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Main difficulties hindering supply chain performance: an exploratory analysis at Uruguayan SMEs

Martin Tanco (Industrial Management Department, Universidad de Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay)
Daniel Jurburg (Industrial Management Department, Universidad de Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay)
Matias Escuder (Industrial Management Department, Universidad de Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 12 January 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to create a list of supply chain (SC)-related difficulties based on the existing SC literature. It also presents an exploratory survey concerning the main difficulties which Uruguayan managers consider to have the most negative impact on their SCs.

Design/methodology/approach

The survey was carried out within small- and medium-sized manufacturing and retailing companies in Uruguay, yielding 99 valid responses. A statistical analysis of the survey is introduced including a ranking of the difficulties and a grouping of those using factorial analysis. A difficulty, as understood throughout this paper, is any factor that significantly impacts, or has impacted in recent years, the performance of SCs.

Findings

Eighteen main difficulties hindering SC performance were identified. Moreover, an exploratory analysis of the survey showed that the main concerns to SC managers are related to workforce availability and government policies.

Practical implications

Difficulties encountered by SCs would not only be of interest to scholars but also to the managers who face the challenge of the day-to-day managing of a SC. Once the difficulties over the SCs are identified, strategies can be designed and implemented to attain desired benefits. Today’s intense competition requires firms to be more aware of their SC and to achieve excellence in many areas, especially at small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Originality/value

There is a growing body of literature concerning isolated issues that SCs have to face; however, an exhaustive list of difficulties is hardly available. Moreover, first-hand information of Uruguayan managers was ascertained to rank each one using a Likert scale.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank all the companies that responded to the survey and participated in the workshop, and the colleagues and business managers who carried out the survey pilot test. The authors are also grateful to Sarah-Jane Vokey whose suggestions helped to improve the paper. Finally, the authors are grateful to reviewers and editor suggestions, which significantly improved the overall quality of this article.

Citation

Tanco, M., Jurburg, D. and Escuder, M. (2015), "Main difficulties hindering supply chain performance: an exploratory analysis at Uruguayan SMEs", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 11-23. https://doi.org/10.1108/SCM-10-2013-0389

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited