Collaborative Design for a Build-To-Order Term Paper

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" (Brown, 1996, p. 74)

That potential of globalization can be attributed directly to the current business processes working to its fullest capabilities. Some may think that these trends towards globalization are new to the twentieth or twenty-first centuries. In a sense that is true because of the fact that our current globalization phenomenon can be linked with the advent of our new technology, financial methods and distribution channels to any point on the globe. However, globalization is technically not a new process that was created in or by our current digital and information revolution. Actually, not even the industrial revolution can be credited with the idea of globalization because the concept originated even before Christopher Columbus or Marco Polo. (Employees, 2005)

World trade has linked disparate locations into highly complex and extensive systems of finance, communication, migration, and other interconnections for thousands of years. Some of these events have been traced back to the earliest documented histories of man such as the Neolithic cultures of the ancient Middle East and China. These cultures already had strong and proficient trade routes that can be compared to build to order supply chain processes and these should be considered to be the true forerunners of modern day globalization.

Build to order supply chain management and collaborative processes therefore were linked with these historically sound trade systems. but, today's supply chain processes and systems have the ability to take advantage of the physical expansion of the global market process where a billion dollars can be moved electronically in milliseconds. Supply chain management alters and can even eliminate the barriers of an organization's view of the geographical domain. These processes today provide opportunities to increase the scales or volume of global resources so business entities can establish the needed interconnectivity of localities that span the day-to-day social, economic, cultural, and political aspects of the communities being served.

The small differences between modern day opportunities and the historical ones are only tied to the scales of the scenarios. For example, standards of a global trade for ancient Rome or Mesopotamia may have required their own version of a build to order supply chain process but it may not have traversed the large land masses of the time because of limited technology. Today we have at our disposal airplanes, ocean transports, satellite communications, the Internet and cell phones and these are all but a basic foundation of a collaborative build to order supply chain process that can have the ability to move our goods and services to the consumer whether that location is in or out of our locale.

Definition

Various organizations approach the underlying progression of build to order supply chain management through different strategic or tactical modeling paradigms. Consider that in some organizations a process may not be fully supported by the various organizational functions such as logistics or sales or the overall management team; yet, in other business settings or scenarios the supply chain management process may the underlying foundation of the entire organization. Each company also has its own philosophy towards collaborative approaches.

Consider that skepticism or a lack of faith may keep a company from interacting electronically with certain vendors while at the same time other industries or companies do all they can to establish communicative links with vendors and suppliers. So, because each organization may approach the process of supply chain management differently, it is critical to first define the concept in order to carry this project further. With this in mind, this report assumes that a build to order supply chain process is one where an organization establishes a systematic approach for designing, engineering, marketing or manufacturing their products and services to and for consumers as well as having the functional processes for receiving resources and supplies from vendors and suppliers.

This also entails that the supply chain must be a collaborative process that fully integrates partners, suppliers and other external vendors in order to help organizations become cost effective, timely, and reliable. Basically, creating electronic communicative links should be seen as the build to order process that reduces the levels of uncertainty in the long run while enhancing the operating environment through the employing of information systems and business processes. The overall objective therefore would be to make an organization and its underlying functions as efficient as possible in their allocation of key resources, assets and outputs for the goods and services they produce or provide.

Based on this definition, it becomes clear that firms need to concentrate on their core competencies in order for them to take advantage of the integration of their internal business processes and information flows in addition to their external contacts. Companies must work at getting the most from these core competencies in order to maximize their overall competitive position as it pertains to the big picture. Management must fully grasp the needs and expectations of the customers, shareholders and stakeholders. Therefore, in order to accomplish these demands, companies must interconnect certain aspects of their businesses and this is would be the true build to order supply chain system.

First, the design and engineering system of all products and services must be integrated so that they create products and services that are needed and desired by the organization's customers. This engineering function entails the physical products, the manufacturing of these products as well as the final delivery systems: all need to be efficient and well engineered. Once the products are produced and ready for delivery, it is taken for granted that they can be sold. To avoid this oversight, the build to order supply chain process must also incorporate the marketing function. An organization's objectives must be centered on the consumer and stakeholder markets for the products and services.

The management system of an organization is a crucial part of any supply chain function. This is because the management's role is to plan, control, and provide a conducive reward system that ensures that all areas of the operations are designed to function smoothly and to be efficient. Management must fully understand the needs of their consumer markets for the products and services they offer so that they are in a better position to provide for those needs. Far too often, organizations do not create a need in the mind's of their customer for the company's goods or services which then reduces demand. In a sound build to order supply chain process, the marketing function is incorporated to create an expectations within the customer base.

Two other functions that are critical to a successful supply chain process are the overall manufacturing systems and the logistics system. This is because the manufacturing processes has to function to a point where it creates the products in a viable cost effective manner and the logistics process efficiently utilizes the raw materials and components provided by the supply chain partnerships, provides outlets for the finished goods for consumers and does all of this in a timely and cost effective manner. In there efforts to cut costs, business philosophies such as just in time shipping and other inbound and outbound logistics processes have been highly successful.

Organizations have become extremely proficient with their outbound loads. Out bound logistics could be considered as the foundation of companies taking charge of the supply chain and transportation management processes which helped these operations merge or consolidate factory or other third-party materials into single pre-scheduled deliveries for customers. The processes also helped reduce the associated costs and provided more efficient delivery systems. In turn, companies were beginning to notice the results of the control of the supply train as improved delivery times to customers ironically led to better control and entire trip order tracking options. Whole industries have announced that their shipping capabilities have become so efficient that deliver to anywhere in the United States in two or less days is now feasible.

Logistics outsourcing was actually more prevalent for the inbound side. "Logistics professionals at manufacturing and distribution companies don't have the tools to meet all of the challenges supply chain management throws in their path. Reluctantly at first, logistics executives adopted outsourcing and broadened the scope of logistics functions handled by third party logistics companies (3PL), now one of the most powerful weapons in the logistics arsenal." (Trunick)

The problem was that in many scenarios, inbound freight was typically handled by the suppliers and therefore those deliveries were not in the direct control of companies. To enhance the supply chain function, companies have discovered that controlling inbound logistics in the same way as outbound distribution has offered new savings or benefits. The TMS software industry has attempted…[continue]

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