European Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management 6 (2000) 67}83                   Supply chain management: an analytical...
68                       S. Croom et al. / European Journal of Purchasing  Supply Management 6 (2000) 67}83Ferguson, 1994;...
S. Croom et al. / European Journal of Purchasing  Supply Management 6 (2000) 67}83                                       6...
70                           S. Croom et al. / European Journal of Purchasing  Supply Management 6 (2000) 67}83  3. Market...
S. Croom et al. / European Journal of Purchasing  Supply Management 6 (2000) 67}83                  714. Methodology * des...
72                            S. Croom et al. / European Journal of Purchasing  Supply Management 6 (2000) 67}83Table 3Sup...
S. Croom et al. / European Journal of Purchasing  Supply Management 6 (2000) 67}83                    73us to classify lit...
74                       S. Croom et al. / European Journal of Purchasing  Supply Management 6 (2000) 67}83Nichols, 1999)....
S. Croom et al. / European Journal of Purchasing  Supply Management 6 (2000) 67}83                               75the eld...
76                             S. Croom et al. / European Journal of Purchasing  Supply Management 6 (2000) 67}83Lee, H.L....
S. Croom et al. / European Journal of Purchasing  Supply Management 6 (2000) 67}83                                 77Bhawa...
78                              S. Croom et al. / European Journal of Purchasing  Supply Management 6 (2000) 67}83Eika, K....
S. Croom et al. / European Journal of Purchasing  Supply Management 6 (2000) 67}83                                79Han, S...
3 supply chain management-a analytical framework for critical literature review
3 supply chain management-a analytical framework for critical literature review
3 supply chain management-a analytical framework for critical literature review
3 supply chain management-a analytical framework for critical literature review
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3 supply chain management-a analytical framework for critical literature review

  1. 1. European Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management 6 (2000) 67}83 Supply chain management: an analytical framework for critical literature review Simon Croom *, Pietro Romano , Mihalis Giannakis Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK Department of Management and Engineering, University of Padua, Vicenza, ItalyAbstract There can be little dispute that supply chain management is an area of importance in the eld of management research, yet therehave been few literature reviews on this topic (Bechtel and Mulumudi, 1996, Proceedings of the 1996 NAPM Annual AcademicConference; Harland, 1996, British Journal of Management 7 (special issue), 63}80; Cooper et al., 1997). This paper sets out not toreview the supply chain literature per se, but rather to contribute to a critical theory debate through the presentation and use ofa framework for the categorisation of literature linked to supply chain management. The study is based on the analysis of a largenumber of publications on supply chain management (books, journal articles, and conference papers) using a Procite database fromwhich the literature has been classied according to two criteria: a content- and a methodology-oriented criterion. 2000 ElsevierScience Ltd. All rights reserved.Keywords: Supply chain management; Supply networks; Buyer}supplier relationships1. Introduction key, 1998). What we set out to establish in this paper is in fact the general problem domain of supply chain manage- This paper is a thought paper and arose from our ment, thereby, we hope, contributing to the developmentdiscussions about the nature of the academic study of of a discipline in supply chain management. Traneldsupply chain management, a conversation that has in- and Starkey also note the underlying `soft, applied, di-deed been on going for a number of years (see Croom and vergent and rurala nature of management research, andSaunders, 1995). Our concern was with the nature of further argue that there is a real need in any eld of socialresearch in supply chain management, and more speci- research to identify the cognitive components of thecally with exactly what would constitute the domain of subject (Traneld and Starkey, 1998). Their paper hassupply chain management as a management discipline. been instrumental in our approach to the challenge ofFrom these discussions this paper developed in order to undertaking a critical literature review of the eld ofpresent a basis for our debate and development around supply chain management, and this papers focus onthe eld of supply chain management by attempting to mapping and classifying the area has been motivated byconsolidate current learning, identify possible gaps, and their claim that `2a key question for any applied eldthereby pose possible future directions for development. concerns the strategic