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Logistics & Supply Chain

A supply chain consists of all parties involved, directly or indirectly, in fulfilling a customer´s request. The supply chain not only includes the manufacturer and suppliers, but also transporters, warehouses, retailers, and customers themselves. Within each organization, such as manufacturer, the supply chain includes all functions involved in receiving and filling a customer request. These functions include, but are not limited to, new product development, marketing, operations, distribution, finance, and customer service.

Consider a customer walking into a Wal-Mart store to purchase detergent. The supply chain begins with the customer and their need for detergent. The next stage of this supply chain is the Wal-Mart retail store that the customer visits. Wal-Mart stocks its shelves using inventory that may have been supplied from a finished-goods warehouse that Wal-Mart manages or from a distributor using trucks supplied by a third party. The distributor in turn is stocked by the manufacturer (say Procter & Gamble [P&G] in this case). The P&G manufacturing plant receives raw material from a variety of suppliers who may themselves have been supplied by lower tier suppliers. For example, packaging material may come from Tenneco packaging while Tenneco receives raw materials to manufacture the packaging from other suppliers.

A supply chain is dynamic and involves the constant flow of information, product, and funds between different stages. In our example, Wal-Mart provides the product, as well as pricing and availability information, to the customer. The customer transfers funds to Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart conveys point-of-sales data as well as replenishment order via trucks back to the store. Wal-Mart transfers funds to the distributor after the replenishment. The distributor also provides pricing information and sends delivery schedules to Wal-Mart. Similar information, material, and fund flows take place across the entire supply chain.

In another example, when a customer purchases online from Dell Computer, the supply chain includes, among others, the customer, Dell´s Web site that takes the customer´s order, the Dell assembly plant, and all of Dell´s suppliers and their suppliers. The Web site provides the customer with information regarding pricing, product variety,and product availability. Having made a product choice, the customer enters the site to check the status of the order. Stages further up the supply chain use customer order information to fill the order. That process involves an additional flow of information, product, and funds between various stages of the supply chain.

These examples illustrate that the customer is an integral part of the supply chain. The primary purpose from the existence of any supply chain is to satisfy customer needs, in the process generating profits for itself. Supply chain activities begin with a customer order and end when a satisfied customer has paid for his or her purchase. The term supply chain conjures up images of product or supply moving from suppliers to manufacturers to distributors to retailers to customers along a chain. It is important to visualize information, funds, and product flows along both directions of this chain. The term supply chain may also imply that only one player is involved at each stage. In reality, a manufacturer may receive material from several suppliers and then supply several distributors. Thus, most supply chains are actually networks. It may be more accurate to use the term supply network or supply web to describe the structure of most supply chains.

A typical supply chain may involve a variety of stages. These supply chain stages include:
Component/Raw material suppliers

Each stage need not be presented in a supply chain. The appropriate design of the supply chain will depend on both the customer´s needs and the roles of the stages involved. In some cases, such as Dell, a manufacturer may fill customer orders directly. Dell builds-to-order; that is, a customer order initiates manufacturing at Dell. Dell does not have a retailer, wholesaler, or distributor in its supply chain. In other cases, such as the mail order company L.L. Bean, manufacturers do not respond to customer orders directly. In this case, L.L. Bean maintains an inventory or product from which they fill customer orders. Compared to the Dell supply chain, the L.L. Bean supply chain contains an extra stage (the retailer, L.L.Bean itself) between the customer and the manufacturer. In the case of other retail stores, the supply chain may also contain a wholesaler or distributor between the store and the manufacturer.

Finance, Banking & Insurance

The financial industry, or financial services industry, includes a wide range of companies and institutions involved with money, including businesses providing money management, lending, investing, insuring and securities issuance and trading services. The following institutions are a part of the financial industry:

Credit card issuers
Insurance companies
Investment bankers
Securities traders
Financial Planners
Security exchanges

Financial Industry: Demand and Supply Drivers

Demand for financial products are driven by risk-reward assessments, which consider:
Potential Yield
Risk rating
Availability of information
Access to alternatives

The major supply drivers are:
Money supply
Interest rates
Economic conditions
Government regulations

Financial Industry: Major Players According to the Global 2000 (annual report by Forbes), seven of the world´s top 10 companies belonged to the financial industry. These included Citigroup, Bank of America, HSBC Holdings and JPMorgan Chase. Their combined revenues in 2007 were worth $645 billion, down from the 2006 high of $785 billion.

