Dec. 21, 2004

"The right thing in the right place, at the right time, and in the right amount." So goes the creed of the traditional supply-chain manager. The manager of tomorrow, considering the entire value chain, won't have to ask what the right thing is. "In simplest terms, a value chain is the entire production process of a manufactured good from beginning to end, regardless of which firm owns any particular value-adding step," explains IW Editor-in-Chief John Brandt. "The value chain encompasses not only your suppliers and your suppliers' suppliers, but your customers and your customers' customers as well." The extended enterprises that take full advantage of this strategy will share planning, inventory, human resources, and even corporate culture. Managing communication flow upstream and downstream, information technology will link it all together. That's the future. Presently, according to a 1997 supply-chain management survey by Deloitte Consulting, a full three-quarters of manufacturers are not satisfied with their existing supply-chain information systems. Improving those systems is respondents' No. 1 supply-chain priority, ahead of employee training, process reengineering, supplier and customer partnerships, and outsourcing. Charts: U.S. Manufacturing Extension Partnerships By State Leading U.S. Long-Distance Service Providers World's Top 25 Airlines & Leading Airlines By Freight Company Top 50 U.S. Motor Carriers Third-Party Logistics Suppliers International Freight And Passenger Transport Top 25 Investor-Owned Utility Companies Top 25 Publicly-Owned Electric Systems U.S. Power Marketers International Electricity Costs

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