approach taken to its mappinga (p.Our contention that supply chain management should 349).begin to be seen as a discipline in much the same way as Supply chain management and other similar terms,marketing (Malhotra, 1999) has been seen as contentious, such as network sourcing, supply pipeline management,not least by early reviewers of the paper, yet we stand by value chain management, and value stream managementthis claim, citing Long and Dowells (1989) argument that have become subjects of increasing interest in recent`2disciplines are distinguished by the general (disci- years, to academics, consultants and business manage-pline) problem they addressa (cited in Traneld and Star- ment (Christopher, 1992; Hines, 1994; Lamming, 1996; Saunders, 1995, 1998). It is recognised in some parts of the literature that the supply chain should be seen as * Corresponding author. Tel.: #1-203-528222; fax: #1-203-404175. the central unit of competitive analysis (Macbeth and0969-7012/00/$ - see front matter 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.PII: S 0 9 6 9 - 7 0 1 2 ( 9 9 ) 0 0 0 3 0 - 1
  2. 2. 68 S. Croom et al. / European Journal of Purchasing Supply Management 6 (2000) 67}83Ferguson, 1994; Cox, 1997). Companies will not seek to E to describe and evaluate the methodologies used inachieve cost reductions or prot improvement at the supply chain management literature.expense of their supply chain partners, but rather seek to The paper is organised in ve sections. In Section 1 somemake the supply chain as a whole more competitive. In denitions of supply chain management are examined,short, the contention that it is supply chains, and not underlining di!erences and common aspects, in order tosingle rms, that compete is a central tenet in the eld of better trace the boundaries of the concept and to high-supply chain management (Christopher, 1992; Macbeth light the di$culties of its denition. One of the reasonsand Ferguson, 1994). for the lack of a universal denition of supply chain Supply chain management has received attention since management is the multidisciplinary origin and evolu-the early 1980s, yet conceptually the management of tion of the concept. Section 2 considers the bodies ofsupply chains is not particularly well-understood, and literature associated with supply chain management andmany authors have highlighted the necessity of clear discusses the di!erent perspectives adopted by variousdenitional constructs and conceptual frameworks on authors. In Section 3 we explain the framework and thesupply chain management (Saunders, 1995, 1998; New, methodology used for classifying the literature analysed1995; Cooper et al., 1997; Babbar and Prasad, 1998). and we present the results of literature review. Section 4Saunders (1995) warns that pursuit of a universal deni- presents a summary and some conclusions we can drawtion may `lead to unnecessary frustration and con#icta, from the work in terms of moving towards a disciplinaryand also highlights the fragmented nature of the eld of approach to supply chain chain management, drawing as it does on variousantecedents including industrial economics, systems dy-namics, marketing, purchasing and inter-organisational 2. The supply chain management landscapebehaviour. The scientic development of a coherent sup-ply chain management discipline requires that advance- In providing a topology of the supply chain landscapements be made in the development of theoretical models we support New (1995) and Saunders (1995) contentionto inform our understanding of supply chain phenomena. that within the supply chain management literature thereAs an illustration, the application of Forresters (1961) is a confusing profusion of overlapping terminology andindustrial dynamics model applied to supply chains (the meanings. As a consequence, in the literature many labelsForrester E!ect) exemplies such a model. Its value lies can be found referring to supply chain and to practicesin the ability to aid understanding of the actions of for supply chain management, including: integrated pur-materials #ows across a chain, and has provided a basis chasing strategy (Burt, 1984), supplier integration (Dyerfor further advancement of understanding supply chain et al., 1998), buyer}supplier partnership (Lamming,dynamics (for example, see Sterman, 1989; Towill, 1992; 1993), supply base management, strategic supplier allian-Van Ackere et al., 1993; Lee et al., 1997). Cooper et al. ces (Lewis, 1995), supply chain synchronisation (Tan et(1997) support this view, pointing to the fact that whilst al., 1998), network supply chain (Nassimbeni, 1998),supply chain management as a concept is a recent devel- value-added chain (Lee and Billington, 1992), lean chainopment, much of the literature is predicated on the ad- approach (New and Ramsay, 1995), supply pipeline man-option and extension of older, established theoretical agement (Farmer and van Amstel, 1990), supply