I was asked a few questions by email today from some folks out in the field. I thought that I’d share with the rest of the world my answers for some purchasing training tidbits. Here goes…
Question: What is the difference between a bill of lading and a packing slip?
Answer: A bill of lading is a contract between the shipper/owner/seller of the goods (e.g., a manufacturer) that are being transported and the transportation provider. The bill of lading is generally initiated by the transportation provider.
A packing slip is a document that is enclosed with the boxes being shipped that the receiver of the goods uses to verify that the shipment is complete. A packing slip is generally initiated by the shipper/owner/seller of the goods.
Question: I would like to know where in a typical organisational structure the position of supply chain manager should be located and at what level. I also would like to know who should report to such a position.
Answer: First, I suggest that you read this blog post: http://tinyurl.com/yhsyjz
Second, in my definition of supply chain management, someone who manages the supply chain is responsible for the acquisition of materials, the conversion of those materials into finished goods, and the outbound distribution and transportation of those finished goods. Therefore, groups like purchasing, inventory management, warehouse, production, logistics, and shipping would report to a supply chain manager. Thus, the supply chain manager (or VP of supply chain) should be at the second tier of the organizational structure, under the president and on the same level as the CFO, General Counsel, etc.
I will caution you that, because the term “supply chain management” is used in various ways at various companies – some companies call their purchasing departments Supply Chain Management even though they are responsible only for inputs not conversion nor outputs – there isn’t a true typical organizational structure.