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Article
Publication date: 14 March 2016

Vikas Kumar, Marlene Amorim, Arijit Bhattacharya and Jose Arturo Garza-Reyes

This study aims to address the management of reverse flows in the context of service supply chains. The study builds on the characteristics of services production reported in…

3308

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to address the management of reverse flows in the context of service supply chains. The study builds on the characteristics of services production reported in literature to: identify diverse types of reverse flows in services supply chains, discuss key issues associated to the management of reverse service flows and suggest directions for research for developing the knowledge for management of reverse flows in service contexts.

Design/methodology/approach

This study first provides an overview of the theoretical background which supports the identification and the characterization of the flows, and the reverse flows, involved in service production. A short summary of each paper accepted in this special issue is also provided to give readers an overview of the various issues around reverse exchanges in service supply chains that authors have attempted to address.

Findings

In this study, the authors identify distinct types of reverse flows in services production building on the analysis of the characteristics of service production and delivery reported in the literature. Our discussion highlights the fact that service supply chains can be quite diverse in the type of exchanges of inputs and outputs that take place between customers and providers, showing that often there can be substantial flows of items to return. In particular, and differently from manufacturing contexts, the authors highlight that in service supply chains, providers might need to handle bi-directional reverse flows.

Research limitations/implications

The lack of research on reverse service supply chains is, to a great extent, a consequence of dominant paradigms which often identify the absence of physical product flows as a key distinguishing feature of service supply chains, and therefore lead to the misbelief that in services there is nothing to return. This special issue therefore aims to clarify this misunderstanding through the limited selection of eight papers that address various issues around reverse exchanges in service supply chains.

Originality/value

While theoretical and empirical research in supply chain is abundant, management of reverse exchanges in service supply chain is sparse. In this special issue we aim to provide the first contribution to understand how the characteristics of service production raise new issues for the management of reverse flows in service supply chains, and to foster the development of adequate management strategies.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Content available
4867

Abstract

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Article
Publication date: 1 February 2016

Andrew Thomas, Paul Byard, Mark Francis, Ron Fisher and Gareth R.T. White

The purpose of this paper is to identify the tools, methods and models that UK manufacturing companies adopt and apply in order to achieve resiliency and economic sustainability…

1710

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the tools, methods and models that UK manufacturing companies adopt and apply in order to achieve resiliency and economic sustainability. The results of this work can assist in developing the foundations for defining a new joint resiliency/sustainability paradigm to assist industry.

Design/methodology/approach

Through a detailed, triangulated secondary data analysis and industry survey, the authors initially identify and then analyse the key resiliency and sustainability characteristics surrounding manufacturing operations. This paper initially reviews key literatures around resiliency and sustainability models and frameworks and subsequently draws out their key features and weaknesses. The work then details the research survey undertaken in to manufacturing companies aimed at identifying the resiliency/sustainability approaches that are adopted in companies. A sample of 72 manufacturing companies are used in the survey and from which the results are based.

Findings

Through analysing the fundamental business data of sales and manufacturing costs for 72 manufacturing companies, the authors cluster the companies in to four key manufacturing profiles. The work then shows through a more detailed analysis of the profiles that companies which are sustainable and more resilient in nature are, better engaged and connected to the development and application of resiliency and sustainability models. It was found that companies who seem to struggle in achieving economic sustainability or lack the ability to bounce back from various set-backs either do not employ such models or at best apply tools and techniques in an ad hoc manner.

Research limitations/implications

The paper provides key insights in to the adoption of tools, techniques and models surrounding the achievement of resiliency and sustainability in manufacturing companies. In so doing, the paper offers a new view on these issues and with the profiling exercise undertaken, companies will be able to identify their position in relation to the survey companies. This can be of benefit to the wider industrial and academic community. The development of a qualitative assessment around a relatively small sample size has its obvious limitations and it is crucial that further work with a range of companies in the area of manufacturing sustainability is key to developing (and also validating) a comprehensive set of resiliency and sustainability characteristics.