networkconcepts. (Nishiguchi, 1994), and value stream (Jones, 1995). As In this paper our concern is not so much with advanc- a rst step, we set out in Table 1 to highlight a sample ofing theory per se, but in providing a taxonomy with denitions associated with the concept of supply chainwhich to map and evaluate supply chain research. In the management found in the literature analysed. This tableprocess, it is our contention that we also provide a topol- is not intended to provide a comprehensive review ofogy of the eld of supply chain management, which may supply chain denitions (see, for example, Cooper et al.,provide a fruitful means of delineating or dening the 1997), rather the purpose here is to highlight some of thesubject domain. This is not necessarily a novel idea: contrasting approaches to supply chain managementLamming (1993), for example, provides a map of anteced- existing in the literature.ent literature for his development of the Lean Supply From these selected denitions we are able to partiallyModel, which again supports our claim that there is conrm Saunders (1995) statement that most denitionsa need for a topological approach to the development of of supply chain management share at least one thing insupply chain theory. The paper presents the results of common with each other: `2they focus on the externala literature survey in the eld of supply chain manage- environment of an organisation, with the boundaries ofment. the latter dened conventionally in terms of an entity The main purposes of the survey are: identied legally as a company or some other form ofE to look at some major issues in supply chain manage- business unit2a As such denitions are based on meta- ment literature and to present a framework for classi- phors (chains, pipelines, etc.) or `ideal typesa rather than cation and analysis; `objective entitiesa, he concludes that `2attempts to
  3. 3. S. Croom et al. / European Journal of Purchasing Supply Management 6 (2000) 67}83 69Table 1A sample of denitions of supply chain managementAuthors DenitionTan et al. (1998) Supply chain management encompasses materials/supply management from the supply of basic raw materials to nal product (and possible recycling and re-use). Supply chain management focuses on how rms utilise their suppliers processes, technology and capability to enhance competitive advantage. It is a management philosophy that extends traditional intra-enterprise activities by bringing trading partners together with the common goal of optimisation and e$ciency.Berry et al. (1994) Supply chain management aims at building trust, exchanging information on market needs, developing new products, and reducing the supplier base to a particular OEM (original equipment manufacturer) so as to release management resources for developing meaningful, long term relationship.Jones and Riley (1985) An integrative approach to dealing with the planning and control of the materials #ow from suppliers to end-users.Saunders (1995) External Chain is the total chain of exchange from original source of raw material, through the various rms involved in extracting and processing raw materials, manufacturing, assembling, distributing and retailing to ultimate end customers.Ellram (1991) A network of rms interacting to deliver product or service to the end customer, linking #ows from raw material supply to nal delivery.Christopher (1992) Network of organisations that are involved, through upstream and downstream linkages, in the di!erent processes and activities that produce value in the form of products and services in the hands of the ultimate consumer.Lee and Billington (1992) Networks of manufacturing and distribution sites that procure raw materials, transform them into intermediate and nished products, and distribute the nished products to customers.Kopczak (1997) The set of entities, including suppliers, logistics services providers, manufacturers, distributors and resellers, through which materials, products and information #ow.Lee and Ng (1997) A network of entities that starts with the suppliers supplier and ends with the customers custom the production and delivery of goods and services.pursue universal denitions may lead to unnecessary the lines of physical distribution and transport, using thefrustration and con#icta. However, in a number of man- techniques of industrial dynamics, derived from the workagement elds the study of supply chains concentrates on of Forrester (1961). Another antecedent can be found ininternal supply chains (Harland, 1996), notably the busi- the Total Cost approach to distribution and logisticsness re-engineering (Lee and Dale, 1998) and operations (Heckert and Miner, 1940; Lewis, 1956). Both these ap-management literature (Slack et al., 1998) proaches show that focusing on a single element in the The lack of a universal denition of supply chain chain cannot assure the e!ectiveness of the whole is in part due to the way the concept of The term supply