According to the Fortune 500 rankings, in 2006 financial services generated $257 billion in profits, a third of total Fortune 500 profits. In 2008, however, they lost a staggering $213 billion, a total swing of $470 billion. Big players on the list, such as Citigroup and Bank of America, may only be alive today thanks to government money.

The finance industry is an industry in itself as well as an ancillary that supports other industries. Trade and commerce across the world would come to a standstill if there was no means to fund, pay and protect the transactions, hence the need for governments to support the financial services industry when companies that are “too big to fail” are close to collapse.

Pharmaceutical, Healthcare & Clinical

The global pharmaceuticals market is worth US$300 billion a year, a figure expected to rise to US$400 billion within three years. The 10 largest drugs companies control over one-third of this market, several with sales of more than US$10 billion a year and profit margins of about 30%. Six are based in the United States and four in Europe. It is predicted that North and South America, Europe and Japan will continue to account for a full 85% of the global pharmaceuticals market well into the 21st century. Companies currently spend one-third of all sales revenue on marketing their products - roughly twice what they spend on research and development.

As a result of this pressure to maintain sales, there is now, in WHO's words, “an inherent conflict of interest between the legitimate business goals of manufacturers and the social, medical and economic needs of providers and the public to select and use drugs in the most rational way”. This is particularly true where drugs companies are the main source of information as to which products are most effective. Even in the United Kingdom, where the medical profession receives more independent, publicly-funded information than in many other countries, promotional spending by pharmaceuticals companies is 50 times greater than spending on public information on health.

To tackle this problem, the World Health Assembly adopted, in 1988, the WHO Ethical Criteria for Medicinal Drug Promotion, dedicated to the rational use of drugs. However, many observers complain that these guidelines have been largely disregarded - as has the voluntary Code of Pharmaceutical Practices developed by the industry's own International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Associations (Pharma).

A similar conflict of interests exists in the area of drug research and development (R&D) particularly in the area of neglected diseases. The private sector dominates R&D, spending millions of dollars each year developing new drugs for the mass market. The profit imperative ensures that the drugs chosen for development are those most likely to provide a high return on the company's investment. As a result, drugs for use in the industrialized world are prioritized over ones for use in the South, where many patients would be unable to pay for them.

Some large pharmaceutical companies support health development through public-private partnerships. In a number of cases, international corporations and foundations have contributed drugs or products free of charge to help in disease eradication. SmithKline Beecham has made a US$500 million commitment to WHO of its drug albendazole, used to treat lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis). American Home Products has provided a non-toxic larvicide and the DuPont Company has contributed free cloth water filters for the eradication of guinea-worm disease (dracunculiasis). The Japanese Nippon Foundation has enabled WHO to supply blister packs containing the drugs needed for multi-drug therapy (MDT) of TB in sufficient quantities to treat about 800 000 patients a year in some 35 countries. The patients receive the treatments free of charge.


The branch of manufacture and trade based on the fabrication, processing, or preparation of products from raw materials and commodities. This includes all foods, chemicals, textiles, machines, and equipment. This includes all refined metals and minerals dirrived from extracted ores. This includes all lumber, wood, and pulp products.

