Supply chain management can have a linear or nonlinear operation. If it is linear, the processes are somewhat simpler and straightforward but there are many challenges that should be deftly dealt with. If the process has to be nonlinear, then there can be some daunting complications. A nonlinear supply chain does not necessarily mean there would be any back and forth process. The vendors may attend to their independent roles and contribute in a particular way at different stages of procurement, manufacturing, supply, fulfilment or delivery. It is quite possible for a nonlinear supply chain management strategy to factor in back and forth exercises if there is a need for a supplier or vendor to chip in after delivering on its promises if its role is incomplete and has to follow up after another party has done its bit.
There are many types of challenges in supply chain management and a common solution put forth by many experts is to be proactive. It is often necessary to be proactive in most operations in a business but some instances simply cannot be preempted. There has to be some alert supervision so there can be promptly responsive actions. It is simply not possible to be proactive all the time. However, it augurs well for supply chain management if the strategy factors in mostly proactive measures than being too reliant on contingency plans. Every supply chain management strategy will have a contingency plan but it cannot be prioritised at the cost of a proactive approach.
While it matters if a particular process is nonlinear or linear, both scenarios can have a proactive approach. The supply chain managers or the top executive.