"The planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion, and all logistics management activities. Importantly, it also includes coordination and collaboration with channel partners, which can be suppliers, intermediaries, third party service providers, and customers. In essence, supply chain management integrates supply and demand management within and across companies."
(From the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, or CSCMP)
For more information about Supply Chain Management education, see WVU College of Business and Economics' Supply Chain Management program.
Below are some more terms associated with the field.
Procurement - the activities associated with acquiring products or services. The range of activities can vary widely between organizations to include all parts of the fuctions of procurement planning, purchasing, inventory control, traffic, receiving, incoming inspection, and salvage operation. Synonym: Purchasing. (Glossary of Terms, Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, Feb. 2010)
Operations Management - focuses on carefully managing the processes to produce and distribute products and services. Major, overall activities often include product creation, development, production and distribution. Related activities include managing purchases, inventory control, quality control, storage, logistics and evaluations of processes. A great deal of focus is on efficiency and effectiveness of processes. Therefore, operations management often includes substantial measurement and analysis of internal processes. (Assembled by Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Free Management Library)
Process Management - administrative activities aimed at (1) defining a process, (2) establishing responsibilities, (3) evaluating process performance, and (4) identifying opportunities for improvement. (BusinessDictionary.com)
Enterprise Resource Planning - a class of software for planning and managing "enterprise-wide" the resources needed to take customer orders, ship them, account for them, and replenish all needed goods according to customer orders and forecasts. Often includes electronic commerce with suppliers. Examples of ERP are the application suites from SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, and others. (Glossary of Terms, Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, Feb. 2010)
Inventory Management - the process of ensuring the availability of products through inventory administration. (Glossary of Terms, Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, Feb. 2010)
Logistics - the process of planning, implementing and controlling procedures for the efficient and effective trasporation and storage of goods including services, and related information from the point of origin to the point of consumption for the purpose of conforming to customer requirements. This definition includes inbound, outbound, internal, and external movements. (Glossary of Terms, Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, Feb. 2010)
Distribution - the activities associated with moving materials from source to destination. Can be associated with movement from a manufacturer or distributor to customers, retailers or other secondary warehousing/distribution points. (Glossary of Terms, Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, Feb. 2010)
Customer Relationship Management - this refers to information systems that help sales and marketing functions, as opposed to ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), which is for back-end integration. (Glossary of Terms, Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, Feb. 2010)