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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2020

Samuel Roscoe, Heather Skipworth, Emel Aktas and Farooq Habib

This paper examines how firms of different sizes formulate and implement strategies to achieve fit with an external environment disrupted by a geopolitical event. The…

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines how firms of different sizes formulate and implement strategies to achieve fit with an external environment disrupted by a geopolitical event. The context of the study is the pharmaceutical industry and how it managed the supply chain uncertainty created by the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union, or Brexit.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected longitudinally from the pro-Brexit vote on 23 June 2016, until the UK’s departure from the EU on 31 January 2020. Twenty-seven interviews were conducted in the pharmaceutical sector, including nineteen interviews with senior managers at eight case companies and eight interviews with experts working for trade associations and standards institutes. The interview findings were triangulated with Brexit policy and strategy documentation.

Findings

When formulating strategy, multi-national enterprises (MNEs) used worst case assumptions, while large firms, and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) gathered knowledge as part of a “wait-and-see” strategy, allowing them to reduce perceptions of heightened supply chain uncertainty. Firms then implemented reactive and/or proactive strategies to mitigate supply chain risks.

Originality/value

The study elaborates on strategic contingency theory by identifying two important conditions for achieving strategic fit: first, companies deploy intangible resources, such as management time, to gather information and reduce perceptions of heightened supply chain uncertainty. Second, companies deploy tangible resources (supply chain redundancies, new supply chain assets) to lessen the negative outcomes of supply chain risks. Managers are provided with an empirical framework for mitigating supply chain uncertainty and risk originating from geopolitical disruptions.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 40 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 24 September 2019

Carl Kühl, Michael Bourlakis, Emel Aktas and Heather Skipworth

The purpose of this paper is to test the link between servitisation and circular economy by synthesising the effect of product-service systems (PSS) on supply chain…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to test the link between servitisation and circular economy by synthesising the effect of product-service systems (PSS) on supply chain circularity (SCC).

Design/methodology/approach

Following a systematic literature review methodology, the study identified 67 studies and synthesised them using content analysis.

Findings

A conceptual model is developed illustrating how PSS business models impact SCC through increased product longevity, closure of resource loops and resource efficiency. It also identifies six contextual factors affecting the implementation of SCC including: economic attractiveness of SCC; firm sustainability strategy; policy and societal environment; product category; supply chain relationships; and technology.

Research limitations/implications

The conceptual model proposes that SCC increases with servitisation. It also proposes that the main circularity effect stems from increased product longevity, followed by closed resource loops and finally resource efficiency. The model is deduced from the literature by using secondary data.

Practical implications

The review provides practitioners with a framework to increase SCC through PSS business models. It also gives insight into the various contextual factors that may affect how a manufacturer’s servitisation strategy contributes to SCC.

Originality/value

This review contributes to the understanding of the relationship between servitisation and SCC by synthesising the different effects that exist. Moreover, it creates new knowledge by identifying a range of contextual factors affecting the relationship between PSS and SCC.

Details

Journal of Enterprise Information Management, vol. 33 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0398

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 23 August 2022

Carl Kühl, Heather Dawn Skipworth, Michael Bourlakis and Emel Aktas

This paper aims to examine the relationships between macro-, meso- and micro-level contextual factors that enable or inhibit the contribution of product service systems…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the relationships between macro-, meso- and micro-level contextual factors that enable or inhibit the contribution of product service systems (PSS) to circularity. It is informed by the natural resource-based view (NRBV) and the multi-level perspective as theoretical lenses.

Design/methodology/approach

A theory elaboration approach is used through three in-depth case studies of UK and German manufacturers. Case studies provide use- and result-oriented PSS for personal computers, power tools and wind turbines. Multiple sources of evidence, including 20 semi-structured interviews, company documents and quantitative data, are triangulated to improve the validity of the results.

Findings

Empirical evidence for relationships between macro-, meso- and micro-level contextual factors show significant barriers to the extending and cycling of resource loops, primarily through maintenance, repairs and refurbishment. A firm’s environmental awareness has a determining role in the contribution of PSS to circularity. The evidence from two use-oriented PSS reveals different circularity maturity levels.

