Supply chain management is the coordination of efforts of a network of vendors that provides materials and components for a company’s products. Supply chain management primarily takes place in manufacturing companies such as Chrysler, Sony, and Boeing. Of course, no two companies operate the same way, so supply chain management practices vary greatly — even for companies in the same industry. For example, a company at the cutting edge of technology tends to look for a supply chain that has very short lead times (the time to make and deliver a product), whereas a company whose products have many competitors needs a supply chain that focuses on cost reduction. The methods described in this book are representative of many companies, but there are always exceptions to the rule. One of the exciting aspects of Supply Chain Management is that it is a dynamic field. There are constant innovations being made such as RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and Vendor Managed Inventory, and the globalization of the economy continues to have a significant impact on the industry.