بررسی مزایای مدیریت عرضه استراتژیک و کاربردهای عملکرد
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|8823||2008||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, Volume 14, Issue 4, December 2008, Pages 209–219
There has been a growing body of literature documenting the impact of strategic supply management on firm performance. Yet, despite of its importance, there has been little research on how this impact is achieved from a social network perspective and on the link between strategic supply management and customer responsiveness. This study develops and empirically tests a conceptual model employing two increasingly important constructs that reflect intermediate benefits of having a strategic supply management function: relational embeddedness and network scanning. We then explore the relationships between those intermediate benefits and customer responsiveness using structural equation modeling from a sample of 204 US manufacturing firms. The research findings indicate that organizations engaging in strategic supply management are able to directly achieve greater levels of customer responsiveness by scanning their supply base network, and indirectly by having socially embedded relationship ties with those suppliers.
Many organizations today are placing greater reliance on the supply management function in order to attain competitive advantage. With the requisite capabilities and opportunities, supply management can leverage and align a firm's internal skill sets and strategic direction with that of the supply base to effectively and efficiently manage its supply chains. The key aspect for this to occur is that supply management must be strategic in orientation. Prior research has used various terms interchangeably with regard to purchasing/supply management being strategic. Carr and Pearson (1999) view Strategic Purchasing as consisting of formally written long-range plans that are reviewed and adjusted to match changes in the company's strategic plans on a regular basis. These plans incorporate various types of relationships to be established with suppliers. Therefore, strategic purchasing serves to align the relationships formed with suppliers to meet the overarching needs of the firm. Strategic Sourcing has recently been viewed in a similar fashion by Ogden et al. (2007), which consists of (1) professionalism—incorporating purchasing's skills, knowledge and professionalism; (2) status within the organization; and (3) supply management—its sophistication in managing external relationships. Another recent study by Paulraj and Chen (2007) examines Strategic Supply Management as a second-order construct, which consists of Strategic Purchasing, Long-term Relationship Orientation, Communication, Cross-Organizational Teams, and Supplier Integration. Regardless of the terms used, when the supply management function appropriately aligns the relationships with the supply base to that of the corporation, organizations have the ability to achieve performance benefits to include those associated with cost, flexibility, delivery speed and reliability, the confirmation of customer orders, and handling customer complaints (Carr and Pearson, 1999; Chen et al., 2004; Paulraj and Chen, 2007). This interorganizational alignment, and its benefits, takes place when firms have achieved higher levels of strategic supply management. On the basis of the literature, in this paper we define strategic supply management as the level of strategic focus and strategic involvement of the purchasing function (Paulraj et al., 2006; Paulraj and Chen, 2007). There is a growing body of literature documenting the importance and the impact of strategic supply management on a firm's performance. However, to the best of our knowledge, prior studies have not looked at how those benefits are achieved from a social network perspective, nor have they looked at downstream supply chain benefits associated with having a strategic supply management function. Grounded in the social network literature, we examine the effects of strategic supply management on a firm's network relational embeddedness and scanning, and how those factors affect customer responsiveness. The extant literature has recently recognized the importance of the social context underlying supply chain transactions (Griffith et al., 2006; Cousins et al., 2006; Bakker and Kamann, 2007); therefore, looking at the impact of strategic supply management from a social network perspective is timely and relevant. Grounded in this theoretical lens, we propose two intermediate benefits of strategic supply management. First, we focus on the social context fostered with the supply base, which we conceptualize as Network Relational Embeddedness. Second, we examine how strategic supply management influences Network Scanning, which consists of gaining insight to the technological developments and market opportunities that may arise in the supply base. Specifically, for purposes of this paper, network relational embeddedness is defined as the degree of closeness and reciprocity (Granovetter, 1973; Gulati, 1998) that takes place between a purchasing organization and its network of relevant supplier relationships. Network scanning, which is similar to “scout activities,” as defined by Ancona and Caldwell (1992), refers to the frequency with which a purchasing firm gathers supply market knowledge from its relevant supply network. These two intermediary benefits are examined to determine if firms can better respond to meeting customer requirements. Since supply chains inherently look at the interconnectedness of a minimum of three firms (Mentzer et al., 2001), the benefits of strategic supply management can have supply chain management implications (supplier, firm, and customer).
