Supply chain management (SCM) is one of the manyfrequent phrases we encountered in the business section, asmanagers strive to develop better factory performance andsmoother flow of its supply chain. Whether one take morefocus on an element of the supply chain to improve the wholelike a good supplier management, one must also haveconcurrent efforts for the other aspects, including delivering ofmaterials to customers 1. The relationships between eachelement and well-coordinated set of business processes areimportant to set up the supply chain. To get the right decisionsand integrations based on different kind of departments, aimingto create a holistic supply chain management, theunderstanding of the fundamental blocks behind SCM isneeded.
2Young firms nowadays are able to catch up with theprogress of companies with more than 50 years history ismainly due to the concept of collaborative relationships withinand beyond their organizations. This is evidently also involvedthe interest in the concept of supply chain management, whichhas steadily increased since the 1980s when companies saw the benefits of those collaborative relationships. At that time,numerous definitions of supply chain itself had been proposedfor a deeper evaluation concerning its management 3. TheGlobal Supply Chain Forum (GSCF), a group of noncompetingfirms and a team of academic researchers, has beenmeeting regularly for the past more than 10 years with theobjective to improve the theory and practice of SCM. Thedefinition of SCM as developed and used by The GSCF is asfollows 4:’Supply Chain Management is the integration of keybusiness processes from end user through original suppliersthat provides products, services, and information that addvalue for customers and other stakeholders.’With that, the concept of supply chain management isrevised from not only integrating logistics into it, but alsointegrating and managing key business processes, such asmarketing across the supply chain as well 4. This degree ofcomplexity required to manage is the one of the keys success inthe current business models emphasized today’s world.
Toreach a higher level of managing these complex processes, abetter tool and system is acquired, which mostly currentbusiness firms refer as information system.During recent years, the industry, politics, culture, socialorder and business models have been redefined bycomputerization and globalization. Globalization refers toultimately integrate economic and cultural institutions. Thisintegration occurs as a result of the use of informationtechnology (IT). The technological revolution presupposesglobal computerized networks and the free undertaking ofgoods, information, and people across national boundaries.
5In the corporate world, information technology is one of theleading roles in competitive advantages that companies rely onto compete from others. Likewise, this can be seen in a recentstudy conducted by Forrester Research indicates that U.S.manufacturers are increasingly dependent on the supportbrought about by IT to: improve supply chain agility, reducecycle time, achieve higher efficiency, and deliver products tocustomers in a timely manner 6.
To make use of information technology for SCM is bysetting up the right information system. The proper applicationof information systems and technologies may alter thecharacteristic features of the present supply chain structure with its focus on efficient supply chain integration. Informationsystems can provide the best medium for a more efficient andeffective supply chain because it can provide productinformation, inventory information, shipping information, anddemand-forecasting information on a real-time basis.
By usinginformation system, the ‘pull’ supply chain management apossibility as it can link each function in the supply chainaccording to the customer demand preferences 7.Dell, General Electric, Cisco, Ford, and other companieshave claimed significant benefits through the use of Webapplications in their supply-chain management (SCM)function. Therefore, it is not unexpected that more firms aredeploying Web-based business-to-business (B2B) SCMsystems, especially in the areas of e-procurement and esourcingEven though the benefits of Web technologies in theSCM function are well recognized, the implementation of Webtechnologies and systems is challenging 8.With the growing business firms in Malaysia adoptinginformation technologies and systems to enhance their businessmodel performances, what impact would they hope to achieve?Which aspect in the supply chain had given the biggest concernfor the need of improvement with the utilization of informationsystems? This paper primarily expressed on the definition andconcept of SCM, the evolution of SCM in relation with theemergent of information technology. Also, by going in depthwith how IT affects SCM of a few business companies inMalaysia may give a fresh look on the reliance of supply chainin Malaysia on the growth of IT.