chain management has not been usedsupply chain has been developed. In fact, as it will be only with regard to the logistics activities and the planningexplained in the next section, the concept of supply chain and control of materials and information #ows internallyhas been considered from di!erent points of view in di!er- within a company or externally between companies. Someent bodies of literature. Such a multidisciplinary origin authors have used it to describe strategic, inter-organisa-and evolution is re#ected in the lack of robust conceptual tion issues (Cox, 1997), others to discuss an alternativeframeworks for the development of theory on supply chain organisational form to vertical integration (Thorelli, 1986),management. As a consequence the schemes of inter- others to identify and describe the relationship a companypretation of supply chain management are mostly partial develops with its suppliers (Sako, 1992; Lamming, 1993;or anecdotal with a relatively poor supply of empirically Hines, 1994). In this paper we have examined a numbervalidated models explaining the scope and form of supply of subject areas we consider to be core to any supplychain management, its costs and its benets. chain management literature survey. Below we set out this list, but note that it is both brief and non-exhaustive of the literature or subject areas associated with supply3. Bodies of literature associated with supply chain chain management. The objective is to highlight howmanagement di!erent subject literatures have contributed work in supply chain management from di!erent perspectives. The origins of the concept of supply chain manage- 1. Purchasing and supply literaturement are unclear, but its development was initially along 2. Logistics and transportation literature
  4. 4. 70 S. Croom et al. / European Journal of Purchasing Supply Management 6 (2000) 67}83 3. Marketing literature contention that organisational behaviour is conditioned 4. Organisational behaviour, industrial organisation, and contextualised by its patterns of interaction with transaction cost economics and contract view litera- other rms in its supply chain/network is a common and ture complementary eld of theoretical development for the 5. Contingency theory supply chain management researcher. 6. Institutional sociology In an attempt to clarify the agenda and methodology 7. System engineering literature for future research we present a content overview of the 8. Network literature existing literature under the antecedent headings identi- 9. Best practices literature ed above. Such a content analysis naturally will prove10. Strategic management literature problematic due to multiple perspectives surrounding11. Economic development Literature topics such as alliances, Just-in-time, ElectronicIt should be noted that there is a partial overlapping Commerce, amongst many others. We have thus set outamong the subject areas we are going to discuss. In fact, to provide an indicative delineation in Table 2, identify-the same topic can be considered from di!erent perspect- ing the concerns within each of the six areas that weives in more than one subject area. Drawing on wider consider to relate to the eld of supply chain manage-literature in the areas of network theory, industrial busi- ment, those cases of duplication indicating that thereness marketing and social organisational theory, Croom are multiple perspectives surrounding the problem or(1995) and Croom and Batchelor (1997) note that the process:Table 2Principal component bodies of supply chain literatureStrategic management Relationships/partnershipsStrategic Networks Relationships DevelopmentControl in the supply chain Supplier DevelopmentTime-Based Strategy Strategic Supplier SelectionStrategic Sourcing Vertical DisintegrationVertical Disintegration Partnership SourcingMake or Buy decisions Supplier InvolvementCore Competencies focus Supply/Distribution Base IntegrationSupply Network Design Supplier Assessment (ISO)Strategic Alliances Guest Engineering ConceptStrategic Supplier Segmentation Design for ManufactureWorld Class Manufacturing Mergers Acquisitions, Joint VenturesStrategic Supplier Selection Strategic AlliancesGlobal Strategy Contract View, Trust, CommitmentCapability Development Partnership PerformancesStrategic Purchasing Relationship MarketingLogistics Best practicesIntegration of materials and information #ows JIT, MRP, MRP IIJIT, MRP, Waste Removal, VMI Continuous ImprovementPhysical Distribution Tiered Supplier PartnershipsCross Docking Supplier Associations (kyoryoku kai)Logistics Postponement Leverage Learning NetworkCapacity Planning Quick Response, Time CompressionForecast Information Management Process Mapping, Waste RemovalDistribution Channel Management Physically e$cient Vs. Market Oriented SupplyPlanning and Control of Materials Flow ChainsMarketing Organisational behaviourRelationship Marketing CommunicationInternet Supply Chains Human Resources ManagementCustomer Service Management Employees RelationshipsE$cient Consumer Response Organisational StructureE$cient Replenishment Power in relationshipsAfter Sales Service Organisational Culture Organisational Learning Technology Transfer Knowledge Transfer
