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attainment of its strategic objectives. Although these descriptions are useful, it is important to realize that the practice of purchasing and supply management is changing rapidly (Chopra, 2003).Supply chain management appears in current dialogue as relatively new terminology, but definitions of what it encompasses are, at best, vague. Barkema (1997) suggested that the development of an idea of the supply chain owes much to the emergence from the 1950s onwards of systems theory and the associated notion of holism. This may be summarised by the observation that the behavior of a complex system cannot be understood completely by the segregated analysis of its constituent parts. However, Beverland (2002) suggested the use of this idea in regard to supply chains is neither consistent nor straightforward. New also argued that the supply chain metaphor is used in many ways, but three meanings dominate the discussion: supply chain from the perspective of an individual firm. supply chain related to a particular product or item (such as the supply chain for beef, or cocaine, or oil). and supply chain used as a handy synonym for purchasing, distribution, and materials management (Larson, 1998). Supply chain management can mean any one of these things, but one aspect is certain: Purchasing and/or outsourcing activity is being undertaken (Barkema, 1997). Beverland (2002) suggested that supply chain management is an integrative philosophy used to manage the total flow through a distribution channel from the supplier to the ultimate user. Another definition is the management of a chain or of operations and centers through which supplies move from the source of supply to the final customer or point of use (Chng, 2000). In essence, the supply chain starts with the extraction of raw material (or origination of raw concepts for services), and each link in the chain processes the material or the concept in some way or supports this processing. The supply chain thus extends from the raw material extraction or raw concept origination through many processes to the ultimate sale of the final product, whether goods or services, to the consumer.

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