An Empirical Investigation of Supply Chain Management Practices
This paper presents the results of a study on supply chain management (SCM) practices. Through extensive literature review, this paper first develops six dimensions (strategic supplier partnership, customer relations, information sharing, information quality, lean system, and postponement) that capture the content of the practices of SCM. Then, based on the 196 responses collected from the firms in various industries, t-tests and ANOVA are used to verify whether SCM practices differ by the firm size (measured by the number of employees and annual sales volume), the firm's position in the supply chain (supplier, manufacturer, or distributor/wholesale/retailer (DWR)) or the length of the supply chain that a firm is in. The results show that the top three SCM practices are customer relationship practice, lean system and strategic supplier partnership, while postponement has received the least attention in the firms. The results also show that there are no significant differences in all SCM practices in relation to the firm's position in the supply chain. But some differences do exist in certain SCM practices by the firm size and the length of the supply chain. We find that firms with larger employee size put more emphasis at customer relation practices than firms with less employees; firms with a higher annual sales tend to involve a higher level of strategic partnership with their suppliers, pay more attention to customer relation practices, share more information with their partners, and implement a higher level of lean system than firms with lower annual sales. We also find significant difference exists between information quality and the length of the supply chain. It appears that the longer the supply chain, the worse the quality of information shared across the supply chain.