  5. 5. S. Croom et al. / European Journal of Purchasing Supply Management 6 (2000) 67}83 714. Methodology * designing a taxonomy of ment, and so on) or on the basis of performances (cost,the supply chain management literature time, quality, #exibility, service, etc.): see Cooper et al. (1997) for such a treatment. It is our contention that After discussing some denitions of supply chain man- a two-dimensional approach to literature content analy-agement and some important bodies of literature asso- sis enables us to address both the level of analysis and theciated with this concept, the next step is to dene processes of supply chain management.a framework for classifying and critically analysing thelarge number of contributions on supply chain manage- 5.1. Dimension one * level of analysisment we have found. To achieve this we contest that it isnecessary to explore the underlying phenomena and pro- The literature we examined associated with supplycesses embodied within these contrasting yet com- chain management concern di!erent levels within theplementary bodies of literature in order to develop total network of operations (Harland, 1996). Thereforea taxonomy encapsulating the evident processes and phe- we propose that the rst dimension used for classifyingnomena of interest to supply chain researchers (see literature is the level of analysis of supply chain manage-Glaser and Strauss, 1967). In order to develop the taxon- ment. We have limited the study to only three levels:omy, we used Procite , a software tool that supported us 1. dyadic level: which considers the single two partyin creating the database containing the bibliographical relationship between supplier and manufacturer orsources we consulted. Citations were identied using manufacturer and distributor/retailer;a number of methods. Firstly, through citation search in 2. chain level: which encompasses a set of dyadic rela-existing conference, journal and working papers and doc- tionships including a supplier, a suppliers supplier,toral theses. Secondly, using the abstracting and on-line a customer and a customers customer;services ProQuest, Searchbank, Anbar and BIDS. Third- 3. network level: which concerns a network of operationsly, through discussions with colleagues at Warwick Busi- (upstream/downstream or total/immediate).ness School and the University of Padua. All the Our concern in this paper was to follow the externalpublications stored in the database are retrievable by chain denition supplied by Saunders (1995), and conse-means of a set of codes (keywords) we created through quently in this paper do not explore the internal supplyintensive analysis of 84 leading and cited papers. chain level of analysis.The reference list to this paper contains all of the cita-tions examined; we have also provided an on-line bibli- 5.2. Dimension two } element of exchangeography of references at, which is regularly up dated. Drawing on the work of Hakansson (1987), who con- The papers were coded according to two classication siders networks as composed of actors, resources andcriteria: activities, our second dimension relates to the nature of1. The content-oriented criterion, according to which the exchange or transaction between actors in networks. The contributions have been classied on the basis of their second dimension used to classify literature the element of content using the framework we have developed exchange, is about `whata is exchanged (material assets, which will be explained in next section; nancial assets, human resource assets, technological as-2. The methodology-oriented criterion, based on the sets, information, and knowledge) and `howa relation- framework used by Ellram (1995) which classies re- ships between actors are conducted and managed. As to searches as primarily descriptive or prescriptive and `whata is exchanged, it is important to consider both the empirically or conceptually based. static aspects (e.g. which actor owns an asset and where itThis was very helpful not only in developing a literature is located) and the dynamic aspects (e.g. materials, in-review with a critical perspective, but also in assessing formation, nancial, technology, and knowledge #owsgaps in current theorising, methods and empirical nding between actors).in the eld of study analysed. The classication scheme isnow explained. 5.3. Two dimensional content analysis matrix The matrix shown in Table 3 has been obtained by5. Content-oriented criterion combining the two dimensions we have highlighted and it will be used to summarise the location of publications In setting out our framework one of the main chal- in terms of the level of analysis and of the element of thelenges is how to address the many di!erent aspects of exchange they consider. In general a single publicationnetworks and their analysis. For instance, one can clas- can deal with more than one element of exchange or levelsify literature on the basis of the operational processes of analysis. In this case it can be classied in more thanwith which it deals (e.g. manufacturing planning and one cell in the matrix. Finally, it should be noted that thecontrol, design, accounting, human resource manage- keyword system of the database we have created allows
