Sign of the times: Supply chain economy

The global supply chain has seen massive changes over the years. Advancements in technology changed business operations with respect to logistics and supply chain management including distribution, inventory management, and data collection. From rudimentary preindustrial handling to ocean trade vessels, and from innovative shipping containers to computerization and records management, global supply chains are more complex and more efficient than they’ve ever been.

Background

The term “supply chain” was only recently established as part of the globalization of manufacturing from the 1990s, however, its history dates back much further. In early times, transportation was basic with limited proximity. Goods were put together close to their raw source and maintained a rather direct distribution route to the end user. Given high costs and long-distances, trade was often limited to highly valuable items like spices, weapons, and luxury items. With more limited distances, sourcing, and engineering possibilities, disruptions were somewhat minimal. From early trade ships and the utilization of railroads to new technological shifts and mechanized processing, the supply chain has undergone life-changing developments allowing for an ever-expansive ripple.

 

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