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Title: An analysis of the food retail supply chain in Saudi Arabian supermarket sector
Author: Abunar, Salha Mahmoud
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2012
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the level of collaboration between the Saudi Arabian supermarkets and their suppliers, and how they exchange information. As part of this research, the aim was to identify the ways in which orders are placed including the use of electronic methods. Another aim of this study was to explore any particular procedures followed by both retailers and suppliers, regarding product quality and product shelf life. Moreover, this research tried to identify whether or not the retailers experienced any shortage in supply, and tried to determine the causes of the potential delays from both points of view. In addition, this study tried to identify the sources of any conflict between the two parties. Finally, this study tried to determine the impact of the collaboration between the retailers and the suppliers on the supermarkets' customers. The intention was also to test their loyalty to see whether or not they were happy regarding the services and product quality received from supermarkets. In this research the initial investigation was carried out through a literature review in order to develop an understanding of the overall situation in the food retailing sector. This was necessary in order identify any gaps in the literature. This was found to be lacking in terms of any detailed research specific to Saudi Arabia. Then, two case studies were carried out with regard to two different suppliers in Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. This was followed by a structured interview carried out in Saudi Arabia with eight main supermarkets and four food suppliers which serviced those supermarkets. In addition, an anonymous online survey was conducted with Saudi customers to identify their satisfaction regarding supermarket services The Soft System Methodology was used as a qualitative method to analyse the results from the structured interviews, and to determine those factors that could influence and improve the operations of the supply chain. These were validated through the expert panel feedback, though not all believed that it is possible to implement some of these without a change to how the market operates. The study identified that there was a very low level of collaboration between the two parties (retailers and suppliers) and that there was a strong refusal on the part of the supermarkets to share any information with suppliers regarding stock levels. Also, it was found that there were no electronic methods for passing orders from the supermarkets to the suppliers. The main method used was that of sales representatives who had to visit the stores to check the stock level and issue new orders. In addition, the results revealed that sometimes supermarket experienced problems of product availability. The supermarkets were of the opinion that the suppliers' capabilities were limited when it came to providing the required quantity. On the other hand, suppliers suggested that the main cause was late payment to the suppliers on the part of Saudi supermarkets. To conclude, the food retailing sector needs to reshape itself, and the way in which supermarkets deal with their suppliers needs to be fairer, especially in terms of the payments issue and returned products. This sector needs close supervision from a government organisation in order to enhance the sector generally.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Food retailing sector