segunda-feira, 21 de outubro de 2013

The importance of integration of SCM and QM

First time I heard about Supply Chain Management (SCM) I didn’t have the notion of what it was.

When I start to search about, I realized that it has a lot in common with quality management (QM), and so, for companies, it will be really important, in these times of crises, to take advantages of their integration.

There are a lot of different definitions for Supply Chain Management (SCM). One of them says that is an integrated philosophy to manage the total flow from the supply of raw materials to the end customer (Tyndall et al., 1998; Ellram and Cooper 1990; Houlihan 1988).

But SCM can also be seen as a cycle composed by marketing; product design, suppliers, manufacturing, logistics and reverse logistics.

Marketing can predict the level of demand, by conducting research which helps to identify potential markets and forecast projected sales.

Product design concerns the specification and materials required for an efficient and cost effective production.

The suppliers are chosen considering different points, and they provide the raw materials and components that will be used to create the finish products.

When raw materials are available is time to manufacturing! Production lines are developed in order to transform the raw materials and the components in to a finish good that can be sold to the customers. For that the logistics have to spring into action.

Logistics regards a set of activities as planning, coordination and execution required for distribution to the customers. Depending on the product the customer can be a whole sealer, a retailer or a common consumer.

Finally, the reverse logistics concerns all the products that due to returns, reparation or recycling must flow back to the supply chain. With this step we also get some information that can be used to make some improvements on the products which bring us back to the marketing step!

SCM integrates all parties along the value chain into one whole organism and manages them as the assets of a wide company (Simchi-Levi et al., 2000, Mentzer et al., 2001; Kannan and Tan, 2005; Wang et al., 2004).

Improving the quality of all supply chain processes leads to cost reductions, improved resource utilization, and improved process eciency (Wang et al., 2004).

In order to study the integration of QM and SCM, a conceptual model has been develop and will be validated using a structural equation model after a survey questionnaire be prepared and answered by specialists in these areas from Portuguese companies. Subsequently a model of integrated performance evaluation will be developed and validated through case studies of some companies. This process of evaluating individual performance of organizations is very important so that they can optimize results and subsequently the performance of the entire chain.

With all this work I hope that in the end we can be able to help companies to continuously improve in all their activities.

Ellram, L. M. and Cooper, M. C., Supply Chain Management, Partnerships, and the Shipper – Third Party Relationship, The International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 1-10, 1990.
Houlihan, J. B., International Supply Chains: A New Approach, Management Decision, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 13-19, 1988.
Kannan, V.R., Tan, K.C., Just in Time, Total quality management, and supply chain management: understanding their linkages and impact on business performance, Omega, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 153-162, 2005.
Mentzer, J.T., DeWitt, W., Keebler, J.S.., Min, S., Nix, N.W., Smith, C.D. and Zacharia, Z.G., Defining Supply Chain Management, Journal of Business Logistics, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 1-25, 2001.
Simchi-Levi, D., Kaminsky, P. and Simchi-Levi, E., Designing and Managing the Supply Chain—Concepts, Strategies and Case Studies, McGraw Hill, Singapore, 2000.
Tyndall, G., Christopher, G., Wolfgang P. and John, K., Supercharging Supply Chains: New Ways to Increase Value through Global Operational Excellence, John Wiley & Sons, NY, 1998.
Wang, F., Du, T.C. and Li, E.Y, Applying Six-Sigma to supplier development, Total quality Management, vol. 15, no. 9-10, pp. 1217-1229, 2004.


Cristina Fernandes
Postdoc Researcher
Quality and Excellence Research Group
University of Minho