature that has added reliability to the business.
  • The supply chain system enables organisations to manage risk. Its advanced alert system helps handle and mitigate business risks effectively.
  • A factor which makes a difference is the delivery time. The supply chain system has greatly improved the response time to end customers by a huge margin than earlier conventional systems.
  • The predictive analysis model is another key benefit of using a supply chain system. This model helps the organisation choose the right business with innovative products and discard the age-old obsolete ones.
  • The supply chain system provides transparent communication to all stakeholders, quickening the process and making it error-free.
  • Supply chain systems increase the productivity of organisations.
  • SCM deals with predictive analysis models on new or innovative products and enables the organisation to decide on the same. 

Five Essential Elements of Supply Chain Management

Though there are quite a few elements in supply chain management, we shall discuss the five most important ones here. They are as follows – 

1. Integration

Seamless collaboration and communication between different supply chain stakeholders, like vendors, distributors, etc., and within the primary manufacturer's different functional wings and departments is crucial. This error-free and transparent process is known as integration. 

2. Operations

The most important functionality of a supply chain is operations. The operation provides accurate information regarding an organisation’s inventory position, backlog orders and real-time production schedules & production and distribution forecast.

Operations help the business to detect the upcoming probable challenges or risks. The system works towards mitigating the same to make the process smoother and increase profit.

The operational efficiency of a supply chain improves the profitability of the organisation. It makes the supervisor’s work easier by helping him determine and optimise resources for each production sequence. 

3. Purchasing 

Procurement of raw materials, finished components and specialised services is an integral part of production. Procurement also determines what goods, equipment and services must be available internally for the organisation. These constitute the purchasing function of the supply chain system.

This function is important because sourcing good raw materials ensures better quality products. This function utilises the demand forecast capability of the supply chain to optimise procurement and save enormously in inventory, thereby saving on cost.

4. Distribution 

Another important function of the supply chain system is distribution. The ordered products or services should reach end customers within a committed time. Successful accomplishment in this function brings satisfaction to the client. Return of wrong or damaged products and re-delivery of the correct ones are also functions of the distribution system. 

Logistics plays an important role in this function. There is always room to optimise and improve upon the existing logistics network. An efficient distribution system brings in customer delight. 

5. Innovation

With all the above elements in place, proper planning and innovation is the game changer for an organisation. Innovation may be applied to any or all the four elements: integration, operations, purchasing and distribution. The sole purpose is to bring down the overall cost and cycle time, thereby generating a profit and creating a happy customer base. 

Career in Supply Chain Management

Today’s market is highly competitive. To sustain, companies prefer to hire qualified supply chain managers, who play pivotal roles in moving goods while keeping the environmental impacts in mind. With the introduction of artificial intelligence and blockchain, a career in supply chain management has become extremely lucrative for today’s young professionals, both in terms of compensation and excitement.

After completing an undergraduate degree, an aspirant must complete a supply chain management course from a reputed institute. Core subjects include Financial Accounting, Marketing Management, Financial Accounting, Organisational Behaviour, Economics, Statistics, Corporate Communication, Cost Accounting and Human Resource Management. The elective or specialisation subjects are Principles of SCM and Logistics, International Trade, Warehouse Management, Inventory Management, Operations, Product and Brand Management, etc.

Any candidate with an undergraduate degree can enrol in the supply chain course. However, a Commerce graduate with a tech-savvy attitude or a software engineer with an affinity for business, finance and commerce will be prospective recruiters' preferred candidate.

After completing a supply chain course, a prospective candidate may apply for professional opportunities in the domestic or overseas port sectors and dockyards. They also have vast scope in import-export companies and SCM logistics or warehousing companies.


This field will enable an aspirant to choose a modern and tech-savvy career in the present-day world. Logistics, operations, procurement, warehousing, logistics and distribution network management are some functional fields an aspirant may choose from. The career is challenging but highly rewarding, as well. 

The Advanced Certificate In Supply Chain Management And Analytics at Imarticus, offered in collaboration with CEC, IIT Roorkee, will give prospective candidates a perfect career start. The duration of this supply chain management course is 6 months.

Visit the official site for more course-related details.

Share This Post

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

More To Explore

Our Programs

Do You Want To Boost Your Career?

drop us a message and keep in touch