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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Production Economics, Volume 134, Issue 1, November 2011, Pages 43–57
Supply Chain Risk Management has become a key concern for organizations, which is even further emphasized by the current economic and financial crisis. Against this background, this paper investigates successful approaches and experiences by companies in dealing with this new reality, especially as it concerns the supply side. Using in-depth case studies conducted among eight European enterprises, we develop a set of propositions about how companies manage supply risks in financial crises, highlight how their risk management approaches have shifted, and illustrate how they are related to Enterprise Risk Management. Our framework is further differentiated based on whether firms are predominantly engaged in manufacturing or services—a factor influencing how supply chain risk is managed. Transaction cost economics serves as our main theoretical anchor. By rigorously grounding our research in both theory and empirical evidence, we provide valuable insight for both academia and practice.
The financial crisis led to a steep increase of corporate insolvencies in 2008 and 2009, with an unprecedented large number of high-profile insolvencies and bankruptcies (e.g., Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual, General Motors, CIT, Chrysler, Thornburg Mortgage, Indymac). Almost every region and every industry has been affected by the crisis in one way or the other, making the management of risk associated with the crisis an absolute necessity for firms. This is particularly emphasized for companies being tightly interlinked in a supply chain network comprised of multiple entities (most notably customers and suppliers) who themselves may severely suffer under the financial crisis. In addition, with the trend towards outsourcing and companies increasingly focusing on their core competencies, effective and efficient supply chain management has become a key component of corporate strategy, competitive advantage, and success (Narasimhan and Talluri, 2009); due to the scarcity of resources and the strained environment, this importance is even heighted during economic crises. Within this setting, the sourcing of products, services and capabilities can thus be endangered by supplier defaults (Wagner et al., 2009). Due to these developments and realities, supply chain risk management (SCRM) has become a key concern for industry to be better able to detect, predict, avoid or reduce the effects of supplier disruptions and defaults. The negative effect of supplier defaults has been shown by Hendricks and Singhal (2005), who reported a median decrease in operating income of 31.28% for firms that had experienced a supply chain glitch caused by suppliers. Overall, supply disruption costs today are higher than ever before (Aydin et al., 2009), necessitating the further investigation of SCRM. Even without the financial crisis, SCRM has become a necessity for many firms. Globalization, improved infrastructure and information technology has led supply chains to become longer and more complex, resulting in higher supply chain vulnerability (Tang, 2006a, Tang, 2006b and Aydin et al., 2009). The importance of SCRM was for example illustrated by the results of a recent survey, which revealed that 90% of firms felt threatened by supply-side risks (Snell, 2010). However, at the same time, respondents in 60% of the firms noted that they were not confident or knowledgeable enough about supply risk issues (Snell, 2010). The further study of this topic, especially with the focus on the financial crisis, is therefore warranted and crucial. While enterprise risk management (ERM) has been an important component of all facets of business (Wu and Olson, 2009a, Wu and Olson, 2009b and Wu and Olson, 2010a), its criticality is stressed for supply chain management. Since this aspect is outside the internal control of the enterprise, selecting and managing suppliers, while at the same time managing its associated risks, becomes crucial (Wu et al., 2010, Wu and Olson, 2008, Wu and Olson, 2010b and Tang, 2006a). The criticality and assurance of supply is even more emphasized in some industries with their increasing reliance on just-in-time deliveries and minimal inventories (cf. Tang, 2006b and Kelle and Miller, 2001), providing a heightened level of supply risk. For example, while the global automotive industry faced approximately 70 major insolvencies in 2007, the financial crisis made this number rise to 225 insolvencies in 2009 (Roland Berger, 2010). These developments, together with the heavy dependence on suppliers (Wagner et al., 2009), create major challenges for the entire industry. Even though it may be impossible to assess how well risk management systems would have been able to prevent these problems stemming from the financial crisis, we are interested in how the financial crisis has altered SCRM approaches applied by manufacturing and service firms. While it was prudent to conduct SCRM all along, the importance of it has certainly been propelled due to the financial crisis (Ariba, 2009). In addition, the crisis