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A Research Study On Sg Imports Limited Assignment Sample

INTRODUCTION

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Business world is becoming complex day by day due to which it had become essential for the businesses to manage the operations effectively. The success and failure of the firm is highly depended on the way they are managing their business operations. Supply chain management is one of the most important business operations which need to be managed in an efficient manner. In general terms supply chain management is referred as the process of transforming the raw material into the final product. There are different sub factors and business operations which are involved in this process. Managing the demand and supply is crucial for the organizations (Christopher, 2017). 

In the current study the researcher would be focusing on explaining supply chain management for a chosen organisation. The researcher is working as an warehouse manager in an UK based Stone company which is considered as the case company for this research. The researcher would be focusing on SG imports (SE) limited which is a private limited company operating in UK. The company is working as a wholesale trader of granite and marble which is being imported from different parts of the world. For a marble company it is very important to manage the business operations in an effective manner. Supply chain management is very crucial for the case company as it would help them in managing their supply and demand and will ensure smooth functioning of the firm. 

Background

The businesses need to focus on managing their supply chain in an effective manner. The business world is becoming complex day by day and this is creating issues for the firms in operating efficiently. In a complex system it had become more difficult for the firms to manage the business operations smoothly. The organizations need to focus on managing all the different components of the supply chain management effectively such as planning, production, warehouse, logistics and strategy effectively (Pagano and Liotine, 2019). The researcher is working as an warehouse manager and it is important for the manager to manage the warehouse properly. Warehouse is one of the most important parts of supply chain management. Due to this reason it is important for the businesses to focus on managing their warehouse effectively. Although warehouse management is a part of supply chain management but it is having an major role to play in the organisational efficiency. 

Managing the warehouse is not as easy task as one needs to focus on encompassing the different principals and processes which are involved in running day to dag operation of the warehouse. With the technological advancement the warehouse management had become more advance. Different software and systems are being used for managing the warehouse. It is significant for the warehouse manager to ensure that they are having enough products which can satisfy the needs of the customer. Along with this keeping the financial records and managing logistic is also an significant task for warehouse manager. There are different issues that are being faced during the management of the supply chain and warehouse which would be highlighted in this research. In this study the researcher would be focusing on warehouse management and supply chain management in detail. For this the researcher would explain that how the case company is managing their supply chain. 

In the current study the researcher would be focusing on explaining the different supply chain management issues which are being faced by the case company. For this the researcher would be using both primary and secondary data which would help them in conducting high quality research study. The employees working on the case company would be interviewed for collecting high quality data. This would help the researcher in providing better knowledge related to the research topic. Along with this better knowledge would help the researcher in identifying that what are the different strategies that can help them in addressing these supply chain management issues and managing smooth functioning as well. 

Aim and Objectives

Aim

The aim of this research is to critically examine and evaluate the factors that affect the application of supply chain management system in the SG Imports (SE) Limited. 

Objectives

Following objectives will be achieved at the end of this research study:

  • To determine the factors affecting the application of supply management system. 

  • To evaluate some favourable strategies which can be adopted to manage those identified factors. 

  • To examine the implications of those factors.

Research Questions

  • Why supply chain management is important for the businesses?

  • Which factors affect the application of supply chain management in SG Imports (SE) Limited? 

  • Which strategies can be implemented to manage those factors? 

Rationale of the study 

Due to increased globalisation and internationalisation the reliance on global supply chain had increased to a greater extent and due to this reason supply chain management had become one of the important organisational issues for the businesses. The major reason behind selecting this topic is that this is one of the most research topic in the management studies because it is affecting almost all the businesses performance. This topic would help in exploring all the different factors that are affecting supply chain management systems. The marble industry of UK is highly depended on the global supply chain which makes supply chain management an important topic for this industry. Due to this reason it is very important for the case company to understand that how they can develop different strategies for managing their supply chain in an efficient manner.

The stone market of UK is highly depended on the global supply chain for smooth functioning for the firms. Majority of the marble and stones are being imported from different parts of world due to which it is important for the firms operating in this industry to manage their supply chain effectively. For maintaining the demand and supply it is crucial to manage the suppliers in an effective manner. This industry is being selected because the researcher is working in the firm which is operating in the stone industry of UK. Along with this it is an appropriate industry for understanding that how the different factors affect the supply chain management systems. The knowledge related to supply chain will also be very beneficial for the researcher as it would help them in managing the warehouse more effectively. Moreover this research study would provide better knowledge that would be helpful for all the other departments of the firms. Thus, it can be said that the chosen topic is very crucial for smooth functioning and profitability of the firm and due to this reason only the researcher had chosen this topic. 

Significance of the study 

Managing the businesses at international level creates a lot of issues for the firms. In the recent decades the dependence of the firms on global supply chains had increased to a greater extent. SG Imports (SE) Limited is managing the business operations at international level and for such a firm it is crucial to have high quality management system that can help them in managing their supply chain efficiently. The case company is having large number of suppliers from different parts of the world. Due to this managing the supply chain is not easy for such firms. This research study would help the company in identifying the different supply chain management issues which are being faced by them. Along with this it would help them in identifying the solutions for those problems as well. It is crucial for the firms to understand the importance of supply chain management. For the employees, management and the entire industry it is significant to understand the factors affecting the supply chain and manage those issues effectively. It can be said that this research study will provide better knowledge related to supply chain management to all the different stakeholders. 