Practical implications

The paper highlights the issues surrounding existing academic resiliency/sustainability models and through the industry survey, it provides further information on where UK manufacturing companies are on adopting specific resiliency/sustainability models. The work suggests that the resiliency/sustainability landscape of UK manufacturing companies is much more complex and that a single strategic approach towards achieving improved manufacturing performance is somewhat dated and ineffective.

Originality/value

The development of a set of resiliency/sustainability profiles including the identification of the specific tools and techniques adopted by industry is aimed at tackling directly the issues of improving company performance and is considered by the authors as one of a kind. The results of the survey provide essential information on the resiliency/sustainability landscape of UK manufacturing companies.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 March 2016

Emy Ezura A Jalil, David B. Grant, John D Nicholson and Pauline Deutz

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the proposition that there is a symbiosis effect for exchanges between household waste recycling systems (HWRSs) and household…

3777

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the proposition that there is a symbiosis effect for exchanges between household waste recycling systems (HWRSs) and household recycling behaviour (HRB) within the reverse logistics (RL) discourse.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper contains empirical findings from a two phase, multi-method approach comprising consecutive inductive and deductive investigations. The qualitative and quantitative data underpin exploratory and explanatory findings which broaden and deepen the understanding of this phenomenon.

Findings

Analysis identified significant interactions between situational and personal factors, specifically demographic factors, affecting HRB with key factors identified as engagement, convenience, availability and accessibility.

Research limitations/implications

Findings confirm the existence of a symbiosis effect between situational and personal factors and inform current research trends in the environmental sciences, behavioural and logistics literature, particularly identifying consumers as being an important pivot point between forward and RL flows.

Practical implications

Findings should inform RL-HWRSs design by municipalities looking to more effectively manage MSW and enhance recycling and sustainability. RL practitioners should introduce systems to support recovery of MSW in sympathy with communication and education initiatives to affect HRB and should also appreciate a symbiosis effect in the design of HWRSs.

Social implications

The social implications of improved recycling performances in municipalities are profound. Even incremental improvements in the performance of HWRSs can lead to enhanced sustainability through higher recycling rates, reduced diversion of MSW to landfill, decreases in pollution levels, reduced carbon footprints and reduction in depletion of scarce natural resources.

Originality/value

The paper marks an early contribution to the study of symbiosis in HWRSs and HRB pertaining to RL. Findings are offered that identify the key situational and personal factors that interact to affect enhanced HWRSs and also offer insights above those available in current multi-disciplinary literature that has largely examined such factors in isolation. Conclusions offer the possibility of an epistemological bridge between the social and natural sciences.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 2016

Claudine Soosay, Breno Nunes, David John Bennett, Amrik Sohal, Juhaini Jabar and Mats Winroth

The purpose of this paper is to report an investigation of local sustainable production in Australia and Sweden aimed at exploring the factors contributing to survival and…

3377

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report an investigation of local sustainable production in Australia and Sweden aimed at exploring the factors contributing to survival and competitiveness of manufacturing companies.

Design/methodology/approach

In Australia, six companies were studied in 2010, with comparisons being made with three of them from earlier projects. In Sweden, eight manufacturing companies were studied on two occasions 30 years apart, in 1980 and 2010. To provide a valid comparative perspective a common format for data collection and analysis was used.

Findings

There has been a shift in the nature of competition in both Sweden and Australia due to an increasing complexity of the global business environment as well as changes in technology and customer expectations. Despite the differences in country context, the findings suggest that all the manufacturing companies have a good awareness of the elements of the market environment and the relationships with their competitive strategy. However, in general, the Swedish companies have more experience of managing the risks and benefits from operating in the international environment.

Research limitations/implications

The results of the research are based on a relatively small sample of case companies in a limited number of industrial sectors. There are methodology implications for future research in the area.

Practical implications

The research results have practical implications for the manufacturing industry, especially for companies operating in a competitive international environment.