Originality/value

This research makes three key contributions. Firstly, it elaborates on NRBV by showing that a firm’s environmental awareness determines product stewardship. The type of product stewardship practices depends on the enabling and inhibiting effects of macro- and meso-level factors. Secondly, it shows that use-oriented PSS have different circularity profiles and proposes three circularity maturity levels. Finally, it provides an empirically validated framework of macro-, meso- and micro-level enablers and barriers and how they interact to enable or inhibit circularity in PSS.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 30 June 2022

Samuel Roscoe, Emel Aktas, Kenneth J. Petersen, Heather Dawn Skipworth, Robert B. Handfield and Farooq Habib

Why do managers redesign global supply chains in a particular manner when faced with compounding geopolitical disruptions? In answering this research question, this study…

Abstract

Purpose

Why do managers redesign global supply chains in a particular manner when faced with compounding geopolitical disruptions? In answering this research question, this study identifies a constrained system of reasoning (decision-making logic) employed by managers when they redesign their supply chains in situations of heightened uncertainty.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted 40 elite interviews with senior supply chain executives in 28 companies across nine industries from November 2019 to June 2020, when the UK was preparing to leave the European Union, the US–China trade war was escalating, and Covid-19 was spreading rapidly around the globe.

Findings

When redesigning global supply chains, the authors find that managerial decision-making logic is constrained by three distinct environmental ecosystem conditions: (1) the perceived intensity of institutional pressures; (2) the relative mobility of suppliers and supply chain assets; and (3) the perceived severity of the potential disruption risk. Intense government pressure and persistent geopolitical risk tend to impact firms in the same industry, resulting in similar approaches to decision-making regarding supply chain design. However, where suppliers are relatively immobile and supply chain assets are relatively fixed, a dominant logic is consistently present.

Originality/value

Building on an institutional logics perspective, this study finds that managerial decision-making under heightened uncertainty is not solely guided by institutional pressures but also by perceptions of the severity of risk related to potential supply chain disruption and the immobility of supply chain assets. These findings support the theoretical development of a novel construct that the authors term ‘supply chain logics’. Finally, this study provides a decision-making framework for Senior Executives competing in an increasingly complex and unstable business environment.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 42 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 19 February 2021

Hamid Moradlou, Hendrik Reefke, Heather Skipworth and Samuel Roscoe

This study investigates the impact of geopolitical disruptions on the manufacturing supply chain (SC) location decision of managers in UK multinational firms. The context…

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Abstract

Purpose

This study investigates the impact of geopolitical disruptions on the manufacturing supply chain (SC) location decision of managers in UK multinational firms. The context of study is the UK manufacturing sector and its response to the UK's decision to leave the European Union (EU), or Brexit.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopts an abductive, theory elaboration approach and expands on Dunning's eclectic paradigm of international production. A Delphi study over four iterative rounds is conducted to gather and assess insights into manufacturing SC location issues related to Brexit. The panel consisted of 30 experts and managers from a range of key industries, consultancies, governmental organisations, and academia. The Delphi findings are triangulated using a focus group with 38 participants.

Findings

The findings indicate that the majority of companies planned or have relocated production facilities from the UK to the EU, and distribution centres (DCs) from the EU to the UK. This was because of market-seeking advantages (being close to major centres of demand, ease of access to local and international markets) and efficiency-seeking advantages (costs related to expected delays at ports, tariff and non-tariff barriers). Ownership and internalisation advantages, also suggested by the eclectic paradigm, did not play a role in the location decision.

Originality/value

The study elaborates on the OLI framework by showing that policy-related uncertainty is a primary influencing factor in the manufacturing location decision, outweighing the importance of uncertainty as an influencer of governance mode choices. The authors find that during geopolitical disruptions managers make location decisions in tight time-frames with incomplete and imperfect information, in situations of high perceived uncertainty. The study elaborates on the eclectic paradigm by explaining how managerial cognition and bounded rationality influence the manufacturing location decision-making process.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 41 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 December 2018

Britta Søgaard, Heather Dawn Skipworth, Michael Bourlakis, Carlos Mena and Richard Wilding

This paper aims to explore how purchasing could respond to disruptive technologies by examining the assumptions underlying purchasing strategic alignment and purchasing…

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore how purchasing could respond to disruptive technologies by examining the assumptions underlying purchasing strategic alignment and purchasing maturity through a contingency lens.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses a systematic review across purchasing maturity and purchasing strategic alignment literature. This is supplemented with exploratory case studies to include practitioners’ views.