Manufacturing Industry Categories:

Apparel Industry : All establishments producing clothing and fabricating products by cutting and sewing purchased woven or knit textile fabrics and related materials, such as leather, rubberized fabrics, plastics, and furs. This does not include knitting mills or custom tailors and dressmakers
Chemical and Allied Industry : All establishments producing basic chemicals, and establishments manufacturing products by predominantly chemical processes. This does not include the mining of natural chemicals and fertilizers see Mining and Quarrying of Nonmetallic Minerals), nor does it include establishments primarily engaged in packaging, repackaging and bottling purchased chemical products.
Electronic and Electrical Equipment Industry : All establishments engaged in manufacturing machinery, apparatus, and supplies for the generation, storage, transmission, transformation, and utilization of electrical energy. This does not include industrial machinery and equipment powered by built-in or detachable electric motors.
Fabricated Metal Industry : All establishments engaged in fabricating ferrous and nonferrous metal products, such as metal cans, tinware, handtools, cutlery, general hardware, nonelectric heating apparatus, fabricated structural metal products, metal forgings, metal stampings, and a variety of metal and wire products not elsewhere classified.
Food and Kindred Industry : All establishments manufacturing or processing foods and beverages for human consumption, and certain related products, such as manufactured ice, chewing gum, vegetable and animal fats and oils, and prepared feeds for animals and fowls. This does not include chemical sweeteners.
Furniture and Fixtures Industry : All establishments engaged in manufacturing household, office, public building, and restaurant furniture; and office and store fixtures. This does not include establishments engaged in the production of millwork or wood kitchen cabinets those manufacturing cut stone and concrete furniture those manufacturing hospital furniture other than beds.
Industrial and Commercial Machinery Industry : All establishments engaged in manufacturing industrial and commercial machinery and equipment and computers. This includes machines powered by built-in or detachable motors, with the exception of electrical household appliances. This includes power-driven handtools, but does not include other electrical equipment.
Leather Industry : All establishments engaged in tanning, currying, and finishing hides and skins, leather converters, and establishments manufacturing finished leather and artificial leather products and some similar products made of other materials.
Lumber and Wood Industry : All establishments engaged in cutting timber and pulpwood; mills engaged in producing lumber and wood basic materials; and establishments engaged in manufacturing finished articles made entirely or mainly of wood or related materials. This does not include furniture and office and store fixtures, musical instruments, toys and playground equipment, and caskets.
Measuring, Analyzing and Controlling Instrument Industry : All establishments engaged in manufacturing instruments for measuring, testing, analyzing, and controlling, and their associated sensors and accessories; optical instruments and lenses; surveying and drafting instruments; hydrological, hydrographic, meteorological, and geophysical equipment; search, detection, navigation, and guidance systems and equipment; surgical, medical, and dental instruments, equipment and supplies; ophthalmic goods; photographic equipment and supplies; and, watches and clocks.
Miscellaneous Manufacturing Industries : All establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing products not classified in any other manufacturing category. This includes establishments engaged in the production of goods such as jewelry, musical instruments, toys, sporting goods, etc.
Paper and Allied Industry : All establishments primarily engaged in the manufacture of pulps from wood and other cellulose fibers, and from rags; the manufacture of paper and paperboard; and the manufacture of paper and paperboard into converted products, such as paper bags and paper boxes. Also included are establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing bags of plastics film and sheet.
Petroleum Refining and Related Industry : All establishments primarily engaged in petroleum refining, manufacturing paving and roofing materials, and compounding lubricating oils and greases from purchased materials. This does not include establishments manufacturing and distributing gas to consumers nor those engaged in producing coke and byproducts.
Primary Metal Industry : All establishments engaged in smelting and refining ferrous and nonferrous metals from ore, pig, or scrap; in rolling, drawing, and alloying metals; in manufacturing castings and other basic metal products; and in manufacturing nails, spikes, and insulated wire and cable. This also includes the production of coke.
Printing, Publishing, and Allied Industry : All establishments engaged in printing and those establishments which perform services in the printing trade, such as bookbinding and plate making. This also includes establishments engaged in publishing newspapers, books, and periodicals, regardless of whether they do their own printing.
Rubber and Miscellaneous Plastic Industry : All establishments not elsewhere classified manufacturing products from plastics resins and from natural, synthetic, or reclaimed rubber, gutta percha, balata, or gutta siak. Many products made from these materials are classified in other industries, such as boats, toys, Buttons, etc.
Stone, Clay, Glass, and Concrete Industry : All establishments engaged in manufacturing flat glass and other glass products, cement, structural clay products, pottery, concrete and gypsum products, cut stone, abrasive and asbestos products, and other products from materials taken principally from the earth in the form of stone, clay, and sand.
Textile Mill Industry : All establishments engaged in the preparation of fiber and subsequent manufacturing of yarn, thread, braids, twine, and cordage; in manufacturing broad woven fabrics, narrow woven fabrics, knit fabrics, and carpets and rugs from yarn; in dyeing and finishing fiber, yarn, fabrics, and knit apparel; in coating, waterproofing, or otherwise treating fabrics; in the integrated manufacture of knit apparel and other finished articles from yarn; and in the manufacture of felt goods, lace goods, nonwoven fabrics, and miscellaneous textiles.
Tobacco Industry : All establishments engaged in manufacturing cigarettes, cigars, smoking and chewing tobacco, snuff, and reconstituted tobacco and in stemming and redrying tobacco. This also includes the manufacture of nontobacco cigarettes. This does not include the manufacture of insecticides from tobacco byproducts .
Transportation Equipment Industry : All establishments engaged in manufacturing equipment for transportation of passengers and cargo by land, air and water. This includes the manufacture of products such as motor vehicles, aircraft, guided missiles and space vehicles, ships, boats, and railroad equipment. This does not include the manufacture of mobile homes nor the manufacture of equipment used for moving materials on farms, in mines, on construction sites, in plants, etc.

