Looking Ahead

This book comprises 20 chapters, divided into six parts including this introduction. The remainder of this book addresses the major tasks and challenges facing the modern purchasing professional operating within the context of a dynamic supply chain.

Part 2, Purchasing Operations and Structure, Chapters 2 through 5, provides a basic understanding of the functional activity called purchasing. Without a solid understanding of basic purchasing processes, policies, and organization, appreciating the important role that purchasing has within a supply chain is difficult. Today’s supply management professional has a strategic focus, and Chapter 4 addresses supply management integration.

With this understanding, Part 3, Strategic Sourcing, considers how purchasing evaluates, selects, manages, and improves supplier performance. Chapters 6 through 10 present strategic sourcing activities, which are activities that can affect the competitiveness of a firm. The ability to realize advantages from our purchasing and supply efforts requires shifting our view of purchasing from a tactical or clerically oriented activity to one that focuses on strategic supply management.

Part 4, Strategic Sourcing Process, recognizes that purchasing professionals must play a major role in improving supply chain performance. Chapters 11 through 15 present an assortment of tools, techniques, and approaches for managing the procurement and sourcing process, including an understanding of contracting and legal issues.

Part 5, Critical Supply Chain Elements, deals extensively with the critical elements of integrated supply chains from supplier through customer. The activities and topics presented in Chapters 16 through 19 may or may not be a formal part of the purchasing organization. They are, however, integral stepping stones to effective supply chain management.

The last part, Future Directions, contains a single chapter that presents future directions identified during research and experience with many organizations. The trends identified in Chapter 20 help us identify how the field of purchasing and supply chain management is changing, what is behind these changes, and how best to respond. As we move further into the twenty-first century, this section must change on a continuous basis to reflect the dynamic changes occurring in purchasing and supply chain management.

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