The current economic framework implies for companies to adapt to continuous changing competitive conditions. In this context, effective management of the supply chain is a basic strategy to ensure the competitiveness of enterprises.
Logistics management is a key function to respond to a fundamental challenge of business management in the new framework of the XXI century: quality service to customers with a cost-effective structure.
The comprehensive management of the supply chain is a phenomenon that, at present, companies are trying to apply in their daily activity. In fact, it is considered a key factor in order to obtain competitive advantages, both via reduction costs and by offering better service to customers.
Companies no longer compete with production centers, trying to get the higher quality products at lower costs: what differentiates a company from its competitors it is rather how they manage their respective supply chains. Obtaining a sustainable competitive advantage by integrating the chain supply will require a continuous flow of information between the links composing the chain so that activities will not be carried out in an isolated way but will be coordinated, which will allow the whole organization to achieve a number of benefits.
The analysis showed that many Spanish companies experience increasing difficulties in responding to these demands.
The main objective of the project was to analyse and develop collaborative models all along the supply chain based on the application of emerging philosophies and technologies in the field of logistics and integrated networks.
In order to achieve this main objective, the following topics were faced:
- State-of-the-art in the Supply Chain Management (SCM)
- State-of-the-art of ICT related with SCM
- Identifying gaps and areas for improvement
- Identification of best practices
- Identifying excellent cases
- Design of new relationship models
Guidelines were developed and made available to companies for an integrated
management of their supply chains.
As in the intentions of the project’s promoters, companies taking as reference throughout their supply chain the relationship model developed in the project have been favoured in competing with other companies, differentiating themselves from competitors by using new and innovative tools.
In this sense, using new information technologies and communication in order to manage the supply chain holistically and adopting best practices and collaborative relationships with other agents, allowed to reduce logistics and transportation costs as well as to provide a higher quality of service to their customers.