may have shifted how SCRM is approached, warranting further investigation. While empirical research in SCRM and ERM is at an early stage, it is at the same time faced with an unprecedented environment of economic and financial turmoil. Within this context this research project is therefore one of the first to examine the effect of the financial crisis on SCRM practices. We consider SCRM as a crucial and fundamental element of the broader concept of ERM addressing the supply side, even though SCRM and ERM are often perceived as separate functions within the firm. We conduct this more focused investigation (i.e. the focus on supply-side risk management), since we believe that the complex area of ERM is most effectively management by the units that are most directly affected by it—these units are most likely to have detailed knowledge of how to potentially mitigate these risks. Overall, our specific research questions are as follows: How did the financial crisis affect SCRM in business? How may these effects influence SCRM approaches of manufacturing and service firms differently? How are ERM and SCRM interrelated, both before and during the crisis? To address these research questions we pursue a multiple case study approach with eight European multi-national corporations; we specifically focused on industries that have been highly affected by the financial crisis. Our explicit focus was on how the current financial crisis may have forced these firms to alter their approaches. We begin with the confirmation of the notion that our current constrained environment has had an impact on how enterprise risk is managed. We then proceed with the more specific investigation of how the stages of risk identification, risk analysis, risk mitigation, and risk monitoring (i.e. the risk management process) may have changed. Using the theoretical anchor of transaction cost economics (TCE) we suggest a set of propositions that manifest themselves among our sample. Within this context, our contributions are as follows. First, we analyze SCRM's adaptation to the unique present economic situation characterized by financial turmoil and uproar, especially as it relates to the supply side. We describe how firms react to the financial crisis, with their risk management systems mostly following a four-step SCRM process. Second, we portray how manufacturing firms differ from service firms in their SCRM approaches, also as a direct reaction to changes in the current financial crisis. Third, we focus on the change of the relationship between ERM and SCRM triggered by the financial crisis. And fourth, we examine these issues with the lens of transaction cost economics, grounding our empirical observations into this theoretical perspective. Overall, important contributions to both theory and practice are made. The paper proceeds as follows. In Section 2 we review related literature, provide our theoretical foundation, and develop our research framework. Section 3 describes the research methodology, including the purposive selection of our cases, the data collection process, and our data analysis approach. Elaborating on the results, our analysis and interpretation in Section 4 establishes that SCRM is impacted by the current financial crisis, and develops propositions of how companies are reacting to this environment. Section 5 concludes, offering insights and implications for theory and practice, and provides avenues for future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
SCRM and ERM have become a key concern for organizations, which is even further emphasized by the current economic and financial crisis. The present paper analyzed this issue based on eight in-depth case studies. Our empirical findings were corroborated by theoretical insight from transaction cost economics to develop a set of propositions characterizing the current state of SCRM in the ongoing financial crisis. Within this context the contributions of this paper are manifold. First, we provided a general overview and assessment of the current state of SCRM in business. Second, more specifically, we analyzed SCRM's adaptation to the present dire economic situation. We described how firms reacted to the financial crisis with the adaptation of their risk management systems. Third, we portrayed how manufacturing and service firms differed in their approaches toward SCRM in the current financial crisis with a special focus on the crucial part of risk mitigation. Fourth, we elaborated on the relationship between SCRM and ERM, which has not been addressed extensively in extant empirical research. And fifth, we examined these issues with the lens of transaction cost economics, grounding our empirical observations into this theoretical perspective. Overall, based on eight in-depth case studies, we showed that manufacturing firms have adjusted their SCRM to a larger extent in the financial crisis. Even though both manufacturing and service firms are affected by supplier insolvencies due to the financial crisis, service firms seem to have a higher strategic flexibility due to the lower level of dependence on a single supplier. Hence, one can observe that service firms are mainly influenced by the financial crisis on