Supply Chain Management – Then and Now

Paul Reifenstein    November 4, 2013


Supply chain management has been a concept that has been used with regard to product management for quite some time.  It was first coined back in 1982, but really gained traction in the mid-1990s.  Now with social media being a mainstay in today’s society and changing the way consumers and companies interact, supply chain management has been significantly impacted and the consumer experience has been altered.

In a blog post on May 2nd, 2011 about Supply Chain Trends, the author named 7 impacts that the use of social media could have on supply chain management.  He wasn’t that far off.  Some of the examples he outlined were; Responsiveness, New Product Development, Quality, and Tracking and Tracing.  All of these ideas have been utilized in some way over the past few years in relation to social media and supply chain management and the way companies operate and interact with their employees and consumers has never been better.

Fast forward a few years to April, 2013 in an article called, Social Media is in your Supply Chain Future and there is a striking comparison to what the earlier blog had alluded to.  According to Tom Nightingale, president of sales and marketing at ModusLink Global Solutions, Inc, there are several ways social media can benefit the supply chain.  Demand Management, Operations/Lean, Lead generation and brand development, and Real-time data.

Not much has changed in the two year gap between these two blog posts, except the actual implementation of the ideas behind how social media can impact supply chain management. In the same few minutes it took the first blogger to think up ways that social media can have an impact on supply chain management, the same exercise today would probably take only a few minutes to implement.  I bet it would would also take only a few more minutes to have customer and employee feedback to make a system or product that much more effective or that much better.

Lessons Learned

  • Ideas behind SCM have not changed much over the past few years, but the implementation of the ideas are much easier today than they were a few years ago.
  • This concept is not about how many different ways it can be utilized in a company or a product line, but more so about the acceptance of social media to be able to make that impact.


Social Media in the Supply Chain

Social Media is in your Supply Chain Future

Supply Chain Management

Submitted by: Paul Reifenstein – SMBP Student, University of Waterloo.  To contact the author of this blog post, please email

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