Supply Chain Management Integration: Critical Problems and Solutions

Kabossa A.B. Msimangira
Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE , Australia

Sitalakshmi Venkatraman
Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE , Australia

Over the last decade, supply chain management (SCM) has been studied extensively, and its importance to practitioners and academics has received a high level of recognition. However, despite major investments in SCM and supply chain integration (SCI), recent surveys indicate that businesses are struggling to achieve competitive advantage due to SCI silos. This urges us to investigate the emerging concept of SCM integration (SCMI) that is aimed to integrate various traditional supply chains (SC) across intra and inter-organisational processes in practice. While there is enormous information on SCM, little is known about the supply chain management integration (SCMI) problems and possible solutions that could be identified through open discussions and brainstorming among management executives of various organisations. This paper presents the results of an exploratory study of SCMI practices via an on-line forum conducted with supply chain personnel in New Zealand. This study identified the organisations’ SCM integration problems and possible solutions. The analysis reveals the major problems that are critical to be addressed and the recommended solutions, including: SCMI requires a holistic approach; two-way communication; written service level agreements; relationship management; use of new technologies and integrated software systems; strategic alliances and trust; integrated processes; effective partnership; and predictive cost/benefit analysis of SCM. The insights on the critical problems and solutions provide valuable information on business risks and uncertainty as well as recommendations to effectively employ SCM analytics for sustainability in the global market environment. We developed a SCM analytics framework for SCM integration.

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