Findings

This research demonstrates that neither purchasing maturity nor purchasing strategic alignment are suitable approaches to respond to disruptive technologies. Purchasing maturity does not allow purchasing managers to select relevant practices. It also shows no consideration of any contingencies, which practitioners highlight as important for the selection of practices. Purchasing strategic alignment includes the company strategy as a contingency but does not provide any practices to choose from. It does not include any other contextual contingencies considered important by practitioners. The findings indicate that linking the two research streams may provide a more suitable approach to responding to disruptive technologies.

Research limitations/implications

This research demonstrates the requirement to develop a new approach to responding to disruptive technologies, by linking purchasing maturity and purchasing strategic alignment to contextual contingencies. This is a currently unexplored approach in academic literature, which refutes the generally accepted premise that higher maturity unilaterally supports a better positioning towards technological disruption. This research also highlights a requirement for practitioners to shift their approach to “best practices”.

Originality/value

This is the first research to systematically review the relationships between purchasing maturity and purchasing strategic alignment. It adds to contingency theory by suggesting that purchasing maturity models can support the achievement of strategic alignment. Also, future research directions are suggested to explore these relationships.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 24 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 August 2015

Heather Skipworth, Janet Godsell, Chee Yew Wong, Soroosh Saghiri and Denyse Julien

This study aims to explain how supply chain alignment, which remains a major challenge for supply chains, can be achieved and its implications for business performance…

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explain how supply chain alignment, which remains a major challenge for supply chains, can be achieved and its implications for business performance (BP) by testing the strengths of the relationships between previously identified enablers, supply chain alignment and BP.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review develops hypotheses on the relationships between enablers, alignment and BP. A survey of medium-to-large UK manufacturing companies was conducted where the sample comprised 151 randomly selected companies, and the response rate was 56 per cent. Partial least square regression was used to test the hypothesis.

Findings

Two types of supply chain alignment are defined – shareholder and customer – but only customer alignment (CA) has a direct positive impact on BP, while shareholder alignment (SA) is its antecedent. Top management support was shown to be an enabler of both shareholder and CA, while organisation structure, information sharing and performance measurement system enabled SA, while internal relational behaviour enabled CA.

Research limitations/implications

Supply chain management research lacks knowledge on exactly how supply chain alignment can be achieved and what BP implications it has. This research provides a tested conceptual model to address this gap.

Practical implications

The refined conceptual model provides precise guidance to practitioners on how to improve BP through supply chain alignment.

Originality/value

Whilst the strategic management literature emphasizes the importance of SA, this study reveals another crucial alignment – CA – and shows its direct positive impact on BP.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 20 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 15 June 2012

Chee Wong, Heather Skipworth, Janet Godsell and Nemile Achimugu

The importance of supply chain alignment has been discussed since the birth of supply chain management (SCM). Yet it remains a major challenge for supply chains. This…

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Abstract

Purpose

The importance of supply chain alignment has been discussed since the birth of supply chain management (SCM). Yet it remains a major challenge for supply chains. This paper aims to systematically review the cross disciplinary literature on supply chain alignment in order to identify, and develop constructs for enablers to alignment, and an associated set of hypotheses.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic approach has been taken to the literature review, which ensures it is auditable and repeatable. The selection criteria are clearly aligned with the review question ensuring all literature pertinent to the question is identified and reviewed. Relevant information is extracted from the selected papers and synthesised into a set of hypotheses.

Findings

Six main constructs for the enablers of alignment are identified and defined: organisational structure, internal relational behaviour, customer relational behaviour, top management support, information sharing and business performance measurement system. While the literature is disparate, across different disciplines there is good support for these enablers. The relationships between supply chain alignment and shareholder and customer value are also argued with the support of the literature. Although each of the enablers is argued to positively affect shareholder and customer value, their interactions with one another are not well supported in the literature, either theoretically or empirically, and therefore this could be an area for further research.

Research limitations/implications

While the hypotheses remain theoretical, it is now possible to test them and understand the relative significance of the various enablers to alignment.

Practical implications

The significance of shareholder and customer alignment on the delivery of shareholder and customer value can be examined, thus moving towards a theory of supply chain alignment. This is needed since in practice companies are struggling with supply chain alignment.

Originality/value

The existing literature on supply chain alignment is disparate and multi‐disciplinary as this descriptive analysis shows, with 72 papers published in 43 different journals. Moreover, most of the papers focus on particular enablers, while this paper brings together six key enablers from the literature to produce a set of hypotheses.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 August 2016

Corrado Cerruti, Carlos Mena, Heather Skipworth and Ernesto Tavoletti

The purpose of this paper is to investigate high-involvement and short-term supply relationships, known as agile supply partnerships (ASPs), and explores the conditions…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate high-involvement and short-term supply relationships, known as agile supply partnerships (ASPs), and explores the conditions that support the development of such inter-organizational relationships.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative exploratory research design was followed, based on in-depth case studies of Italian fashion footwear manufacturers and their relationships with key suppliers.

