Consumer packaged goods manufacturers have to measure the most important metric of all: orders delivered on time, in full. To accomplish this requires sophisticated inventory management and optimization tools for the consumer goods supply chain.
Examples include Wal-Mart , Kmart , Tesco , Kroger , and so on (see Challenging the Competition: Mega-mergers and Supply Chain Technology ). Because of the tight timescales involved, manufacturers have to interpret forecasts astutely in order to set the production processes in motion, and order entry has to be very closely coupled with forecasting, demand management, and manufacturing planning. In fact, since every major customer may have its own way of managing sales order entry, the supplier's