the demand side, whereas manufacturing firms are affected by the demand and the supply side. Following this line of thought establishes SCRM as a strategic capability in manufacturing firms. As such, manufacturing firms should develop different SCRM capabilities for strategic and non-strategic suppliers. One could further argue that a SCRM approach focusing on proactive risk mitigation might not be plausible for service firms in case of existing sufficient substitutes. In general, the financial crisis had also a positive effect on firms in that SCRM capabilities had been further developed, which may help firms to be better prepared for a future crisis, but also for ‘usual’ supply disruptions. A systematic SCRM approach is thus crucial for the effective prevention of disruptions on the supply side. Furthermore, our case study illustrations suggested that changes in the different steps of SCRM are interlinked, since all steps have been affected by the financial crisis in a similar fashion. Hence it seems to be necessary to carry out all SCRM process steps rigorously, otherwise risk management cannot be successful (e.g., when an important risk has not been identified, or no appropriate measures have been taken to prevent such major risk). Interestingly, even though ERM is a major antecedent for the introduction of SCRM, it seems that SCRM is reinventing the wheel of risk management, as we found only very limited integration and knowledge transfer between SCRM and ERM. Even a major exogenous shock like the financial crisis seems to have no effect on the relationship between SCRM and ERM, perhaps showing that these processes possess a nature that is too distinct, or that they have not found a common basis to profit from each other. As both are relatively new disciplines, these insights provide exciting avenues for future research. Our research has also important implications for practice. As such, we confirmed that SCRM and ERM approaches must be adapted to the environment, in this case the financial crisis; if there is no fit to the context, SCRM is likely to fail. It seems that SCRM and ERM require dynamic capabilities in order to be able to be managed in appropriate ways, hence firms must invest in their human resources to enable employees to recognize changing environments and adapt quickly to trends. Therefore, it is not only a question of developing the capability of reacting quickly to single risk incidents, but also on a larger scale, of adapting the entire risk management process to serve as a foundation for SCRM; this will lead the latter to be most effective. For manufacturing firms, the criticality of this point for their long-term sustainability was especially stressed. Overall, developing a SCRM process is not an easy task, and significant resources are required. In addition, developing a business case can pose a challenge, as severities of avoided risks are difficult to estimate. Our cases also make it obvious that a proficient SCRM is not only achieved by tools and resources, but mainly by capabilities that must be dynamically adjusted. In addition, while the current crisis puts an emphasis on SCRM, such monitoring and management must constantly be conducted, even in times of no crisis. Another important contribution to practice is that while SCRM and ERM are, to a large extent, well-aligned, they are not really profiting from each others' expertise. It seems that a similar conflict of thoughts exist as one may envision for the integration between finance and purchasing/supply chain management departments. A missing common language and different assumptions and value propositions appear to be complicating the knowledge exchange. However, due to the increased importance of purchasing and supply chain management for the firm, as illustrated above, both functions should work toward a better integration with ERM. This integration could enable more effective risk mitigation, ensuring the long-term sustainability of the firm. As with any research, the present study has limitations, which however – at the same time – provide some exciting future research opportunities. As such, although a structured and thorough approach was utilized to select case study firms, the results may only be applicable to the type of companies studied. Therefore, for further generalizability, future research is encouraged to replicate our study in different industries, as well as in different countries (our firms were solely based in Europe). As additional future research our propositions should be tested via a large-scale survey, not only in Europe, but also across other regions of the world. Further insight is also needed on the link between ERM and SCRM. While our study provided initial insight, additional research remains to be conducted, since companies are likely still going to increase their reliance on suppliers. And lastly, an insightful investigation will be the look at ERM and SCRM once the current financial crisis has ended. Are firms reverting to their old practices of SCRM, loosing newly developed capabilities, or are valuable lessons learned in the crisis carried forward? It is our hope that the present research provides a starting point for these investigations.