Identifying Critical Success Factors for Supply Chain Excellence

Identifying Critical Success Factors for Supply Chain Excellence

Chinho Lin (National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan), Chu-hua Kuei (Pace University, USA), Christian N. Madu (Pace University, USA) and Janice Winch (Pace University, USA)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/jsds.2010070104
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This paper presents a research framework for studying supply chain excellence, emphasizing two distinct paths of knowledge acquisition, that is qualitative inquiry through interviews with senior supply chain executives in Taiwan and quantitative inquiry through data collection from companies that operate in Taiwan. Four factors are considered as the antecedents of supply chain excellence, such as collaboration, organizational conditions, technology adoption, and operations. The authors use the grounded theory approach to further understand those four critical factors and relevant concepts. Organizational condition was ranked by our senior supply chain executives as the most important factor based on this qualitative investigation. The effect of four critical factors on organizational performance is also assessed through regression analyses, and the results help supply chain professionals in Taiwan determine which factors and concepts of supply chain management to focus on to improve business performance. Although these findings are situation-dependent, the proposed framework is different from existing literature and can be adopted in other international studies to enhance the body of knowledge on supply chain management.
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1. Introduction

Supply chain management (SCM) is a holistic and a strategic approach to demand, operations, procurement, customer engagement, and logistics process management (Chow et al., 2008; Quesada et al., 2008; Robb et al., 2008; Seuring, 2008; Singer & Donoso, 2007; Burgess et al., 2006; Storey et al., 2006; Swafford et al., 2006; Robinson & Malhotra, 2005; Bruce et al., 2004; Cigolini et al., 2004; Lee, 2004; Madu & Kuei, 2004; Tan et al., 2002; Gunasekaren et al., 2001; Morash, 2001; Tan et al., 1999; Fisher, 1997). It involves designing and planning activities, procurement and sourcing activities, making products and parts, tracking inventory and order fulfillment, and delivery to the customer and end users. Zara, the Spanish apparel manufacturer and retailer, is one example of the global leaders who have benefited from their emphasis on SCM. As noted by Chow et al. (2008, p. 666), Zara “learned to introduce more than 11,000 products per year. From the drawing board to store racks, new fashions can be brought into markets in two weeks. Zara’s supply chain system can deliver new shipments to its 600 or so stores around the globe every few days.” Quesada et al. (2008) through empirical studies found that some associations do exist between external supply chain integration and order winning strategies such as delivery, quality, flexibility, and customer service. Their study highlights the aims of a complex supply chain system. Lambert et al. (2005), Lambert (2004), Lambert and Cooper (2000), and Lambert et al. (1998) also note that a supply chain can be implemented through three elements: supply chain processes, supply chain network structures, and management components. Robinson and Malhotra (2005) identify three challenges for implementing SCM: (1) developing trust and collaboration among supply chain members; (2) identifying best practices and implementing them in a structured way; and (3) establishing the latest collaborative information systems. To achieve business excellence, Kuei et al. (2002) identify two dominant themes in a supply chain setting: implementing supply chain quality management and implementing supply chain technology management. The former deals with the social components (e.g., cultural acceptance/employee fulfillment in a focal firm and total endorsement of supply chain partners) of the supply chain, while the latter addresses concerns of technical systems in managing supply chains. A somewhat different view of the main factors of SCM implementation was given by Chen and Paulraj (2004). They not only propose a theory of SCM, but also create eight constructs for SCM based on a literature search of 400 articles. These eight critical successful factors are: environmental uncertainty, customer focus, top management support, supply strategy, information technology, supply network structure, managing buyer-supplier relationships, and logistics integration.

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