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The synchronous supply chain > The role of information in the virtual supply ch... - Pg. 144

strengths to the overall value creation and value delivery system. This process is being accelerated as the trend towards outsourcing continues. Outsourcing should not be confused with `subcontracting' where a task or an activity is simply handed over to a specialist. In a way it would be better to use the term `in-sourc- ing' or `re-sourcing', when we refer to the quite different concept of partnering that the virtual supply chain depends upon. These partnerships may not be for all time ­ quite possibly they exist only to exploit a specific market opportunity ­ but they will be `seamless' and truly synergetic. The role of information in the virtual supply chain Leading organisations have long recognised that the key to success in supply chain management is the information system. However, what we are now learning is that there is a dimension to information that enables supply and demand to be matched in multiple markets, often with tailored products, in ever-shorter time-frames. This extension of the information system beyond the classical dimensions of simple planning and control enables time and space to be collapsed through the ability to link the customer directly to the supplier and for the supplier to react, sometimes in real time, to changes in the market. Rayport and Sviokla 1 have coined the term `marketspace' to describe the new world of electronic commerce, internets and virtual supply chains. In the marketspace, customer demand can be identified as it occurs and, through CAD/CAM and flexible manufacturing, products created in minimal batch sizes. Equally, networks of specialist suppliers can be