Evolution of Supply Chain Management

Evolution of Supply Chain Management






July 28, 2020

Supply chain network Management Strategy and Capabilities evolved from primitive to esoteric in the four decades since the mid-1970.

In the initial phase (pre-1950), there was no need of any strategy for supply chains. In the decade that followed, supply chain strategy focused only on the overall profitability of the business.

Supply Chain strategy came into real existence only after the Materials requirements Planning revolution of the 1980s. Companies became aware of the growing material scarcity and started optimizing resources. Strategic activities were in the hands of a few key people in the organization. Strategic planning was highly inefficient due to a lack of data in a standard format. Planning was done without addressing ground-level problems.

The MRP revolution evolved into Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) during the 1980s and the 1990s.

The strategy was based on the “PUSH” model. Enterprise-wide supply chains were capable of collectively forecasting the supply and demand levels.

The 1990s and early 2000s’ ERP revolution led to a migration from a PUSH model to a PULL methodology (build-to demand). Globalization and a search for cheaper locations led to manufacturing outsourcing. The introduction of Just-in-Time (JIT), Lean management manufacturing and Kanban by Japan, widely adopted in the west, led to flexibility in production.

Finally, businesses started to take an external view with the help of strategic partners and a focus on customers. Customer satisfaction became one of the criteria to decide supply chain success, leading to managing total cost and life cycle alliances. Faster and more precise operational response provided the capability to meet customer demands (time and reliability).

During the 2000s and into the present decade, trading partners and suppliers collectively developed innovative ways to reach customers. This led to logistics outsourcing and evolution of 4PLs. The supply system adopted organization alignment towards rapid innovation, and there was a quick introduction of new products. Emphasis on rapid decision making and fast response changed supply chains into supply network systems.

Copyright - These concepts, frameworks and ideas are copyright of GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN GROUP from the time of their creation. Do NOT copy these without permission and proper attribution.


  1. These ideas and concepts will be usually expressed by our thought leaders in multiple forums - conferences, speeches, books, reports, workshops, webinars, videos and training. You may have heard us say the same thing before.
  2. The date shown above the article refers to the day when this article was updated. This blog post or article may have been written anytime prior to that date. 
  3. All anecdotes are based on true stories to highlight the key points of the article - some details are changed to protect identification of the parties involved. 
  4. You are encouraged to comment below - your real identity and email will not be revealed when your comment is displayed.  Insightful comments will be  featured, and will win a copy of one of our books. Please keep the comments relevant, decorous and respectful of everyone. All comments represent opinions of the commentators.


Our Quick Notes On Five Flows Of Supply Chain Management

Part of our new “Quick Notes” series – this report answers your most pertinent questions of the topic.

  • What are the five flows of SCM?
  • Why are they important TO YOU?
  • How can you map, track, and optimise these flows to serve YOU?
  • What is the importance of difference between "Supply Chain" and "Value Chain"?
  • What are the stellar case studies of each of the five flows?


USD 20


Are Good Business Transformation People Worth Their Weight in Gold?
The Unexpected Beneficiary of President Trump’s Tariffs
What Else Exists Besides The Product Flow In The Supply Chain?
How You Measure Success of Your S&OP Determines Success of Your Company?
Are Corporations Effectively Powerless Against The Booming Shipping Container Freight Rates?
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}