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Constraints And Challenges In Supply Chain And Logistics: A Case Study Of UK Retail Companies (Dissertation Sample)




Constraints and Challenges in Supply chain and Logistics: A case study of UK retail companies
Chapter 1 Introduction
Supply chain and logistics are defined as the technology of planning and executing the flow of materials, their processing and their delivery to the end consumer. These two elements are mutually exclusive from each other as logistics is concerned with the activities and processes carried out by a specific organization by itself. On the other hand, supply chain is used to define multiple organizations working together to create a network used to supply goods from the producer to the consumer (Christopher, 2016). Even though they are independent in terms of their operations from each other, these two elements work hand in hand in order to allow for a better flow of production to be carried out. They also ensure that the goods that are being produced are able to go from one point to another based on the needs and requirements of the producer, supplier and customer while working within the boundaries set by other stakeholders. Supply chain and organizational logistics are important for any organization and need to be planned and implemented in an effective manner in order to guarantee success for any company.
Supply chain management and logistics is quite a recent field of study and practise which has been developed in order to understand the processes involved in delivering the goods from the suppliers, processing them and then distributing it to the respective customers. There have been many developments that have taken place in this field in recent times which have brought to light the opportunities and constraints which are present in this field of study (Tayur and Ganeshan, 2012). Supply chain management is linked to being able to influence behaviours in different directions and ways. This behaviour can be related to the behaviour of the supplier providing the goods to the organization, the behaviour of the management in terms of processing those goods and the behaviour of the end customer who is demanding those products from the market. It is the proactive and reactive behaviour of the organization which develops and structures the supply chain and logistics.
This supply chain is then used to meet the needs and demands of the customers primarily and then related to meeting the needs and expectations of the other stakeholders around the organization itself. Once the supply chain has been put into place, there are different logics, constraints and challenges which are presented to the organization as well which have to be managed. Researchers have tried to define the boundaries of supply chain management in terms of it being a field of study (Stadtler, 2015). These boundaries can then be applied to the field of practise in order to optimise the supply chain management of a company by allowing it to deliver its goods and services in a better manner. There have been researches which have claimed to develop this field into supply strategy and to develop a whole framework around the idea of optimized supply chain management. The need to reconceptualise the field of study is to allow for better focus on this field of study and practise just like operations management has now developed into operations strategy. The redefining of the idea allows for a more in-depth look into the whole field. Rather than breaking down the whole process into one element, this allows a whole strategy to be developed which makes it continuous. This also allows multiple elements to be collected under one comprehensive and holistic strategy (Jacobs et al., 2010).
It is considered as part of a strategy is due to the fact that it is able to embrace the principles of logistics, purchasing and supplying management to be carried from the suppliers to the customers, management of operations to be carried out by the organization, relationships in terms of the industry within which the company is operating within marketing and service management to be carried out by the company by itself. These separate elements are joined together into one no as a sum of its parts but create a synergistic strategy which is greater than sum of all these elements put together (Gil et al., 2010). Putting these elements together allows for development and exploitation of one coherent and rational strategy which can be executed by the organization. By developing this field of study in terms of a strategy, supply chain management and logistics can further be couple with strategic management.
This allows for these two strategies to be developed simultaneously because of strategic partnership being created. These strategic partnerships can be horizontal in their nature or they can be vertical as well. Horizontal partnership or vertical partnership is able to define how the supply relationships of the organization are being integrated by the company throughout its structure. The unique point of strategic partnership is the fact that it adds more value and is more advantageous to the company as compared to a set of exchanges or transactions being carried out by the company within its own structure (Monczka et al., 2015). These are more diverse in terms of their scope and purpose and their gains are felt far and wide throughout the organization itself.
Problem Statement
The domain and practicality of the concept of supply strategy has to be identified which will allow the company to be able to measure the gains it is getting by carrying out a unified supply strategy. Supply strategy is primarily concerned with development of systems, controls and actions which will be able to identify the gains which are present in the system and then be able to exploit them to their full potential. The use of this strategy allows the organization to form relationships throughout the organizational structure which can then be used to establish competitive advantage within the industry.
This paper will look to carry out extensive research within the UK retail industry by looking at the supply chain management of A, T and S. The supply chains of all these three organizations will be studied in detail which will allow the paper to see how the theory of supply chain management is being applied with the practical approach of these organizations (Crum et al., 2011). There seems to be a huge divide in terms of the theory which has been developed on this issue while the practises being carried out are at opposite ends to the coherence of the theory. The predominant strategies and processes being put into place are at odds with a coherent narrative which has been developed in the theory of supply chain management and it will show that there is a divide between the theory and practise. As this divide will be identified, the paper will also show how the challenges and solutions provided by the theory are not the ones actually seen by the retails organizations like T, A and S and this will be achieved by showing through case studies and interviews carried out from the managers of these organizations. This will allow this paper to develop new challenges and future challenges which are being faced by the organizations which do not exist in theory. The discrepancy which exists between theory and practise will be identified and the paper will look to classify these reasons and show why these discrepancies persist in the supply and value chain of these organizations (Sarkis et al., 2011).
It can be deduced that the differences which do exist have evolved from trial and error and they can lead to better performance of the supply and value chain for many of the organizations. However, it has to be kept in mind still that these practises are on a tangency of theory itself and as there is no substantial theory to back up that practise, they are vulnerable to erosion and subsequent failure over time. This means that the field of theory will always be superior in terms of having validity in its applicability and even though it is seen as being the idealistic and applicable in the perfect circumstances only, as long as work is carried out in the field of practise, the field of practise will always be considered under developed and inferior.
This research has looked at the retailing sector operating in UK of which supply chain and logistics make up the backbone of. This research has identified the challenges and constraints which are faced by the UK retail sector (Bozarth and Handfield, 2016). In order to carry out an effective research, a sample of three major supermarkets has been used which are functioning in the industry. The supermarkets of A, T and S has been used which make up three of the four major supermarkets operating in the UK currently.
This paper will also look to classify the domain, central issues and theories which make up the study of supply chain management which has developed into a mature discipline over time. As time has gone on, managers have been able to develop their own cognitive maps, goals and objectives which they have developed in order to be able to face the day to day barriers and opportunities which are presented to them. These barriers create issues for the managers which they have to face (Hugos, 2011). These issues create challenges for the managers to apply the theory into practise and create complications for the idealistic notions to be put into place for the organization.
Significance of thesis
The research topic that has been chosen for this research is titled as “Constraints and Challenges in Supply chain and Logistics: A case study of UK retail companies”. The topic was chosen due to the fact that the retail sector in the UK has gone through massive growth both internally within the UK and has even spread to countries outside the UK. This means that the business model chosen by these companies does not only work within the UK but is also being ...
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