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Retail supply chain management: key priorities and practices

Wesley S. Randall (Department of Marketing and Logistics, College of Business, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA)
Brian J. Gibson (Department of Supply Chain Management, College of Business, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA)
C. Clifford Defee (Department of Supply Chain Management, College of Business, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA)
Brent D. Williams (Department of Supply Chain Management, Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA)

The International Journal of Logistics Management

ISSN: 0957-4093

Article publication date: 1 November 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the unique supply chain strategies employed by retailers.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed methods approach was employed involving analysis of depth interviews with 27 retail supply chain executives combined with a follow‐up survey capturing over 200 responses.

Findings

In light of uncertain economic conditions, retailers appear to be developing more agile/responsive supply chain management (SCM) strategies. Additionally, retailers are putting greater emphasis on maintaining a balance of cost versus service than the cost‐centered focus found in a prior study.

Research limitations/implications

This study focused on US retailers and therefore results should be cautiously extended to the retailing environment in other countries.

Practical implications

Retailing is not a “one size fits all” business, and study results suggest the SCM strategies used by retailers depend greatly on the nature of each retailer's model. However, the need to create agile SCM processes while controlling costs was an overarching theme described by retailers.

Originality/value

Retailers operate some of the largest and most complex supply chains, yet SCM research has generally overlooked the retail sector. This study targets this gap, and in addition introduces a novel data collection approach using clicker devices that researchers may find useful in future projects.

Keywords

Citation

Randall, W.S., Gibson, B.J., Clifford Defee, C. and Williams, B.D. (2011), "Retail supply chain management: key priorities and practices", The International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 390-402. https://doi.org/10.1108/09574091111181381

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited