This may be summarised by the observation that the behaviour of a complex system cannot be understood completely by the segregated analysis of its constituent parts. However, Beverland (2002) suggested the use of this idea in regard to supply chains is neither consistent nor straightforward. New also argued that the supply chain metaphor is used in many ways, but three meanings dominate discussion: "supply chain" from the perspective of an individual firm; "supply chain" related to a particular product or item (such as the supply chain for beef, or cocaine, or oil); and "supply chain" used as a handy synonym for purchasing, distribution, and materials management (Larson, 1998). Supply chain management can mean any one of these things, but one aspect is certain: Purchasing and/or outsourcing activity is being undertaken (Barkema, 1997). Beverland (2002) suggested that supply chain management is an integrative philosophy used to manage the total flow through a distribution channel from the supplier to the ultimate user. Another definition is the management of a chain or of operations and centres through which supplies move from the source of supply to the final customer or point of use (Chng, 2000). In essence, the supply chain starts with the extraction of raw material (or origination of raw concepts for services), and each link in the chain processes the material or the concept in some way or supports this processing. The supply chain thus extends from the raw material extraction or raw concept origination through many processes to the ultimate sale of the final product, whether goods or services, to the consumer.
Internet and Supply Chain Management
Many organizations, often too late, are now realizing that they should have paid as much attention to their internal business processes, their orderfulfilment resources and systems, and the integration of those processes and systems with those of their suppliers of goods and order-fulfilment services, as they did to their customer-facing Web site. The need is for a seamless end-toend 'order to cash' process incorporating the Web site, the business' accounting systems and the delivery mechanism. The accounting needs should embrace, as a minimum, accounts payable, accounts receivable, inventory, purchase orders, invoicing and credit control. (Johnson, 2002)
The delivery mechanisms in many organizations cannot cope, when Internet trading is added to the traditional market offering, with the requirement for a large number of small orders requiring, to all intents and purposes, instant shipping. They may have historically been shipping relatively large orders to a few intermediate supply chain points on a two to three day lead time basis. (Chopra, 2003)The