You should read and discuss the post below, offering constructive comments and advice. Quality posts will count towards this week’s Participation. Provide constructive critiques of the choice of methodology and suggest additional approaches the writer might consider
PROPOSED DISSERTATION TITLE: The importance of establishing and synchronizing processes throughout the supply chain to maximize customer service levels
1. Aim, objectives and feasibility of the dissertation
According to Kim (2006) process chain synchronization entails developing process chain strategies, aligning supply with demand, and integrating processes, infrastructure and information. Quoting Kim (2006, p.364) regarding collaborative planning “the goal is to build a foundation of seamless process chain”.
It is daunting that in this day and age; with all of the literature regarding supply chain management as well as with ERP systems like SAP we still have supply chain issues that affect the end customer. With this said, the organization’s performance depends on both operational and relational performance. In other words, the results from a combination of operational costs, lead time, cycle time, quality, on time delivery, flexibility, supply chain satisfaction and supply chain collaboration will determine the organization capability to perform and compete in today’s environment (Shi and Liao, 2014).
The aim of the author’s dissertation is to validate the need for solid processes throughout the supply chain, in order to avoid any disruption to any member of the supply chain until it reaches the final customer. Because customers rely on their suppliers to supply product in the correct quantity at the right time and with the correct price, suppliers rely on their suppliers to do the same as well. Thus, in the same manner that internal processes need to be established and followed; suppliers and customers must have processes that can be trusted. Stevens (2007, p.3) mentions that controlling flow of material from supplier to manufacturer and to distributor is crucial any manufacturing operation. That control of material would be accomplished with “value adding processes”. In addition Simon et al. (2014) state that because businesses are no longer autonomous they require supply chain integration.
The topic for this author’s dissertation is the importance of establishing and synchronizing processes throughout the entire supply to maximize customer service levels. Therefore, the author wants to address the following hypothesis:
1- Establishing and synchronizing processes in the supply chain will have positive customer service effects.
2- Establishing and synchronizing processes will have an overall positive benefit to the supply chain.
3- Monitoring supply chain processes will have a positive effect in the organization’s performance.
4- Lack of collaboration from any member of the supply chain will have negative effects in the supply chain synchronization.
It is expected that this author’s research will help avoid future disruptions in the supply chain in order to provide end customers with the best possible service. Chopra and Meindl (2014, p.33) mentioned that maximizing an organization’s profit can sometimes create conflict with some members of the supply chain. Therefore, it is also expected that this research help create a synchronized supply chain (through the establishment and follow up of processes) in order for every member to benefit equally.
The author has received authorization to present the supply chain issues encountered by her as well as the other members of the World Wide supply chain team. Also, authorization was given to use the data regarding the unavailability metric, which measures the customer orders not shipped due to lack of inventory (back order).
The WW team is comprised of eight supply chain administrators that handle eight contract manufacturers and two “in house” manufacturing sites. Data via interviews will be collected from the team members. Furthermore, the author wants to explore beyond the Lexmark scope; and will prepare a questionnaire to be sent to colleagues that work in the supply chain area.
The author currently holds the team leader position at Lexmark, which gives her access to information that will be helpful in the collection of data. The plan is to collect data regarding product availability from the last three years. Moreover, the experience that the author holds will be an asset since; she has the skill and knowhow to interpret the data.
Due to the nature of this research, the methodology used will be qualitative for the most part, but there will be a need to use a quantitative method as well. Fortunately, Lexmark uses several contract manufacturers; therefore, data from several work colleagues will be used. Wanting to determine which contract manufacturer has processes in place as well as their impact on customer service. There will be a need to conduct several interviews in addition to reviewing supply chain processes.
The goal is to understand the differences between the management of each contract manufacturer. In the words of Easterby-Smith, Thorpe, and Jackson (2014, p.24) “appreciate the different experiences that people have”. On the other hand, as supply chain problems are discovered Pareto charts will be used to find a commonality and find a correlation in order to attack any future supply chain disruption.