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
There is a growing body of literature empirically investigating the importance and impact of strategic supply management (e.g. Ellram et al., 2002; Chen et al., 2004; Paulraj et al., 2006). Our study adds to this body of knowledge by empirically examining links between strategic supply management and customer responsiveness that we derived from the theoretical perspective of social networks. Specifically, we identified the constructs relational embeddedness and network scanning as important intermediate benefits that can lead to customer responsiveness. The results suggest that strategic supply management can make a major contribution towards a focal purchasing firm's accumulation of social capital, which may confer important benefits or enable strategic capabilities for the firm. This can include preferential treatment in a queue, early warning about internal changes in a supplier that may affect the purchasing firm, or the ability to identify new market trends before competitors. Interestingly, the social context itself, captured in our study by the construct relational embeddedness, is not directly related to customer responsiveness. Our findings indicate that the relationship between embeddedness and customer responsiveness is indirect through network scanning. This finding counters previous studies and the predictions of the social network literature. The choice of performance measure adopted by the current study may partially explain the contrasting results. Previous literature (Uzzi and Lancaster, 2003; Gulati, 1998) used relationship success as a surrogate for performance, while we used customer responsiveness, which can be seen as a possible outcome of a successful relationship. Another possible explanation, more focused on the context of supply management, is the level at which we conceptualized customer responsiveness: at the organizational level as opposed to product or process level. As such, we focused on the impact of relational embeddedness at the organizational level. However, our findings suggest that the impact of embeddedness at the organizational level is anteceded by other factors. For instance, purchasing firms socially embedded with suppliers may receive preferential treatment in a queue for critical items during a period of shortage. This may enable the purchasing firm to keep its production process running and maintain the deliveries to its customers in an otherwise disruptive environment. Alternatively, the purchasing firm may receive suggestions for improvement in a design. This may impact some internal (process) measure of performance such as product development cycle time or innovativeness. These antecedent factors, by their turn, will enable the purchasing firm to be responsive to its customer. This is consistent with the proposition that the social embeddedness of relationships enhances the acquisition of useful knowledge and preferential access to private resources (Granovetter, 1992; Gulati, 1995). Further, this collaborates with the findings of Krause et al. (2007) that social attachment is important for explaining buyer performance achievements in cost and total cost. Achieving lower total costs should enable a purchasing firm to be responsive to those customers that focus on a cost leadership strategy, for example. Likewise, Cousins et al. (2006) found that socialization process, which may be seen as an antecedent or the process leading to social embeddedness, improved product design performance, process design and lead time at the product level. All these factors should have a positive impact on customer responsiveness as defined in the current study. The indirect relationship between customer responsiveness and embeddedness means that implementing practices to foster higher levels of social embeddedness with the supply base will not necessarily translate directly into enhanced levels of customer responsiveness. Rather, the indirect effect suggests that relational embeddedness can facilitate or enable other benefits that contribute to customer responsiveness. Recent literature has emerged acknowledging the influence of the social context in shaping supplier relationships (Cousins et al., 2006; Bakker and Kamann, 2007). Thus, the present study also reinforces the notion that social capital is an important enabler of benefits and capabilities. Further, our results indicate that strategic supply management can be a very important source of social capital for a focal purchasing firm. Strategic supply management can provide firms internal benefits, as well as benefits associated with managing supply chains, which arise from both the relationships formed with suppliers and the ability to scan and quickly capture advances occurring in the supply base. Interestingly, we found that the social context fostered by strategic supply management with the supply base is positively related with the practice of scanning the supply base. This finding has important implications for supply managers and purchasing firms seeking to tap into the market knowledge that resides in the supply base and that would otherwise be withheld. The results of this study are consequential because market changes during the last decades, combined with ever more-educated customers, have triggered increased interest in customer responsiveness and the need to tap into the latent knowledge available in a firm's supply network. The markets in which firms compete are increasingly influenced by intense foreign competition, rapid technological change, shorter product life cycles, and customers increasingly unwilling to settle for mass-produced items or services with limited value (Krause et al., 1998; Zhang et al., 2003). These are characteristics of a new competitive landscape in which companies face significant uncertainty, ambiguity, and an increasing number of strategic discontinuities (Hitt et al., 1998; Huber, 1984). Adding to this competitive landscape is a “new breed of customer” (Handfield and Nichols, 2002), which demands greater responsiveness to a dynamic set of requirements. Under such a competitive landscape, purchasing firms must be abreast of developments, opportunities and