Originality/value

The paper is based on original case research and comparative analysis of data from different geographical contexts. It contributes to both theory and management practice about the strategic resources, decision choices, competitive environments and firm values needed to address external market demands as well as in building internal capabilities.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 March 2016

Maneesh Kumar and Niraj Kumar

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the interrelationship between process recovery, employee recovery and customer recovery in a financial services call centre. The authors…

2711

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the interrelationship between process recovery, employee recovery and customer recovery in a financial services call centre. The authors also investigate how process recovery affects customer recovery via employees – the bridge between organisation and customers.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study–based approach is adopted in this study, and data triangulation is achieved through multiple data collection methods including semi-structured interviews, employees’ survey and company reports. Justice theory is the theoretical lens considered to understand the “service recovery (SR)” phenomenon.

Findings

This paper helps in understanding the relationship of process and employee recovery with customer recovery. Findings suggest that SR could be used for complaint management as well as in understanding and addressing the gaps in internal operations and employee skill sets. Factors such as training, operating systems, empowerment, incentives, and feedback were identified as critical in providing effective SR. Process improvement is necessary to control complaints by conducting root cause analysis and learning from failure.

Research limitations/implications

Findings are limited to a case company in financial services sector and thus limit its generalisability to other context. Questionnaire distributed to employees only included important dimensions of SR, which would be further developed in future research.

Originality/value

This paper explores the specific reverse exchange strategies, termed in this paper as SR, and analyses the different factors responsible for better performance in the exchange process. The paper highlights how the imbalance in the process and employee recovery dimensions can impact on customer recovery. Closing the customer complaint loop by using the SR perspective may help organisation to not only deal with complaints in a better way but also prevent such complaints in the future.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 March 2016

Ruizhi Yuan, Martin J Liu, Alain Yee-Loong Chong and Kim Hua Tan

Despite the growing interest in reverse exchange, studies on the subject from the perspective of consumer participation and motivation remain sparse. Consumers’ participation in…

2233

Abstract

Purpose

Despite the growing interest in reverse exchange, studies on the subject from the perspective of consumer participation and motivation remain sparse. Consumers’ participation in reverse exchange is a key component of supply-chain reverse logistics. To address the gap in existing studies, this paper aims to empirically identify the intention and causes of consumer electronic product exchange (EPE). The proposed research model incorporates value-belief-norm and neutralization theories, linking consumers’ values to their intentions to participate in EPE.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data collected from 250 consumers were analyzed using structural equation modeling.

Findings

This discussion shows that people are more likely to present positive attitudes when they are ethically concerned. However, this tendency is not without exceptions and behavior influenced by ethics was not always observed. Upon examination, the findings highlight moderating forces of psychological tension that arise when people behave in ways that are in apparent contradiction to their expressed positive attitudes.

Research limitations/implications

It is important to modify the model by analyzing consumers’ actual EPE behaviors. Future research should also reconsider the results from a longitudinal perspective.

Practical implications

The reverse logistics management practices proposed offer valuable insight into other various activities as well, including an integrated supply chain model and improving customer service.

Social implications

The proposed action of EPE encourages consumers as well as managers to reduce, recycle or effectively dispose of waste.

Originality/value

Current reverse exchange models are insufficient for measuring consumer motivations perspective, which is a key but inadequately researched perspective of determining the effectiveness of reverse logistics management. This research endeavors to fill this gap and augment previous studies in EPE by advancing the discussion on how the concept of reverse logistics management is evaluated and justified in relation to consumption values and psychological motivations.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 2016

Yucan Wang, Andrew Greasley and Pavel Albores

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are limited due to their operation around a fixed design production process and a fixed lead time to production plan and purchasing…

Abstract

Purpose

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are limited due to their operation around a fixed design production process and a fixed lead time to production plan and purchasing plan. The purpose of this paper is to define the concept of informality and to describe the notion of a system combining informality and ERP systems, based on empirical research from four manufacturing case studies.

Design/methodology/approach

The case studies present a range of applications of ERP and are analysed in terms of the three characteristics of informality, namely, organisation structure, communication method and leadership approach.

