Developing supply chain methodologies for small to medium sized enterprises
This thesis summarises research focused on the requisites required to implement improvement initiatives successfully. Processes used to enhance supply chain performance initiatives are examined. The core hypothesis is that a preconditioning programme provides support for progressive organisations, irrespective of size or position in the supply chain. An interpretation matrix developed as a result of action research with M E Ltd was tested with NP Ltd and its suppliers. During search conferences the matrix was found to add value by serving as a common platform to record then compare observations and agree a common understanding between participants. Based on qualitative descriptions of training and learning in organisations from the 1950s to the 1970s, Barrington's model has three levels: 'systematic approach' predominating in the 1950s, 'appraisal approach' developed extensively in the 1960s and an 'attitude to continuous improvement' that was promoted after the 1970s fuel crises. This model was used as the basis for selecting collaborating establishments. The literature review concludes that conventional supplier development has the attributes of the systematic approach, which is considered the least effective level. M E Ltd was considering introducing appraisal, had few attributes of the systematic approach, and had an attitude for continuous improvement. A company specific survey was undertaken that led to a series of remedial actions which were identified as a preconditioning programme prior to supplier development. NP Ltd selected leaders by attitude, had institutionalised appraisals and once the core group was established, trained employees with systematic techniques. AAP Ltd had the attitude and systematic techniques, yet did not have appraisal systems. Principal conclusions of this are: · These case studies suggest companies can have any two of Barrington's levels. As a result, an alternate depiction of Barrington’s model is suggested. · The cases indicate that preconditioning can occur within a company, from customer to suppliers and from suppliers to customer. · The cases suggest product development roadmap stability as a root cause for negative effects to the relationship between customer and supplier.