Benefits, barriers, and bridges to effective supply chain management

Supply Chain Management (Impact Factor: 2.92). 01/2008; 13(1):35-48. DOI: 10.1108/13598540810850300

ABSTRACT Purpose – The purpose of this article is to provide academics and practitioners a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the benefits, barriers, and bridges to successful collaboration in strategic supply chains. Design/methodology/approach – A triangulation method consisting of a literature review, a cross-functional mail survey, and 51 in-depth case analyses was implemented. Senior managers from purchasing, manufacturing, and logistics were targeted in the mail survey. The break down by channel category interviews is as follows: 14 retailers, 13 finished goods assemblers, 12 first-tier suppliers, three lower-tier suppliers, and nine service providers. Findings – Customer satisfaction and service is perceived as more enduring than cost savings. All managers recognize technology, information, and measurement systems as major barriers to successful supply chain collaboration. However, the people issues – such as culture, trust, aversion to change, and willingness to collaborate – are more intractable. People are the key bridge to successful collaborative innovation and should therefore not be overlooked as companies invest in supply chain enablers such as technology, information, and measurement systems. Research limitations/implications – The average mail-survey response rate was relatively low: 23.5 percent. The case study analyses were not consistent in frequency across channel functions. Although the majority of companies interviewed and surveyed were international, all surveys and interviews were managers based in the US. Practical implications – This study provides new insight into understanding the success and hindering factors of supply chain management. The extensive literature review, the cross-channel analysis, and case studies provide academics and managers a macro picture of the goals, challenges, and strategies for implementing supply chain management. Originality/value – This paper uses triangulation methodology for examining key issues of supply chain management at multiple levels within the supply chain.

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