Findings

The findings suggest that systems consisting of informality in combination with ERP systems can elicit knowledge from frontline workers leading to timely improvements in the system. This is achieved by allowing users to modify work procedures or production orders, and to support collaborative working among all employees. However it was found that informality is not required for manufacturers with a relatively stable environment who can deal with uncertainty with a proactive strategy.

Research limitations/implications

This study was carried out in China, with four companies as unit of analysis. Future work can help to extend this study across countries.

Originality/value

The use of Four dimensions of informality that relate to manufacturers implementing ERP are defined as “technology in practice”, “user flexibility”, “trusted human networks” and “positive reaction to uncertainty”. This is a new construct not applied before to ERP implementations.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 14 March 2016

Glenn C Parry, Saara A. Brax, Roger S. Maull and Irene C. L. Ng

Improvement of reverse supply chains requires accurate and timely information about the patterns of consumption. In the consumer context, the ways to generate and access such…

9463

Abstract

Purpose

Improvement of reverse supply chains requires accurate and timely information about the patterns of consumption. In the consumer context, the ways to generate and access such use-visibility data are in their infancy. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate how the Internet of Things (IoT) may be operationalised in the domestic setting to capture data on a consumer’s use of products and the implications for reverse supply chains.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses an explorative case approach drawing on data from studies of six UK households. “Horizontal” data, which reveals patterns in consumers’ use processes, is generated by combining “vertical” data from multiple sources. Use processes in the homes are mapped using IDEF0 and illustrated with the data. The quantitative data are generated using wireless sensors in the home, and qualitative data are drawn from online calendars, social media, interviews and ethnography.

Findings

The study proposes four generic measurement categories for operationalising the concept of use-visibility: experience, consumption, interaction and depletion, which together address the use of different household resources. The explorative case demonstrates how these measures can be operationalised to achieve visibility of the context of use in the home. The potential of such use-visibility for reverse supply chains is discussed.

Research limitations/implications

This explorative case study is based on an in-depth study of the bathroom which illustrates the application of use-visibility measures (UVMs) but provides a limited use context. Further research is needed from a wider set of homes and a wider set of use processes and contexts.

Practical implications

The case demonstrates the operationalisation of the combination of data from different sources and helps answer questions of “why?”, “how?”, “when?” and “how much?”, which can inform reverse supply chains. The four UVMs can be operationalised in a way that can contribute to supply chain visibility, providing accurate and timely information of consumption, optimising resource use and eliminating waste.

Originality/value

IDEF0 framework and case analysis is used to identify and validate four UVMs available through IoT data – that of experience, consumption, interaction and depletion. The UVMs characterise IoT data generated from a given process and inform the primary reverse flow in the future supply chain. They provide the basis for future data collection and development of theory around their effect on reverse supply chain efficiency.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 March 2016

Qile He, Abby Ghobadian, David Gallear, Loo-See Beh and Nicholas O'Regan

– Recognizing the heterogeneity of services, this paper aims to clarify the characteristics of forward and the corresponding reverse supply chains of different services.

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Abstract

Purpose

Recognizing the heterogeneity of services, this paper aims to clarify the characteristics of forward and the corresponding reverse supply chains of different services.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper develops a two-dimensional typology matrix, representing four main clusters of services according to the degree of input standardization and the degree of output tangibility. Based on this matrix, this paper develops a typology and parsimonious conceptual models illustrating the characteristics of forward and the corresponding reverse supply chains of each cluster of services.

Findings

The four main clusters of service supply chains have different characteristics. This provides the basis for the identification, presentation and explanation of the different characteristics of their corresponding reverse service supply chains.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of this research can help future researchers to analyse, map and model forward and reverse service supply chains, and to identify potential research gaps in the area.

Practical/implications

The findings of the research can help managers of service firms to gain better visibility of their forward and reverse supply chains, and refine their business models to help extend their reverse/closed-loop activities. Furthermore, the findings can help managers to better optimize their service operations to reduce service gaps and potentially secure new value-adding opportunities.

Originality/value

This paper is the first, to the authors ' knowledge, to conceptualize the basic structure of the forward and reverse service supply chains while dealing with the high level of heterogeneity of services.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

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