  6. 6. 72 S. Croom et al. / European Journal of Purchasing Supply Management 6 (2000) 67}83Table 3Supply chain content matrixLevel of Element of the exchange consideredanalysis Assets Information Knowledge RelationshipsDyadic Suppl. Manuf. Transaction cost Information Technology Collaborative design Outsourcing/subcontracting (specicity of assets) support Transportation routes Tools for analysis of Guest engineer Trust/Power/Commitment rationalisation information #ow Exchange of technology Interplant planning and HR development Supplier development logistical integration (EDI) Redesign HR Transaction cost approach organisational incentives Manuf. Distr. Distribution channel Information Technology Product teams Logistic partnership (with redesign support logistic services providers) Facilities location Interplant planning and Trust/Power/Commitment (warehouses, etc.) logistical integration (EDI) Transportation routes Communication Outsourcing/subcontracting rationalisation processesChain Suppl. * Manuf. * Distr. Quick Response, ECR, Industrial dynamic Supply chain councils Scenarios good for supply etc. approach chain management Industrial dynamic Information Technology Opportunism/Trust/Power/ approach support commitment Reverse supply chain Structured systems Positioning in the chain management analysis and design method Total cost of ownership Modelling the In#uence of product information #ow technology on supply chain relationships Value system analysis Communication processesNetwork Up stream Supply network Information Technology Suppliers meetings Partnership sourcing sourcing support Transportation routes Supply network Lean supply rationalisation communication processes Supply network Interplant planning and Network sourcing structure logistical integration (EDI) Redesign HR Supply base integration organisational incentives Trust/Power/Commitment Down stream Transportation routes Information Technology Logistic partnership (with rationalisation support logistic services providers) Distribution channel Supply network Trust/Power/Commitment/ redesign communication Opportunism processes Facilities location Interplant planning and Outsourcing/subcontracting (warehouses, etc.) logistical integration (EDI) Design for supply chain management Whole Business network Information Technology Value system analysis redesign approach support Value system analysis Business network Supply network redesign approach partnership Design for supply chain Supply network Trust/Power/Commitment/ management communication Opportunism processes Industrial dynamic approach
  7. 7. S. Croom et al. / European Journal of Purchasing Supply Management 6 (2000) 67}83 73us to classify literature also on the basis of processes and retailers. Rather they should help them in developingperformance. In this paper our focus is not on applying ideal systems spanning all functions and organisationsthe content analysis to the literature, rather we are con- throughout the entire supply chain (Handeld andcerned here with introducing and explaining the analyti- Nichols, 1999). A whole interplant planning and logisti-cal matrix to assist in directing and locating future cal integration throughout the supply chain requires cen-research. tralised co-ordination of key data (order forecasts, inventory status at all sites, backlogs, production plans,5.4. Explanation of the matrix supplier delivery schedule, and pipeline inventory) from the di!erent entities, and permits to minimise inventories The rst element of exchange classied is assets. With and to respond to #uctuation in demand in a timely andrespect to material assets, the literature is very rich in e!ective manner. Moreover, if information is available atstudies on inventory and transportation management, in any party in the chain, alignment problems can be e!ec-part because these are the seminal subjects of logistics, tively faced. These problems arise, for example, whenbut probably also because cost and delivery time pres- di!erent sites in the supply chain have operational goalssures require that attention has to be paid to managing that, if met, result in ine$ciencies for the overall chain, orstocks and transportation modes. These subjects sum- inadequate denition of customer service and non-linkedmarise both the static dimension of supply chain man- information systems. On the other hand, not all organisa-agement (where to position