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Article
Publication date: 12 February 2019

Ozlem Bak, Christine Jordan and James Midgley

With supply chains expanding in scope and scale globally, the academic literature underlined the increasing role and importance of soft skills. Traditionally, the supply…

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Abstract

Purpose

With supply chains expanding in scope and scale globally, the academic literature underlined the increasing role and importance of soft skills. Traditionally, the supply chain literature geared towards hard skills including functional and technical skill sets with limited discussion on soft skills. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to assess and explore the soft skills demand in supply chain management arena.

Design/methodology/approach

This study has utilised a mixed methods study in two phases, with the first stage including a questionnaire distributed to 120 supply chain employees in the UK, followed by six interviews with supply chain experts in the UK.

Findings

The results suggest that soft skills, especially behavioural skills such as communication, planning, initiative and negotiation, were seen to be more important when compared to decision making, negotiation and management skills. The findings indicate that the changing supply chain scope encourages the requisition and development of different supply chain soft skills with varied levels of emphasis in relation to 15 soft skills identified in the literature.

Research limitations/implications

This study employs a mixed-method approach to establish the perceived importance of soft skills in the UK supply chains. This limits the generalisability of the results to other contextual settings.

Practical implications

This paper presents soft skills impact upon the supply chain. Specific soft skills are critical to supply chain employees compared to others (e.g. behavioural and people management skills), which may lead to articulation of supply chain soft skills training initiatives.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the soft skills discussion in the supply chain context and discusses the role of soft skills. Topical gaps in the literature are identified as areas for future research. The findings have generated additional supply chain skills to the academic literature as well as provided an understanding of the weighting of soft skills in terms of their importance and application to industry needs.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 26 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 October 2021

James Midgley and Ozlem Bak

The third-party logistics (3PL) provider has faced significant change since containerisation with the broadening scope of supply chains and technological developments…

Abstract

Purpose

The third-party logistics (3PL) provider has faced significant change since containerisation with the broadening scope of supply chains and technological developments. With these changes, the required supply chain skills discussions have covered mostly graduate skills or employees' skills with a limited discussion to what extent and whether senior management skills were changing. Hence, 3PL senior management skill requirements will be compiled based on existing studies and assessed to check whether these are still relevant and if so to what extent for today's 3PL senior managers.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire has been devised based on 3PL senior management skills identified in the academic literature and sent out to senior managers via professional social networks of 3PL. Based on the previous literature, the senior managers selected had to fulfil the selection criteria of a minimum five years' managerial experience in a 3PL, and a minimum of ten years' experience in general, which limited the sample size to twenty-seven senior managers in the 3PL sector.

Findings

The findings indicated that 3PL senior managers’ skills highlighted an increasing dependence on and importance of relational and behavioural skills, particularly when compared with the more traditional functional and managerial skills. The study indicated that the 3PL senior managers highlighted an increasing dependence and importance upon relational and behavioural skills, particularly when compared with the more traditional functional skills.

Research limitations/implications

The study has explored the senior management skills in 3PL in the UK, albeit the respondents possessing diverse backgrounds. Therefore, it would be beneficial to test whether these findings are exemplary across the wider 3PL sector, not only in the UK but also across Europe to see how corporate agenda for executive supply chain skills could be devised.

Practical implications

Corporate supply chain training and development staff can develop specific programs based on the 3PL senior management skill sets especially on relational and behavioural skills, which are needed for future managers as well as up-skill senior managers' skills which are deemed to be most important in the current 3PL market.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the supply chain skills discussion and reports subject relevant challenges for today’s senior management in the 3PL industry. The findings have generated preliminary discussions on whether senior management skills are changing with the broadening scope of supply chains.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 29 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 23 October 2018

Vikas Kumar, Ozlem Bak, Ruizhi Guo, Sarah Louise Shaw, Claudia Colicchia, Jose Arturo Garza-Reyes and Archana Kumari

This study aims to explore the importance and impact of supply and manufacturing risk management upon business performance within the context of Chinese manufacturing…

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the importance and impact of supply and manufacturing risk management upon business performance within the context of Chinese manufacturing supply chains.

Design/methodology/approach

A two-phased multi-method approach was adopted, which included a survey questionnaire to practitioners in Chinese manufacturing supply chains followed by semi-structured interviews. The findings included 103 valid survey responses complemented by six semi-structured interviews.

Findings

The results indicate that in Chinese manufacturing context supply risk and manufacturing risk management are both vital for business performance. A high correlation between business and manufacturing risk management performance exists; however, no significant impact of supplier dependency, systematic purchasing, maturity of production and supply chain and human resources was found despite previously these elements being regarded as key influencers for supply and manufacturing risk management performance. The Chinese manufacturing supply chain indicated that elements such as the supplier and customer orientation, flexibility, manufacturing and supply risk highly connotes with business performance.

Practical implications

In the current unpredictable and volatile business environment, the competitiveness of manufacturing supply chains to a large extent depend on their ability to identify, assess and manage the manufacturing and supply risks. The findings of this study will assist supply chain managers in taking decision on manufacturing and supply risk management and reducing the uncertainty upon their business performance.

Originality/value

The supply chain risk has been widely explored within the context of individual case studies, or standalone models focusing on either supply or manufacturing risk in supply chains; however, to what extent this has been applicable to a wider context and its impact upon business process has not been explored. Hence, this study simultaneously has analysed manufacturing risk and supply risk and its impact upon Chinese manufacturing supply chains business performance. Moreover, this study uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, which is often limited in this area. Finally, the institutional theory lens offers novel insights in better understanding the factors that can affect the impact of supply and manufacturing risk management upon business performance in those contexts, such as China, where the institutional aspect presents specific features.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 23 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 August 2016

Christine Jordan and Ozlem Bak

The growing scale and scope of the supply chain requires a greater understanding of the broader supply chain skills picture. This study aims to assess the supply chain…

3594

Abstract

Purpose

The growing scale and scope of the supply chain requires a greater understanding of the broader supply chain skills picture. This study aims to assess the supply chain skills needs within the context of a UK-based higher education institution involving graduates, academics and employers to appreciate the graduate skills demands of modern supply chains.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed methods study entailing in-depth interviews with academics followed by a questionnaire distributed to graduates and employers has been designed and utilised.

Findings

The findings indicate that the changing supply chain scope encourages the requisition and development of different supply chain skills with varied levels of emphases in relation to 25 skills identified in the literature. Key graduate skills needs are highlighted, including time management, collaborative learning, teamwork and problem solving, with the addition of two supply chain skill areas, namely specialist training and the understanding and application of regulations. The findings of the current study present a limited emphasis on information technology (IT) skills, despite the significant IT advancements and changes in supply chains.

Research limitations/implications

The study has been carried out in a UK university delivering undergraduate supply chain management courses. It would be beneficial to test whether the findings are exemplary across other supply chain courses and to investigate the integration of these skills within the supply chain syllabus and how employers, graduates and academic parties could actively engage in developing the agenda for future supply chain skills needs.

Practical implications

This research paper highlights the gaps in supply chain skills, which inevitably puts considerable pressure on operatives and managers whose responsibility it is to ensure compliance with regulations and professional bodies.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the supply chain skills discussion and reports subject relevant challenges for supply chain educators by engaging three key stakeholders – graduate employers, graduates and academics. The findings have generated additional supply chain skills to the academic literature, in addition to providing an understanding of the weighting of skills in terms of their importance and application to industry needs.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 21 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 December 2019

Kristina Romule, Ozlem Bak, Claudia Colicchia and Sarah Shaw

The discussion of supplier performance assessment and implementation challenges has been evidenced well in the academic literature. However, the analysis of supplier…

Abstract

Purpose

The discussion of supplier performance assessment and implementation challenges has been evidenced well in the academic literature. However, the analysis of supplier performance assessment has been limited in terms of inclusion of suppliers’ perspective, especially in terms of what key performance indicators they deem to be relevant and aligned with their goals. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to shed light on supplier performance assessment, taking into account both manufacturing company’s and suppliers’ perspective, to evaluate to what extent the utilised performance measures are beneficial to all parties.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on literature review on supplier performance assessment, ten categories of performance measures were established and explored in a case study involving a UK manufacturing company and its suppliers. A questionnaire was distributed to the manufacturing company and their 30 suppliers, resulting with a total of 41 responses.

Findings

From the established ten categories only five categories were highly rated which were: net profits, flexibility and responsiveness, delivery performance and time and cycle time, product quality and availability, which were aligned to financial and internal business process categories.

Research limitations/implications

This study focused on a UK-based company and its relationship with its suppliers and how performance measures were assessed within this context. A further study needs to be conducted in terms of comparing the results of the study to other companies’ supplier performance assessment.

Originality/value

The research on the topic of supplier performance assessment often relates to measurement and highlights measures for assessing suppliers’ performance to a particular industry or area of performance measurement. Hence, this study embeds three distinctive angles including the academic literature on supplier performance assessment, suppliers’ and the manufacturing company’s perspectives.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 April 2018

Ozlem Bak

Supply chain risk (SCR) has increasingly attracted academic and corporate interest; however, the SCR debate in academic literature is rather limited to case- and…

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Abstract

Purpose

Supply chain risk (SCR) has increasingly attracted academic and corporate interest; however, the SCR debate in academic literature is rather limited to case- and location-specific studies. Hence, the purpose of this paper is to utilize a systematic literature review (SLR) to explore the SCR research trends and gaps within the management literature.

Design/methodology/approach

To achieve the research objective an SLR, looking into 25 years since 1990, into supply chain risk management (SCRM) was conducted, which resulted in 114 papers.

Findings

While the SCRM literature is growing, results from the SLR identified limited organized understanding of what constitutes a holistic SCR process, and high reliance of particular categories for SCR, such as the high reliance on specific country settings (the USA and the UK); limited presence of cross competitive SCR process analysis and challenges in developing conceptual SCR frameworks.

Research limitations/implications

The SCR embeds categories of location, scope of supply chain, risk management tools, and the industry sectors involved. The search for related publications was mainly used from a wide range of coverage from accountancy to design in SCR; hence, although there is indication to specific industries, and foci of risk, this could be explored further.

Practical implications

This review of SCRM identifies various research gaps and directions for future research to develop theory and a practical understanding of SCR.

Originality/value

The current literature on SCR has been assessed based on its definition and utilization. The current paper bridges this gap by synthesizing the diverse academic journal papers into the categories based on the design continuum, relationship continuum, process continuum and economic continuum. In addition, it highlights the gaps in industry context, theoretical contribution, geographic location, and research methods applied and addresses the scope for further research.

Details

Business Process Management Journal, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-7154

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 August 2011

Ozlem Bak

This article describes the use of mixed methods in the context of e‐business enabled organisational transformation in a strategic business unit of a multinational…

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Abstract

This article describes the use of mixed methods in the context of e‐business enabled organisational transformation in a strategic business unit of a multinational corporation. It includes a theoretical reasoning as to why mixed methods were used and a description of the role of qualitative research in this research agenda. The article begins by examining the research paradigm, leading to the use of mixed methods and the design process of the actual mixed methods. In giving a roadmap in a contextual setting, the article addresses the need for including studies from the initial conceptual development to its application.

Details

Qualitative Research Journal, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1443-9883

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 June 2013

Ozlem Bak and Véronique Boulocher‐Passet

Consultancies provide a beneficial teaching tool in linking industry with supply chain education. With the scarcity of supply chain talent and real life experience, there…

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Abstract

Purpose

Consultancies provide a beneficial teaching tool in linking industry with supply chain education. With the scarcity of supply chain talent and real life experience, there is a real interest in using consultancy modules to bring the two worlds closer. This research paper aims to explore the challenges faced by key stakeholders (clients, lecturers and students) who participate in a supply chain management (SCM) consultancy module.

