Knowledge Management and Supply Chain – A study in Indian Perspective


Author

Viqar Ali Baig
Lingaya’s University, Faridabad, Haryana, 121002, India

Javaid Akhter
Management Studies and Research AMU Aligarh 202001, India

Mohd Shahid Mewat
Engineering College Haryana, India

Akeel ur Rehman
Department of Commerce AMU Aligarh, 202002 UP India


Content

SC management has assumed a leading operations strategy position in both manufacturing and service industries, and over the years enterprises have sincerely implemented SC management strategies in their enterprises. Knowledge Management (KM) is a major source of empowerment of SC management, and is a vital element in information intensive and multi-cultured enterprise environments. Realizing the importance of KM in Supply Chain (SC), an effort has been made in this paper to suggest a theoretical framework for KM in SC and to authenticate the frame with the help of an experiential study conducted with Indian enterprises. The majority of participants solicited for this study work in the private sector (medium and large enterprises in the Delhi/NCR region of India). The respondents in this survey are: logistics managers, SC managers and engineers. There is a need to clearly integrate SC network parameters and variables into any final KM model or framework. The results then would supply a more suitable KM framework for improving SC competitiveness.

Keywords: knowledge management in supply chain, theoretical framework, authentication of framework

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Supply chain management (SCM) has become increasingly significant with the globalization of business, and competition between supply chains is likely to stay a vital element in international competitive rivalries (Ketchen Jr. and Guinipero, 2004). The current financial disaster pooled with a hyper-competitive environment has developed an actual need for optimization practices within supply chains. Supply chains are configurations of firms working collectively in a network that constantly need to upgrade their operations and capabilities, both upstream and downstream, from raw material to end-use consumption (Mentzer et al., 2001). Such network configurations are made up of diverse groups sharing common topics of interest, but sometimes with independent relationships. The flows of information lying at the core of the coordination and collaboration amongst network members are not only dissimilar information sources, they also offer a chance to build knowledge-based tools that are an important part of the extended firm’s capabilities (Davis and Spekman, 2004). Resource Based View (RBV) theory assumes that resources are the source of a firm’s capabilities, and that its capabilities are the foundation of its competitive advantage (Barney, 1991; Hamel and Prahalad, 1989; Wernerfelt, 1984).

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Our objective in this study is to understand how knowledge is created in a SC. New possibilities for developing knowledge within SCs have emerged as information technologies have noticeably evolved over the last 15 years. This situation is considered in our effort to know how information sharing SCs change into Knowledge Sharing (KS) ones and the impact of the context on the transfer. The two main research questions ensuing from this analysis are: (1) Is it possible to characterize the background and the four stages of the SECI model when observing buyer–seller relationships within SCs? (2) What tools and techniques support the Knowledge Creation (KC) process in a SC? Are they particular to each stage or common to the whole process? SCM and KM represent two main streams of research that have extensively developed over the past several years and many related issues are still addressed by consultants, practitioners or academics. One of these issues concerns the link between knowledge and SC outcomes, but very few studies have dealt with this particular aspect. The literature on Inter-enterprise KM (IKM) can be classified into numerous categories in accordance with the analysis focus, as shown in Table 1.

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Our research question attempts to analyze how the KC process can be adapted to SCs and which factors enable that process. This research is based on the process of KM and specifically uses Nonaka’s matrix of KC(Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995; Ruggles, 1998).

The majority of participants solicited for this study work in the private sector (medium and large enterprises in the Delhi/NCR region of India). The respondents in this survey are: logistics managers, SC managers and engineers. The study focused on three levels of analysis: strategic, tactical and operational. All the individuals who were interviewed have a direct link with SC functioning and regularly face issues related to associates within the SC.

An attempt has been made in this paper to study KM in SC networks. The objective of the study is to explore the application of an existing KM model or framework in selected Indian enterprises through experiential data collection and analysis. The model that was selected is based on Nonaka’s four stage spiral model (SECI). This model appeared interesting at the beginning of KM evolution, but advanced developments happening over the past decade, especially with SC becoming an integral part of operations strategy have revealed that it is not completely suited to the current SCM environment. There is a need to clearly integrate SC network parameters and variables into any final KM model or framework. The results then would supply a more suitable KM framework for improving SC competitiveness.

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About Author

Viqar Ali Baig has been teaching the Post Graduate Courses for Management Students for over 12 years. His areas of interest are Financial Management, Security Analysis, Financial Derivatives and Financial Services. His research area is value chain management, supply chain management, and financial supply chain management.

Javaid Akhter has been teaching in the Department of Business Administration as Professor for over 25 years. His areas of interest are accounting, finance and services management. He has served as Chairman of Department for three years and currently serving as Dean Faculty of Management Studies and Research. He has also been on the Board of Steel Authority of India, a Maharatna Company, as an Independent Director.

Mohd. Shahid is working as Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering in Mewat Engineering College. He has published 12 research papers in various Journals, International and National Conferences. His Area of interest includes Soft Computing, Data Structure & Algorithms Design, Theory of Automata & Computations & Computer Networking.

Akeel ur Rehman is research scholar in the Department of Commerce AMU Aligarh.