ri   lt re and ood     ana ement      8.31
     very little information beyond historical buying       piece of the supply chain. But just as important
     patterns. The result of these factors is that there is are information flows—information flows allow
     not a single, integrated plan for the organisation—    the various supply chain partners to coordinate
     there were as many plans as businesses. Clearly,       their long-term plans, and to control the day-to-
     there is a need for a mechanism through which          day flow of goods and material up and down the
     these different functions could be integrated.         supply chain.
     Supply chain management is a strategy through
     which such an integration can be achieved.                FdI In uPstreAm, downstreAm And
           Supply chain management is typically viewed         suPPly cHAIn mAnAGement
     to lie between fully vertically integrated firms,
                                                            This segment of India has seen least organised
     where the entire material flow is owned by a
                                                            development, even in the reforms period. Due
     single firm, and those where each channel member
                                                            to lack of proper ‘market reforms’ in the area of
     operates independently. Therefore, coordination
                                                            agricultural products (as APMCs of different states
     between the various players in the chain is
                                                            have failed to develop) which hampered so many
     key in its effective management. Supply chain
                                                            aspects of it—storage, grading, packaging, etc. It
     management can be compared to a well-balanced
                                                            is believed that this field needs huge investments
     and well-practiced ‘relay team’—such a team is
                                                            from the corporate sector. The corporate sector
     more competitive when each player knows how to
                                                            has not been much attracted to this sector. Main
     be positioned for the hand-off. The relationships
                                                            factors for the unwillingness among the private
     are the strongest between players who directly pass
                                                            sector to put in their money in it are, scarcity of
     the baton, but the entire team needs to make a         capital, logistics, experience and non-conducive
     coordinated effort to win the race.                    policy framework in the agriculture market. This
           Supply chain management, then, is the            is the reason why the Government of India has
     active management of supply chain activities to        allowed more freedom to FDI in retail chain
     maximise customer value and achieve a sustainable      development. It is expected that the willing
     competitive advantage. It represents a conscious       foreign firms will not only bringing the needed
     effort by the supply chain firms to develop and        fund to the sector, but alongwith them India will
     run supply chains in the most effective and            get international experience and best practices.
     efficient ways possible. Supply chain activities             To compete in the globalising world markets
     cover everything, such as:                             and to gain economic benefits out of globalisation,
           (i) Product development,                         India needs the following features in its supply
          (ii) Sourcing,                                    chain management:
         (iii) Production,                                        (i) An organised retain sector
         (iv) Logistics, and                                     (ii) Proper levels of logistics
          (v) Information systems (for proper                   (iii) Fully updated data of raw materials,
               coordination).                                          production, cropping pattern, etc.
           The organisations that make up the supply            (iv) International class packaging, care to
     chain are ‘linked’ together through physical flows                wards phyto-sanitary aspects
     and information flows. Physical flows involve                It is felt that the above-cited features will
     the transformation, movement, and storage of           be easier to manage for the top global players as
     goods and materials. They are the most visible         they have fund, experience and a willingness to