Whats the Difference Between a Supply Chain and a Value Chain



The difference between a supply chain and a value chain may not be immediately obvious to some people. Both processes involve a series of activities that are necessary to deliver a service or product to customers. But while the supply chain manages the flow of physical goods and materials, the value chain focuses on optimizing the creation and delivery of value from initial idea to customer satisfaction. To understand their differences, it’s important to have an understanding of each concept separately.

A supply chain is a set of processes that involves the procurement, transportation, conversion and delivery of goods from one point in the network (usually from supplier or manufacturers) until they reach customers or final destination points. This includes activities such as planning, forecasting, purchasing, moving products through distribution channels, inventory management, pricing strategies; customer segmentation; management of materials; production processes and delivery routes; financial services; information systems and logistics services. The primary goal here is to increase efficiency by minimizing costs associated with lead times and reducing delays in order processing while at the same time making sure that customer needs are met.

A value chain looks beyond just cost efficiencies – it seeks to optimize cost-value relationships through better designs and improved customer service standards while continuously finding ways to create more profit along every step in the process. It also requires techniques such as value pricing – which sets prices on certain products based on their added perceived benefits – and reverse logistics – which means returning products back up through the supply chain flow when necessary. The goal is to maximize profits by focusing investments towards activities offering higher returns for their input costs – a high-value approach that focuses more on innovation rather than simply cutting down costs.

Supply Chain

A supply chain is a system of organizations, people, activities, information, and resources involved in providing goods and services from the supplier to the customer. It is a series of activities and processes that move goods and services from the point of origin to the point of consumption.

By understanding the processes and activities involved in the supply chain, businesses can develop strategies to improve their processes and increase efficiency.


Supply chain is a network of entities and activities that work together to procure, produce, and deliver goods used to meet customer needs. The term is used to refer to both the physical components of the chain, such as transportation and warehouses, as well as the intangible components, such as coordination and collaboration between suppliers, manufacturers, retailers and other stakeholders. Supply chain management (SCM) is the systematic coordination of these activities from raw materials acquisition through delivery of finished goods.

The primary goal of SCM is to create a cost-effective flow of goods from suppliers to customers that optimizes efficiency and meets customer demands in the most timely manner. It encompasses aspects such as:

  • Procurement
  • Manufacturing & operations planning & scheduling
  • Inventory control & management
  • Customer service & marketing
  • Logistics & fulfillment
  • Quality assurance

Each step in the supply chain requires certain skills or competencies that must be strategically managed in order for it to run smoothly. Information systems are key players in helping effectively manage supply chains. SCM solutions should integrate information from each step so any problems can be identified quickly with remedial approaches taken before they affect delivery with customer expectation.


Supply chain and value chain concepts are closely related, but there are subtle differences between the two.

A supply chain is comprised of processors, distributors, transporters and vendors who work together to product a good or service. This includes raw materials as well as energy, parts and services. The supply chain includes both upstream and downstream processes that go into creating the value that the consumer desires.

The value chain is the set of activities across a business to deliver the highest level of value. A company can identify their unique sources of value-added activities in order to optimize their operations and be more competitive in their market. Value-adding activities can include:

  • Research & Development
  • Design
  • Engineering
  • Procurement
  • Production/Manufacturing

In addition, services such as sales, marketing, logistics and customer service all play an integral part in creating a superior customer experience that adds essential value for customers in the long term.


Supply chains result in cost savings and performance improvements. By leveraging data and technology such as analytics, automation, and global sourcing, businesses can increase operational efficiency and provide customers with a seamless shopping experience.

In addition to cost savings, companies can reduce their environmental impact by creating more streamlined processes that reduce waste and increase sustainability. Supply chains also offer flexibility for meeting changing customer needs, allowing businesses to quickly and efficiently adjust their production processes for different market conditions.

Value chains create competitive advantages for companies through innovation and differentiation. They provide companies with the opportunity to develop unique products or services that meet specific customer needs—furthering the organization’s brand and reputation in the process. Companies are also able to differentiate themselves from competitors through vertical integration—control of both the upstream (suppliers) as well as downstream (distribution) components of the supply chain—which gives them increased control over product quality, price points, service levels, etc.

Furthermore, value chains are designed to optimize both short-term financial performance as well as long-term sustainability objectives such as creating jobs in developing nations or reducing water consumption during production activities.

Value Chain

The value chain is a systematic approach that companies use to analyze their business activities, from the first step of procuring raw materials to the end of delivering the final product to the customer. The value chain refers to all of the activities a company performs, from the beginning of research and development, all the way to production, distribution, and marketing, in order to create and deliver value to the customer.

