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"The strategic fit discussed in Chapter 2 requires that a company achieve the balance between responsiveness and efficiency in its supply chain that best meets the needs of the company's competitive strategy. To understand how a company can improve supply chain performance in terms of responsiveness and efficiency, we must examine the four drivers of supply chain performance: facilities, inventory, transportation, and information. These drivers not only determine whether strategic fit is achieved across the supply chain. First we define each driver and discuss its impact on the performance of the supply chain. 1. Facilities are the places in the supply chain network where product is stored, assembled, or fabricated. The two major types of facilities are production sites and storage sites. Whatever the function of the facility, decisions regarding location, capacity, and flexibility of facilities have a significant impact on the supply chain's performance. For instance, an auto parts distributor striving for responsiveness could have many warehousing facilities located close to customers even though this practice reduces efficiency. Alternatively, a high-efficiency distributor would have fewer warehouses to increase efficiency despite the fact that this practice will reduce responsiveness. 2. Inventory is all raw materials, work in process, and finished goods within a supply chain. Inventory is an important supply chain. Inventory is an important supply chain driver because changing inventory policies can dramatically alter the supply chain's efficiency and responsiveness. For example, a clothing retailer can make itself more responsive by stocking large amounts of inventory. With a larger inventory, the likelihood is high that the retailer can immediately satisfy customer demand with clothes from its floor. Reducing inventory will make the retailer more efficient but will hurt its responsiveness. 3. Transportation entails moving inventory from point to point in the supply chain. Transportation can take the form of many combinations of modes and routes, each with its own performance characteristics. Transportation choices have a large impact on supply chain responsiveness and efficiency. For example, a mail order catalog company can use a faster mode of transportation like FedEx to ship products, thus making their supply chain more responsive but also less efficient given the high costs associated with FedEx. Or the company can use slower but cheaper ground transportation to chip the product, making the supply chain efficient but limiting its responsiveness. 4. Information consists of data and analysis concerning facilities, inventory, transportation, and customers throughout the supply chain. Information is potentially the biggest driver of performance in the supply chain as it directly affects each of the other drivers. Information presents management with the opportunity to make supply chains more responsive and efficient. For example, with information on customer demand patterns, a pharmaceutical company can produce and stock drugs in anticipation of customer demand, which makes the supply chain very responsive because customers will find the drugs they need when they need them. This demand information can also make the supply chain more efficient by providing managers with shipping options, for instance, that allow them to choose the lowest cost alternative while still meeting the necessary service requirements."

Fonte: Chopra, Sunil e Meindl, Peter (2004) Supply Chain Management: Strategy, Planning, and Operation, Pearson-Prentice Hall, pp. 51-53.


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