Period 6: The Global Era (Late 1970s–1999)

The global era, and its effect on the importance, structure, and behavior of purchasing, has already proved different from other historical periods. These differences include the following:

• Never in our industrial history has competition become so intense so quickly.

• Global firms increasingly captured world market share and emphasized different strategies, organizational structures, and management techniques compared with their American counterparts.

• The spread and rate of technology change during this period was unprecedented, with product life cycles becoming shorter.

• The ability to coordinate worldwide purchasing activity by using international data networks and the World Wide Web (via intranets) emerged.

This intensely competitive period witnessed the growth of supply chain management. Now, more than ever, firms began to take a more coordinated view of managing the flow of goods, services, funds, and information from suppliers through end customers. Managers began to view supply chain management as a way to satisfy intense cost and other improvement pressures.

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