A supply chain is the network of all individuals, organizations, resources, technology and activities involved in the creation and sale of product, from the delivery of raw materialsfrom the supplier to the manufacturer, to the delivery of the finished product to the end users. The segment of the supply chain involved with sourcing the finished product from the manufacturer to the end user is called the distribution channel.
An efficient supply chain begins with the ecological, biological, and political regulation of natural resources, followed by human extraction of all raw materials, and involves several production links such as component construction, merging and assembly before moving to layers of storage facilities of ever-decreasing size increasingly remote geographical areas,and finally reaching the consumer.
Many exchanges involved in the supply chain are therefore between different companies that are seeking to increase their revenue within their sphere of interest, but may not have any interest or knowledge of the remaining players in the supply chain. In recent times, the loosely coupled, self-organizing network of businesses that work together to make products and services available are known as Extended Enterprise.
Several big companies and multinationals are integrating codes of conduct and guidelines into their management systems and corporate cultures as part of their efforts to demonstrate ethical practices. Corporations are making demands on their suppliers which include facilities, farms, subcontracted services like cleaning, canteen, security, etc. Such corporations verify through social audits that they are complying with the required standards. Some supply chains lack transparency a condition known as mystification, which prevents consumers from gaining the knowledge of the companies where their purchases originated from and can enable socially irresponsible capitalists’ practices.
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