آشنایی با فرآیند انباشت دانش؛ مفاهیمی برای تصویب تکنیک های مدیریت موجودی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|20527||2009||8 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Production Economics, Volume 118, Issue 1, March 2009, Pages 160–167
Knowledge maturity models are used to identify the stages of the evolution process and assess the management attributes when improving the inventory management practices and adopting more sophisticated inventory management techniques. The management attributes are (1) technical tools, (2) skills, (3) roles and responsibilities and (4) performance measurement and incentives systems. The management attributes that are related to each other are identified for development stages. Two case companies are analyzed with the model. The model is found useful in assessing the current situation on inventory management practices, identifying the development focus areas and prioritizing the development effort.
Any researcher who has been involved in projects that study inventory management in practice must have observed that, despite all the theory available, the inventory management techniques in use in companies are often very elementary. What might be behind this obvious contradiction between theory and practice? Possible reasons that come to mind are that the benefits of inventory management techniques are not clearly seen and/or the techniques themselves are perceived difficult to learn and use. If the benefits cannot be demonstrated, other, more profitable, development projects get the priority. It is true that it is not easy to show a direct connection between inventory management and the firm's performance (Vastag and Whybark, 2005), although there is some evidence for a positive relationship in the long perspective (Chen et al., 2005). However, besides direct financial benefits, it has been claimed that the adoption of inventory management techniques may have positive side-effects, so called knock-on effects, on the use of other management techniques, which in turn may lead to better performance (Vastag and Whybark, 2003). Therefore, it would be ideal to develop approaches which could show the improvement gap as well as the improvement path for adopting inventory management techniques. Although the benefits could be shown, the adoption of management theories into practice is not always straightforward and easy. In their research on the implementation of management practices Vastag and Whybark (2003) found that firms learn through their business and trade contacts rather than through management literature, consultants or academics. This claim poses a serious challenge for academic researchers to provide new means of transferring research-based management knowledge into practice: how could we improve and speed up the adoption of new knowledge? If we look at the present situation concerning supply chain and inventory management, the problem is not lack of data and tools, but rather lack of knowledge of how to use them. As Shapiro (2001, p. 25) puts it: ‘barriers to integrated supply chain management are organizational, not technical’. It means that we have technological solutions, i.e. various analytical tools, but what we need are new organizational solutions, i.e. redesigning of processes and revising of measurement and incentive schemes to promote the utilization of new technologies. This new situation also creates a need to reconsider the roles and skills of the people in the new processes. As a matter of fact, we believe that the failure to see these organizational and managerial aspects has been the main reason for the slow adoption of supply chain and inventory management techniques in many companies. We use this proposition as a starting point for searching for new ways to facilitate and speed up the adoption of new techniques, especially in the area of inventory management. Inventory management techniques comprise here a variety of tools and working practices to handle the uncertainty of the demand and/or the product and service offering in the supply chain, ranging from simple rules-of-thumb to scientifically validated models. They represent a reasonably unambiguous subset of supply chain management techniques easy to identify and evaluate as to their sophistication level in different environments. The aim of this paper is to get deeper into the conditions suppressing and promoting the adoption of inventory management techniques. In our search for approaches that take organizational and managerial aspects into consideration, we have concentrated on the research of technology management, which has produced several models on the adoption of complex practices in organizations. We assume that the adoption of inventory management techniques can be evaluated with similar models to deepen our understanding of the process of adoption. Consequently, the adoption of inventory management techniques can be accelerated. On the basis of our search, we have decided to use a stage model, described in the following sections, for our purposes. This approach has led us to the following research questions: 1. Can we identify different stages of knowledge in inventory management? 2. Can we operationalize the general stages to support the adoption of inventory management techniques in the implementation processes of inventory models in practice? 3. Can we identify organizational aspects that need to be considered to support the adoption of inventory management techniques? The paper is organized such that in the next section a brief review of the relevant technology adoption models is given, and as a synthesis a framework of technology adoption is introduced. After that, two case studies are described and analyzed utilizing the framework. Finally conclusions are drawn from the cases, and the applicability of the framework is discussed.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
As George Box (1979, p. 373) said, ‘all models are wrong; some models are useful’. We believe that the presented model has many benefits and advantages that make it useful for pragmatic assessment and facilitation of inventory management processes. First of all, the maturity model and management attributes help to see the development problem in a wider scope. It provides one way to solve the problem that ‘barriers to integrated supply chain management are organizational, not technical’ as Shapiro (2001, p. 25) stated it. As a practical tool the maturity model helps to prioritize the development actions, when to train people, when to invest on IT tools, when to reorganize, and when to improve performance measurement and incentive systems. Finally, the tool can be useful when deciding on the goals for development of inventory management. The case study presented a path for how companies can gradually adopt sophisticated inventory management techniques. The path included quite strong organizational changes which seem to be important for adopting new techniques as quickly as possible. However, the question still remains whether it is possible to bypass the expertise centralization stage and adapt the optimization practices as a ‘black box’, implement and use tools without changes in the organization and management practices. In this study we did not find a path for such an approach, but, on the other hand, the research on organizational learning has focused on seeking an environment where this kind of adopting is possible. However, these changes in the corporate values, climate, etc. are fundamental and difficult processes for a company. Our major presumption in this study was that the process development state can be described with management attributes and, to achieve sustainable results, the development related to these management attributes should proceed more or less parallel from stage to stage. In the case studies the framework worked as expected. It helped to assess the development and the current situation, and pointed out the development focus areas. However, a case approach always raises the question to what extent the findings can be generalized. In this case the question is twofold. Firstly, can these findings be generalized to other environments than the environments of the case studies? Secondly, can these findings be generalized to other similar technique adoption processes? To answer the question of the generalization to other environments, the environments of the case studies should be characterized. The cases represent totally different business sectors, different sizes, and breadths of business (local and global), and therefore they give a good insight to the research topic. A potential problem is that neither of the cases is a frontline company considering inventory management, but, on the other hand, the progress in the frontline sector of inventory management, grocery wholesales and retailing, seems to have followed the same path. The answer to the generalization to the adoption of different techniques may lie in the perceived potential or importance of the technique for the business. It can be expected that the techniques in the frontline considering the company's competitiveness draw in the development effort while the others, even considered as lucrative when isolated from the whole picture, do not. This should be taken into account with the generalizations made from the grocery wholesale-retailing sector. For the grocery sector inventory management is in the core of the business, while in manufacturing the importance of inventory management can be substantially lower. The relative importance might affect only the prioritization of the development focuses and that way the pace of the evolution of inventory management in the company. However, it is an interesting question for further research.