Information Technology

According to the “Information Technology Association of America”, information technology (IT) is defined as the study that involves the support, management, study, design, development and implementation of information systems that are computer–based. This includes physical components of the information system, also known as hardware, and programs that help the machine to function, also known as the software. The scope of information technology is very wide and is gaining momentum with each passing day, to encompass many fields of work and study. In earlier days, information technology was limited to people working in particular sectors, such as banking, engineering or science. The passing time, however, has seen a huge growth spurt in the usage of information technology. The advent of the personal computer has made it possible even for the masses to benefit immensely from the same. There are many who might still wonder what all the hype about information technology is about. If you are one of them, read on to explore the importance of information technology.

Why Information Technology Is Important

In businesses, information technology plays a major role in the management and upkeep of huge amounts of information. It helps in creating information as well as aids in information exchange. Due to this, businesses can work with their clients in any part of the world, as though they were in the same building.
In the field of medicine, information technology plays a major role in various diagnostic procedures such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), scans, and other tools used to diagnose major conditions. These days, there are computer-aided surgeries that are being performed as well.
In the fields of science and engineering, information technology plays an important role in the collection and exchange of demographic data, weather reports, behavioral sciences and numerous other areas where automation and quick work is needed.
Information technology has contributed to various security systems for homes as well as businesses, to a large extent. More complex security systems are being used in the cases of government agencies and military bases.
Public databases and secret identification of people is now maintained with the help of information technology. In fact, a large number of criminals are traced with the aid of modern technology, since the exact location of people can be traced by tracking out the computer that they had used.
GPS or Global Positioning System is one facet of information technology that is fast catching up with more and more people these days. Using this technology, people can not only track out travel routes, but can also recover stolen items, such as cars, mobile phones, etc.
Information technology is extremely important to the entertainment sector. Numerous special effects, graphical additions and innovative multimedia applications are being used these days in movies. All this has been made possible because of information technology.
The World Wide Web (www), more commonly known as internet, is the most important means of linking the world. Without the internet, we could just as well return to the Stone Age. Communication has become much easier, and the world is a much smaller place, thanks to information technology.

Career opportunities

Graduates are prepared for roles as systems analyst, analyst programmer, database manager, software engineer, strategist, systems marketer, network support consultant, network project engineer, network security analyst, help desk support, internet specialist, LAN/WAN administrator, web designer and developer, systems administrator, webmaster, e-accounting engineer, quality assurer and project manager. You can also pursue a career in information and business system analysis, business process modelling, project planning, database administration and management, web application design and development, and IT services and systems.

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