threats steaming from or latent in their supply bases. This study suggests that strategic supply management serves a major role in enabling a social context where buyers and suppliers can interact and purchasing firms can tap into the private knowledge latent in the supply base. 5.1. Managerial implications There are several managerial implications that this study can provide to organizations. Supply management professionals need to convey the importance of how they contribute to their firm's success. This importance goes beyond the traditional mindset that supply management should be predominately concerned with cost reductions. Taking cost out of the supply chain will always and should be considered a high priority for supply management. However, when the supply management function is truly considered strategic, their contributions can also extend to supporting the marketing and sales functions of firms, as well as the corporation itself, by leveraging the knowledge of the supply base in order to better meet customer requirements. For this to occur, supply management must have a “seat at the table” by residing at higher levels in the organization. This would allow supply management to have input to the strategic direction of the firm, as well as a clearer understanding of how they can contribute to achieving their corporation's goals by tapping and aligning its supply base in that direction. Further, supply management should not only work in supporting corporate strategy, but also align itself with other corporate functions such as sales and marketing, operations, logistics from a supply chain perspective in order to respond to customer requirements. All of these business functions should be synchronized from developing products to that of consistently meeting and exceeding customer requirements. With the greater prevalence of outsourcing, supply management professionals are in a better position today to help provide their firms flexibility in meeting customer requirements. This flexibility can concern new product introductions, such as working with a supplier that can provide an innovative product design feature that differentiates the purchasing firm from its competition. In addition, this flexibility can manifest as well with volume requirements and minor design changes. By being able to have embedded ties with the supply base and scanning of the market, purchasing firms can capitalize on firm success by better responding to ever-changing customer needs such as design and production changes. A long-term perspective is necessary to establish embedded ties with the supply base and to be better able to obtain the skills sets of scanning the supply base to see what types of innovations and dynamics are occurring. Relationships do not emerge overnight, and must be seen as investments for future returns. Organizations accumulate social capital from repeated positive interactions with suppliers. These interactions form closer ties with those suppliers, thereby creating and strengthening the ties of embedded relationships with those firms. This social capital eventually manifests into financial capital for those firms. By purchasing firms being better able to meet and respond to customer requirements, there is greater likelihood of repeated sales and growth opportunities that both the purchasing firm and its relationally embedded suppliers can enjoy. However, for this to happen, supply management must have a long-term perspective. Since corporate strategy is inherently long-term oriented, supply management, as a bridging function between the firm and its supply base, must also have a long-term perspective in order for suppliers to invest in that social capital. Otherwise, if those suppliers are predominately concerned about losing their business with their customers, such as the perceived short-term gains that accrue from annual bidding practices, those suppliers will not make those requisite social capital investments with their customer. 5.2. Limitations and future research As all research, this study has certain limitations. First, this investigation has only looked at the manufacturing sector, and specifically firms within four SIC codes. Future research should expand beyond that of manufacturing firms to that of service-oriented firms, as well as other manufacturing industries. Second, this study has investigated relational embeddedness solely from the purchasing firm's perspective. However, relationships are dyadic, even though this study looks at the relational embeddedness from a purchasing firm to its relevant supply base. In studying these multiple dyadic relationships, some of the suppliers may interpret the closeness of the relationship differently. Future research may want to investigate if perception gaps exist between purchasing firms and their relevant supply base. For example, Sanders, 2005 and Sanders, 2007 has examined the benefits of using and aligning information technologies between purchasing firms and suppliers from the supplier perspective. Similar studies can ascertain the benefits that suppliers obtain when their first tier customers better respond to their customer requirements (second-tier customers), particularly when they become more relationally embedded with their customers and constantly scan and communicate market developments and changes with those firms. The dynamics of business have changed from firms predominately having control through vertical integration to that of organizations focusing on their core competencies and placing greater reliance on their supply base. This study has investigated the role that strategic supply management serves in better responding to customer requirements. This role serves to align the purchasing firm's supply base to that of the strategy the respective corporation pursues. In order to achieve this, we have discovered that firms need to both form close relational ties with its relevant suppliers, as well as consistently scan that network, to better meet and response to constantly changing customer requirements. However, for this to occur, organizations must have a strategic supply management orientation to fully capitalize on the skill sets that exist in their supply base.