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Supply Chain Management: What is it?

The concept of supply chain management was invented in the 1980s at Chrysler Corp. by top buyer Thomas Stallkamp. who remains an active member of PURCHASING magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board. “We redefined purchasing from buyers of parts to professionals that managed material flow from extraction of the raw materials to the scheduling of final assembly.” says Stallkamp. “I even had the lift truck operators reporting to purchasing.”

His ideas helped lead Chrysler out of financial disaster into a model of success. The shock troops of SCM were?and are today?suppliers who become long-term partners and integral parts of design and product development. In Stallkamp’s world . the suppliers’ role was an extreme case due to financial necessity. Suppliers designed the highly successful Viper composite car because Chrysler had virtually no development money. Stallkamp’s buyers picked the players and managed the process.

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