Design/methodology/approach

Case study methodology is used to describe the challenges faced by the stakeholders in running a SCM consultancy module. Using the existing literature on consultancy module challenges as a point of departure, this paper explores these challenges within a SCM consultancy module. A triangulated research approach allowed capturing the views of the key stakeholders.

Findings

The findings confirmed that the case entailed all initial 13 challenges faced by key stakeholders, as well as four more challenges (health and safety risks; expertise assessment; depicting supply chain management boundaries; and SCM consultancy skills) which were relevant to the SCM field.

Research limitations/implications

The paper offers an insight into the challenges of teaching a supply chain management consultancy module and addresses the issues for academics to bridge the divide between theory and practice.

Practical implications

This paper assists supply chain educators in consultancy module development and helps companies willing to participate in such modules prepare for the challenges that they will encounter. It also contributes to debate on SCM difficulties in building business‐university collaboration.

Originality/value

Consultancy challenges observed in higher education have been based on individual cases and mainly covered in the marketing literature. This paper is the first case study that depicts all consultancy module challenges faced by key stakeholders and within the supply chain management subject; it highlights some subject relevant challenges for supply chain educators.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 18 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 June 2016

Ozlem Bak

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate e-business driven organisational transformation and its resource implications for a European automotive multinational corporation…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate e-business driven organisational transformation and its resource implications for a European automotive multinational corporation. The application of Business Process Change Model (BPCM) was used to investigate throughout the five developmental stages of transformation and the associated resource implications in business-to-business (B2B) and extranet applications.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a case study design, B2B and extranet applications were selected. A triangulated research approach was used to capture the resource implications upon transformation, incorporating a participant observation and interviews.

Findings

The findings indicate that the resource implications change in a transformation process based on individual e-business applications as well as the developmental stages of BPCM. Throughout the transformation only resource investment remained present in both applications. The change in resource implications and iterations between the BPCM stages in the case of “process redefinition”, “continuous improvement” underline why organisational transformation in similar settings could indicate variances in organisations’ transformation results.

Research limitations/implications

The paper offers an insight into the resource implications in an e-business enabled transformation and underpins the importance of using developmental stages to bridge the divide between planning and application. The resource impact has been evaluated within the automotive sector using BPCM, future empirical research is needed to test the BPCM in other industrial e-business enabled transformation settings.

Practical implications

Organisations should take a developmental approach to transformation that assesses resources implications. This also raises the need for using models such as the BPCM to fine-tune the transformation effort, through the inclusion of a more interactive iteration between BPCM stages.

Originality/value

In this paper, the authors present an analysis of an e-business related, organisational transformation project, including an assessment of its ultimate effectiveness. This is the first case study, which focuses on resource implications solely and utilises the BPCM framework to understand the evolution of transformation effort and its resource implications.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 March 2012

Ozlem Bak

The purpose of this study is to explore a department in a UK higher education (HE) institute based on Senge's five characteristics of learning organizations.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore a department in a UK higher education (HE) institute based on Senge's five characteristics of learning organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

In this study, a case study method was utilized. The case study entailed two lines of enquiry: a questionnaire, which was distributed to a UK HE‐institution department followed by semi‐structured interviews.

Findings

The findings show that learning‐organization characteristics were present to a limited extent. Within the department, the results showed a variation in the impact level of the five characteristics between administrative and academic groups, as well as between the new and old members of staff.

Originality/value

Recently, the learning‐organization concept has been of interest to companies operating in both the private and public sectors; however, its implementation in a higher education setting remained limited to holistic studies assessing higher education institutes in general, rather than in studies analyzing its impact at the micro‐level. Hence, this research agenda contributes at two levels of enquiry: the departmental level of learning‐organization adaptation, and the level of the individuals' experiences in the workplace.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

Keywords

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