Role of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in E-Supply Chain Management: A Case Study

Role of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in E-Supply Chain Management: A Case Study

Fang Zhao (American University of Sharjah, UAE)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-129-4.ch005
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Abstract

This chapter studies the role that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play in the e-supply chain management. It has two objectives: (1) it explores how a SME embraces and implements electronic supply chain management (e-SCM) and the challenges facing it, and (2) it develops strategy to deal with the challenges. The chapter draws upon a case study of IFC Global Logistics (IFC), a small-to-medium-sized third party logistics provider. The case study illustrates how the SME embraces enabling technologies, the Internet, and modern business practices to integrate its supply chain management processes and to create for itself differentiation and a competitive advantage in the tough logistics industry. Based upon a literature review and the case study, the chapter explores effective strategy for SMEs in e-supply chain management.
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Background

E-Supply Chain Management (e-SCM)

E-supply chain management is viewed as the most recent stage of development of the concept of supply chain management (Ross, 2003; Johson, 2006). The focus of management is placed primarily on the application of the Internet to the SCM concept and SCM synchronization. From an operational perspective, there are two major activities in e-SCM: the flow of materials and the development of information systems. E-SCM is likely to offer competitive advantage in better lead times, customer service and supply chain synergy (Burgess, 1998, Nguyen, 2004) and therefore it represents an effective strategy for many manufacturers and service providers. Networked and multi-enterprise supply chains have become a popular organizational design. As Ross (2003, p. 11) describes, “SCM has evolved, through the application of e-business technologies, into a powerful strategic function capable of engendering radically new customer value propositions through the architecture of external, Internet-enabled collaborative channel partnerships”. In this regard, e-supply chain management is concerned largely with the management of such “Internet-enabled collaborative channel partnerships” called e-collaboration (van Hoek, 2001).

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