Findings

ASPs appear to be most relevant in supply material categories which have a high impact on the appearance or functionality of the product. Conversely, in supply categories with a low impact, long-term partnerships are preferred. Four main characteristics of ASPs are identified: they are part of a portfolio of relationships to balance the rigidities of long-term strategic partnerships; they have project-like features; they are developed from a network of pre-qualified suppliers; they are recurring and intermittent rather than continuous or isolated one-off short-term partnerships.

Research limitations/implications

The research has been carried out in the context of an Italian footwear district. Further research is required to evaluate the validity of the propositions in other sectors and geographies.

Practical implications

The research can help decision makers in the fashion industry, and potentially other sectors affected by high turbulence, to identify when ASPs are most appropriate and what characteristics they should have.

Originality/value

This research contributes to the literature on agility by empirically evaluating the apparent paradox related to the specific characteristics of supply relationships required to foster an agile strategy and by clarifying the conditions under which fashion companies develop ASPs.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 36 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 2021

Mary Luz Olivares Tenorio, Stefano Pascucci, Ruud Verkerk, Matthijs Dekker and Tiny A.J.S. van Boekel

In this paper, a conceptual and methodological framework based on empirical evidence derived from the case of the Colombian Cape gooseberry (CG) supply chain is presented…

Abstract

Purpose

In this paper, a conceptual and methodological framework based on empirical evidence derived from the case of the Colombian Cape gooseberry (CG) supply chain is presented. Using this case study, this paper aims to contribute to the extant literature on the internationalization of food supply chains by explicitly considering the alignment of quality attributes and supply chain complexity as key elements to understand the process.

Design/methodology/approach

This research has been designed to be qualitative, inductive and exploratory, thus involving multiple data gathering methods and tools. More specifically, during the first stage of the empirical analysis, this study has mapped and analysed preferences and perceptions of product quality at both the consumer and supply chain levels. Then, this paper has analysed the degree of alignment and complexity in the supply chain and finally, this study has derived scenarios for the internationalization of the supply chain.

Findings

The results indicate tensions between supply chain actors related to quality attribute alignment and complexity, which have the potentials to impact the internationalization scenarios of the CG supply chain. Particularly the findings highlight how alignment and complexity of sourcing and product quality attributes can affect supply chain design strategies in different internationalization pathways of a niche food commodity.

Research limitations/implications

The findings have implications in terms of supply chain design perspectives. In fact, while an approach, which would consider only a transactional or governance perspective would have tackled the problems of misalignment – for example, between farmers and wholesalers or wholesalers and international traders/retailers – it would have ignored the problem of alignment caused at the retailing and consumption stage. In the attempt to internationalize the CG supply chain, farmers, processors and traders are misaligned in relation to the preferences of the targeted final consumers, Dutch/Western European consumers in the case.

Practical implications

Given the misalignment issues, this paper identifies a step by step approach as the most suitable pathway to design an internationalized supply chain because it allows the CG commodity supply chain to develop the potential market of credence quality-attribute by supporting the health-promoting compounds of the fruit. In this way, the CG supply chain could also progressively scale up and work on solving its misalignment issues by building a coordination structure of the chain, with quality control and logistics likely led by large retailers.

Social implications

The study indicates that a process of internalization related to a scenario of a “globalized commodity” can only emerge through processes of coordination and integration at the production level, likely led by forms of producers (farmers) associations or a network of producers and traders, leading to strong marketing activities and scale up in terms of volumes. This has profound social implications and calls for rethinking how this study designs the internationalization of niche commodity supply chains.

Originality/value

Through the application of a mixed methodology approach, in which conceptual, qualitative and quantitative methods have been combined, this paper has been able to identify alternative scenarios to the internationalization and the scale-up of a niche food commodity supply chain, with implications for its design and governance. More specifically in the conceptual model, the different scenarios have been related to the risk of misalignment. The model also identifies alternative pathways of internationalization which may or may not arise according to the way complexity unfolds. In the approach, this study has unpacked complexity by looking into two key dimensions: transactional complexity and quality-attribute complexity.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 26 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

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