The influence of corporate strategy on supply chain configuration and management practices

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
The purpose of this study in general is to investigate how corporate strategy influences supply chain configuration and management. This study focuses basically on the main manufacturing organization in the supply chain in an attempt to examine behavioral changes due to supply chain configuration and the practices used to align supply chain management to corporate success. This study focuses mainly on private manufacturing organizations in Dubai; however, this does not mean that the results cannot be generalized to organizations in similar industries. The literature review concludes that both corporate strategy and supply chain management practices influence one another. Based on the literature, strategies utilized in the day to day supply chain activities and management practices are a direct reflection of the overall corporate strategy. On the other hand, it was found that corporate strategy is also influenced by the configuration and management practices of a supply chain. The literature also found that supply chain management activities and practices can be a great source of organizational competitive advantage, thus it can influence the overall organizational performance. A conceptual framework was developed based on the literature findings and then used to examine two different case studies through the qualitative research method. First the relationship between corporate strategy and supply chain management practices and the way they influence one another was analyzed closely. Then the examination focused on how both competitiveness as well as the overall organizational performance is affected by the supply chain management practices. The results show that the formation of supply chain, short term functional objectives as well as long term objectives are based upon the corporate strategy and main business objectives in main manufacturing companies. However, it was found that there are no common strategic work objectives among supply chain partners. Results also indicate that corporate strategy is influenced by the formation of external relationships as such relationships require some behavioral changes to be adopted on all sides. The results also indicate that adopted supply chain practices as well as internal behavioral changes in companies can be a great source of competitive advantage, thus improved overall performance. However, such advantages were only iii partially reached due to the fact that the buyer-supplier relationship was not utilized to the fullest extent in both case studies. The identified short comings in the analysis of both case studies helped form a set of recommendation to improve supply chain relationships. The research recommends the application of supplier evaluation techniques before engaging in long term relationships. The research also recommends improving the internal managerial processes by opening the door to employees to be part of the decision making process as this can be a source of great competitive advantage and enhance the internal organizational health. As for supply chain work objectives, the research recommends coming up with a unified supply chain strategic goals that are accepted by all supply chain sides to insure the full understanding of all work related aspects. Having unified strategic goals is found to enhance the involvement of suppliers in the manufacturing process, thus opening the door for new opportunities and innovative initiatives that would have not been realized without such close relationships. The research also recommends evaluating supply chain activities at all times to make sure there are no deviations from the agreed upon objectives, delays or misguided or duplicated activities that will not add value to the end result.
corporate strategy, supply chain management, organizational performance, managerial processes