inventories along the supply tions are available to share information, because theychain, in which physical form, how much to stock at each perceive information disclosure as a loss of power. Thispoint, how many tiers or warehouses to use, to eliminate behaviour often determines a distortion of informationlocal inventory stocking points and to centralise invento- #ow through the supply chain. Some authors (Berry etries, to relocate consolidation/de-consolidation points, to al., 1994) have observed the ways in which informationadd regional warehouses or to use warehouses for speci- can become distorted as it is interpreted, processed andc customers, etc.) as well as the dynamic ones (which passed up and down supply chains (e.g. industrial dy-form of shipment to use, whether to consolidate trans- namics literature). While this analysis of literature hasportation routes and logistics service providers, to use highlighted a lot of contributions in this eld at both thefaster modes of transportation like air freight, express dyadic and chain level, there is a lower degree of coveragedelivery, etc.). On the other hand, few works consider at the network level.technological and nancial assets at a level of analysis While the two prior elements (assets and information)wider than dyadic level (but see Miles and Snow, 1984). are both relatively well understood and widely con-For instance, few companies include the accounts depart- sidered by literature, the third element, knowledge neces-ment as an integral part of the supply chain, while keep- sary for supply chain management is not so clearly oring control of the cash situation within the supply chain consistently presented. Handeld and Nichols (1999) citecan all help to ensure that all the companies in it stay time-base capabilities as a fundamental knowledge neces-successful. As far as the human resource asset is con- sary for supply chain management. Another importantcerned, an important issue is the request for redesigning subject of research about knowledge for supply chainorganisational incentives systems (Lee and Billington, management is the analysis of the links between indi-1992). vidual competence, organisational competence, and net- The second element of exchange considered is informa- work competence. While a very rich literature does existstion, both in the form of information #ows that permit on the links between organisational competence andquick inter-organisation payments between supply chain corporate strategy, we have found only one work thatmembers, and in the form of information accumulated, highlights the links between organisational competencecoded, and stored in rm database structures. A huge and individual competence (Knight, 1998), and none re-literature does exist concerning developments in in- lating to the links between individual, organisational andformation technology that have provided new oppor- competence required for good supply chain management.tunities through electronic commerce, where transactions The links between the competence of individuals andare completed through a variety of electronic media, organisation performance and between the competenceincluding electronic data interchange (EDI), electronic of organisations and network performance is an area offund transfer (EFT), bar codes, point of sale systems importance (Cox, 1995), but one that is not particularly(POS), fax, automated voice mail, CD-ROM catalogues, well understood.and a variety of others (Croom, 1999). These issues are Finally, the relationships between the actors in thedealt with not only at a dyadic level: information tech- network are perhaps the most important element of thenologies are supply chain `enablersa in that they can help exchange considered. Without a foundation of e!ectivemanagers in developing information systems not visualis- supply chain organisational relationships, any e!ort toing information as a set of repetitive transaction between manage the #ow of information or materials across theentities such as buyers and suppliers, or distributors and supply chain is likely to be unsuccessful (Handeld and
  8. 8. 74 S. Croom et al. / European Journal of Purchasing Supply Management 6 (2000) 67}83Nichols, 1999). Relationships have been considered by accord perceive itself as ultimately dependent uponliterature both at the level of the market (macro) and at end-user demand.level of the single organisations (micro). From a `macroapoint of view the arguments for supply chain manage-ment begin with the rm theory of Coase (1937) and the 6. Methodology-oriented criteriontransactional economics work of Williamson (1975),sometimes addressing the inter-organisational relation- In the move towards developing theory in supply chainships concepts of writers such as Van de Ven et al. (1975), management we have set about establishing a frameworkwhich led theorists to identify the concepts of `networksa for literature analysis that categorises