Gaining customer loyalty is a corporate challenge today in this increasingly competitive and crowded marketplace because of the eventual profitability it will provide. The changing business world allowed customers to change as well. Company management had shifted their focus on their clients or customers so as to stay successfully in business with the need to completely reformulate their conventional business aims and purposes from being process-focused to customer-centered. With the advent of technological innovations, logistical decisions about delivery operations, stockholding, warehousing and economies of scale get more complex solutions in today's business environment.
According to Bowers, Martin and Luker (1990), supply chain management is considered as one of the most important strategic aspects of any business enterprise where decisions about coordinating of production of goods and services, store inventory, list of suppliers, and cost-effective and timely distribution are made. Supply chain management functions in order to design and manage the processes, assets and flows of material and information to answer the needs and demands of the customers and clients.
The supply chain is traditionally characterized as a stable system in which components and goods move smoothly from supplier to assembly customers. In addition, supply chain refers to the suppliers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers that involved in manufacturing a product and getting it to consumers (Lee & Billinton, 1995). Supply chain is also defined as a network of independent or semi-independent corporation bodies collectively accountable for procurement, developing and or manufacturing and distribution scheme connected with one or more groups of related products (Janyashankar et al, 1996).
Research study shows that supply chains increase in their complexity as the number of nodes increases (Bacharach and Lawler, 1980). They also argue that genetic algorithms can be an efficient method to locate a good solution quickly in one to fifty node networks. Supply chain design models are making decisions worth millions of dollars, usually without integrated analysis of the variability of the proposed system (Hane & Sudar, 1998) McKinnon's interview study found that Supply Chain managers are responding to such pressures by such actions as increased back loading, improved vehicle routing, greater load consolidation, the redesign of packaging and changes in the ordering system (McKinnon, 1998).
As such, companies at present are deploying supply-chain management (SCM) systems to enhance efficiency across the product lifecycle by streamlining procurement, production, fulfillment, and distribution processes. To help ensure that an SCM solution provides the intended return on investment, the enterprise network infrastructure must work together seamlessly since its effectiveness depends on the ability of users to access up to the minute information across the supply chain. Organizations usually share proprietary corporate data with external suppliers and partners while ensuring maximum security. This requires integration of applications and data across multiple geographically dispersed supply chain partners, as well as internal integration with legacy