A supply chain is the assemblage of vendors and other parties whose joint efforts result in the delivery of goods and services to a customer. The entities involved in a supply chain include the following:
- Suppliers of raw materials
- Suppliers of components
- Manufacturers that convert raw materials into finished goods
- Warehouses that store raw and finished goods
- Delivery services that transport goods between locations
- Distributors and retailers that sell to the final customer
A critical element for a business is to coordinate the efforts of its supply chain, so that it can offer competitive prices to its customers on a timely basis. A supply chain management system is typically used to aid in the oversight of the supply chain.