International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 1 December 2004



Radnor, Z. and Heap, J. (2004), "Editorial", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 53 No. 8. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijppm.2004.07953haa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


We are at the final issue of the International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management for 2004! It has certainly been a busy year, with many changes to the journal and probably still a few to come in 2005! We have just returned from the Performance Management Association conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. The conference had over 300 delegates and 200 papers from around the world. The topics of the papers ranged from private to public sector, statistical to case studies, academic to practitioners, strategy to human resources (HR) and operations to marketing. This great mix of disciplines lent itself to a simulating, interesting and thought-provoking conference, with real lessons about the interplay between performance management and organisational strategy. It was great to see that the community and discipline of Performance Measurement and Management both growing and thriving. We hope to see many of the papers submitted to this journal, so watch out for a special issue next year! The number and quality of papers being submitted to the journal are both rising: this augurs well for the continuing contribution of this still young journal to the development of the fields of productivity and performance management.

This issue includes four papers, all of which have a “manufacturing” basis. The first three are academic papers, which have all been well reviewed, and the fourth is a “think piece” considering the relationship between the theory and practice of performance measurement. The first paper, by St-Pierre and Raymond, considers the topic of benchmarking within small to medium enterprises (SMEs). They argue that it is being used as a strategic tool for many manufacturing SMEs, yet little is understood about the impact of the use of this tool. Through the development of a model tested in Canadian SMEs they found that benchmarking was directly associated with the adoption of new manufacturing practices, which in turn lead to higher productivity and effectiveness. However, no association with a change in financial performance was reported, although the authors themselves argue this could be because the benefits of the new practices have yet to “hit” the accounts. This paper helps to open up the research around the effect or impact of benchmarking especially for SMEs where resource and time are often scarce.

The second paper, by Jharkharia and Shankar, takes a detailed look at enablers within supply chains. In particular, the paper considers those factors which enable effective information technology (IT), and particularly the use of it for information sharing, within a supply chain. They suggest that a number of enablers are particularly important, including trust in supply chain linkages and security of online information. The paper, having identified the enablers, then goes on, using interpretive structural modelling, to rank and establish relationships amongst the enablers. The research finds that a “supply-chain wide IT strategy” was the key enabler. However, although “awareness about the use of IT in supply chain” was the lowest in the ranking, the modelling (IMS) suggested that this enabler has a high driving power. The modelling also suggested that all the enablers have high dependence on each other, and therefore their relationship with others is critical in ensuring effective IT enablement in supply chains. This paper also helps in opening up a topic and is interesting in that it considers the relationship between various elements within the supply chain rather than the elements (or enablers) themselves. The use of the modelling technique is an interesting one, and perhaps is a methodology which could be considered more to help understand the complexities of performance measurement and management.

The third paper, by Chen, Zhang, Pickrell and Antony, provides an insight into how the Taguchi method, an experimental design technique, was used to optimise fibre optic sensor development in a cost effective and timely manner. The method is used to understand the variations in a process and the key factors causing those variations. This allows process improvement attention to be focused on those areas where it will have most impact.

The paper by Tangen offers an overview of performance management systems, explaining their genesis from a dissatisfaction with single-factor, financial performance measures through to sophisticated, multi-factor, “balanced” performance measurement frameworks and regimes. However, he points out that the frameworks generally offer much help or advice on the measurement processes themselves – they are effective in determining what to measure, but not how to measure.

So, that is the first volume of the International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management completed! We take pride in what we have achieved, but know that we need to move on, to improve, to further the discussions and debates within what are clearly important areas – both to academics and practitioners. In terms of the submissions we are now receiving, the signs are good – for a healthy, quality journal and a thriving community of practice.

Zoe Radnor, John Heap

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