By analyzing each step of the value chain, companies can identify opportunities to increase efficiency and reduce costs.


Value chain is an important concept in business management, referring to the full range of activities that are necessary to create a product or service and bring it to the end user. It involves analyzing each step in the production process and identifying ways to reduce costs while improving quality and efficacy.

The value chain consists of 5 stages:

  1. Inbound logistics,
  2. Operations,
  3. Outbound logistics,
  4. Marketing & Sales, and
  5. Service.

Each stage of the chain creates value for customers by adding features or superior performance that distinguishes one manufacturer from another.

Inbound logistics refers to how inputs like raw materials and components are acquired from suppliers in the most efficient manner possible. Operations includes managing production processes like assembly and quality control in order to bring products or services up to expected standards. Outbound logistics covers transportation and storage of finished goods from warehouses or factories out into markets.

Marketing & Sales is responsible for developing demand for a product by marketing through various mediums such as television commercials, websites, print ads etc. Service includes after-sales service such as customer support hotlines and repair centers ensuring quality performance over time. All these stages create a complete value chain, which enables manufacturers to move successfully along their supply chains all while creating value for their customers at each step along the way.


The value chain, also called the “value system,” is a concept from business management that was first described and popularized by Michael Porter in his 1985 best-seller, Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance. The value chain describes the full range of activities that are necessary to create value for a company’s chosen customers. It’s important to note that most organizations focus on a portion of these activities in order to create business value.


  1. Primary Activities are related to producing and delivering the product or service. These include Product/Service Development, Procurement/Supplier Relationship Management, Production/Operations, Distribution/Logistics, Marketing/Sales, Service Delivery.
  2. Supporting Activities provide assistance and support to primary activities. This includes Technology Development & Maintenance , Human Resource Management, Infrastructure & Facilities Management.
  3. Interconnected subsystems: Value chains continuously connect with other systems (such as other value chains), their markets and the environment in which they operate (These include Supply Chain Management Systems).


When considering the benefits that would come from a Value Chain, there are several key points to consider:

  • First, the value chain model helps companies identify areas of the business that can be improved, allowing them to focus on setting goals and objectives. This results in a sharper vision of where they can find efficiencies and create cost savings.
  • Additionally, with a value chain model in place, companies are able to better understand how their various assets and resources can come together to provide value for customers. This enables them to determine how best to leverage those resources in order to create competitive advantage over rival organizations.
  • Finally, by taking a comprehensive look at their entire system of operations, organizations are better able to identify areas of process improvement or new parties that they can partner with in order to add additional value-creating activities. This is especially beneficial for companies looking for new ways of creating competitive advantage in increasingly crowded markets.


The differences between a supply chain and a value chain can be complex to understand. Basically, a supply chain is the network of organizations, resources, and activities that are necessary to produce and distribute a product or service. A value chain is a combination of activities that add value to a product or service.

In this article, we’ll compare the two and discuss their differences.


Though the terms supply chain and value chain are often used interchangeably, there are some distinctions between the two. Supply chains and value chains both consist of vendors, services providers and their activities used to get a good or service from raw material through to a customer. And while each concept is closely linked, there are some subtle differences between them worth noting.

The primary similarity between supply chains and value chains is that they both serve as a system to connect various components of production in order to provide products or services customers desire. They also both involve creating a network of partners that contribute data and resources needed to produce final products or services.

  • In addition, they are both constantly evolving as technological advances open up new avenues of efficiency enhancing effects through increased speed, agility, visibility and accuracy.
  • Finally, they rely on strong supplier relationships in order for organizations to bring together all necessary resources interact quickly with vendors in case of any disruptions due to changes in market needs or unexpected problems.


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Medium roasts are medium brown in color with a stronger flavor and a non-oily surface. It’s often referred to as the American roast due to its popularity in the US.

Medium-dark roasts have a rich, dark color and some oil on the surface with a slight bittersweet aftertaste. These savory drinks tend to be more full-bodied with deeper flavor notes than lighter roasts.

Dark roasts produce shiny black beans with an oily surface and a pronounced bitterness. The darker the roast, the less acidity will be found in your cup. These coffees run from slightly dark to charred, and the names for this roast level can often be interchanged – check your beans before you buy them!


In conclusion, a supply chain is the end-to-end process of producing and delivering a product or service from the supplier to the customer. A value chain is a specific type of supply chain that focuses on creating more value for customers at each stage in the process than the customer would receive through buying from another provider. Both are essential components of organizational success and strategies centered around them will determine how well an organization performs in its industry.

With careful consideration of each step in the decision-making process, organizations can ensure they are getting maximum value from their supply and value chains alike.