The frequency with which the term supply chain management (SCM) is used in today's supply management environment would lead the casual observer to conclude that SCM is a well understood concept accompanied by an accepted set of managerial practices. In reality, definitions of and approaches to SCM vary substantially from firm to firm and even from manager to manager within the same firm. While most purchasing and supply managers can, and do, quote the familiar supply chain mantra of "suppliers' supplier to customers' customer," few organizations are actually engaged in such extensive supply chain integration. Separating the rhetoric from the reality is one of the central goals of the ongoing Center for Advanced Purchasing Studies' (CAPS) focus study, "Achieving World-Class Supply Chain Alignment," due to be completed by year's end.
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