according to twoas opposed to supply chains (Lamming, 1996). In this epistemological dimensions * from theoretical to em-perspective supply chain management is viewed as an pirical, and prescriptive to descriptive. These dimensionsalternative to di!erent types of relationships such as are not particularly radical or novel, representing theintegrated hierarchy and pure market. Ellram (1991) ob- form of literature analysis with which many researchersserved that vertical integration could be viewed as an are familiar (Gill and Johnson, 1991). The rst distinctionalternative to supply chain management, in that it at- is made between theoretical works which set out totempts to manage control channel e$ciency through provide explanations of cause and e!ect, dene underly-ownership. On the contrary, obligational contracting can ing laws, or propose analytical concepts and empiricalbe viewed as one form of supply chain management, in work which focuses on reporting practice. The secondthat attempts to link parts of the channel through formal distinction we make is between prescriptive and descrip-agreement. In her opinion, situations where supply chain tive work, highlighting the emphasis of the work onmanagement techniques are likely to be most appropri- either proposing normative models or summarising cur-ate are short-term contract, long-term contract, and joint rent practises. The concern here has been to identify theventure and equity/interest contract. theoretical foundations of supply chain management in On the other hand, from the micro perspective, an terms of its antecedents, but more importantly in terms ofincreasing number of organisations are nding it prot- the development of an supply chain management theory,able to adopt strategies that require the development of to identify and analyse the development of research intocloser partnership relationships with their major sup- the management of supply chains.pliers. This is leading to an attitudinal shift in behaviour In our analysis we found that the literature is domin-towards suppliers that Lamming (1993) dened as lean ated by descriptive empirical studies. Little in the way ofsupply. Other important variables in#uencing relation- theoretical work has been developed. However, whereships between the actors in the network are: theoretical works have been identied, they are largelyE The sourcing strategy (sole sourcing, single sourcing, concerned with the dynamics of inventory systems (ma- dual sourcing, multi-sourcing, partnering sourcing, terials #ows and stocks). In Fig. 1 we provide an overview etc.). of our original classication returns (in percentage terms)E The attitude and commitment to collaborative im- within each of the four quadrants. provement programmes.E The positioning of the focal rm within the total net- work. 7. Conclusion * implications for the developmentE The extent of dependence on the network measured as of supply chain management theory the proportion of a suppliers business which is dedi- cated to the supply network in question (the relative One of the most signicant ndings from our literature importance of the customer to the suppliers order analysis has been the relative lack of theoretical work in book and second the relative importance of the sup- pliers supplies to the customers purchased material). EE The longevity of the relationships (the past behav- iour, opportunism and the trust in suppliers). EE The technological or process links (the supplier holds or owns the tools and dies needed to make his customers product, existence of electronic links, etc). EE The existence of legal ties (contracts, shared patents, etc.). EE The degree of power and in#uence of each party. EE The length and complexity of the chain: the greater the distance (in number of stages) from the end- Fig. 1. Framework for classifying literature according to the Methodo- customer, the less an organisation will of its own logy oriented criterion.
  9. 9. S. Croom et al. / European Journal of Purchasing Supply Management 6 (2000) 67}83 75the eld when compared to empirical based studies. Our Referencesconcern with the nding that the literature is primarilyempirical-descriptive is that any development of a cog- Babbar, S., Prasad, S., 1998. International purchasing, inventory man-nate supply chain management discipline requires more agement and logistics research: an assessment and agenda. Interna-rigorous and structured research in the topic. We would tional Journal of Operations and Production Management 18 (1),argue that theoretical development is critical to the es- 6}36.tablishment and development of supply chain manage- Berry, D., Towill, D.R., Wadsley, N., 1994. Supply chain managementment study. However, it is not our contention that in the electronics product industry. International Journal of Phys- ical Distribution Logistics Management 24 (10), 20}32.empirical studies are valueless. 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