The case company would be highly beneficial from this research study as it would help them in critically evaluating their supply chain management strategies in an effective manner. The warehouse manager would also learn that how the different factors are affecting warehouse management. Diverse factors affecting the supply chain management system would be identified in the study. Later on the knowledge related to different favourable strategies that can be used by the firms will help the case company in addressing those issues. Understanding the factors affecting the supply chain management is very important for the firms because it is having an influence on performance and productivity of the firm. This research would be very beneficial for the entire industry. 

Structure of the study 

In this research study the researcher would be focusing on conducting the study in an systematic manner for which different chapters would be developed for clear and effective presentation of the study. Introduction would be the first chapter of the research report which focuses on explaining the background and aims and objectives of the study in detail. Moreover this would include different sub sections for better presentation. Then Literature review would be the second chapter of the research study that would focus on representing different arguments related to the research topic. In this the researcher would include different articles and journals for offering better knowledge related to the topic. Methodology would be the third chapter which would provide detailed knowledge related to the different methods and techniques that were being used in the research for collecting and analysing the data. The next chapter would be of results and findings in which the results of the research study would be well represented with the help of graphs for better representation. Then the data analysis section would analyse the data collected and will compare the results of the present study with other similar studies. Lastly the conclusion would conclude the research study and will mentioned the recommendations based on the research study. 

LITERATURE REVIEW

In this section of the study the researcher would be explaining the ideas of the different researchers related to the research topic. Literature review is an important part of the research study as it helps the researcher in explaining the research topic in detail to the readers and other stakeholders. This section of the study will include the different sub sections which would explain the different topic related to the research topic in detail. 

Supply chain management 

Supply chain management is referred as one of the most important business operations for the companies. Wieland (2021) had mentioned that in the present technological era the businesses should focus on using effective strategies for managing the supply chain in an efficient manner.  The company needs to manage different supply chain management processes such as procurement, planning, production, order management, warehousing and many more. The supply chain management software can assist the companies in all these operations and processes.  Moreover it can help the firm to deal with these businesses operations efficiently. The researcher had concluded that businesses need to have effective management that can help them in managing the supply chain and all other business operations properly.

Min et. al. (2019) had stated that supply chain management is defined as the process of management of the flow of goods, data and finances in an organisation related to the products and services offered by the firm. The supply chain management needs to ensure proper management of the product and services from the procurement to the final product. The study had mentioned that supply chain management is having a significant impact on the performance of the firm due to which it is significant for the firms to manage their supply chain effectively.  

What Is Supply Chain Management (SCM)?

(Source: Daniel, 2021)

Rejeb et. al. (2019) had mentioned that with the technological advancements and changing customer needs it has become important for the firms to make their supply chains more advanced. Now the customers demand fast shipping of their products and this is not an easy task for the firms to manage. Due to these changes the companies are focusing on using effective supply chain management systems that can provide better accessibility to all the different departments throughout the organization. Along with this these systems also help the firms to offer better accessibility to the customers to track their orders. These systems are helping the firms in meeting the shifting customer demands. Thus, it can be said that for the modern businesses it is significant to have effective supply chain management systems that can help them in remaining more competitive in their respective industries. 

How Supply Chain Software Can Benefit Your Business

Dehgani and Navimipour, (2019) had mentioned that the businesses needs to have effective supply chain management systems. These systems are the software which are being used by the firms for managing the flow of goods and resources related to the product.  The companies can use different types of supply chain management software that focuses on specific tasks. The study had mentioned that all the stakeholders such as suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, logistic managers, transportation providers and manufacturers should have access to the supply chain management systems. This would help them in working with better cooperation and integration among all the departments within the organization. Along with this it helps them in improving the customer experience, meeting customer demands and better management of the supply and demand in an efficient way. 

Warehouse management 

Warehouse management is one of the important business tasks as it is having an influence on the entire supply chain management and all other business operations as well. Richards (2017) had mentioned that warehouse management is referred as the process of managing the warehouse operations in an efficient manner. Warehouse management plays an important role in ensuring that the customers should receive the delivery of the products on time. For managing efficient delivery it is important for the warehouse management to focus on managing the warehouse processes. When all the different processes work in an effective manner then it helps them in managing their warehouse effectively and increasing the efficiency which is important for better performance of the company. 

Global Warehouse Management System Market | USD 1.84 billion in 2018 to USD  4.81 billion by 2025 | CAGR 15.1% - IssueWire

In support to this Faber et. al. (2018) has stated that the warehouse management needs to focus on different factors. The warehouse management should manage effective communication between the suppliers and the transportation companies that can help them in ensuring arrival and shipping of orders on time. Along with this effective warehouse management is also crucial for the smooth functioning of the supply chain in an effective manner. The report mentioned that all the aspects of the warehouse management processes are important and better interconnectivity among all these process can help the firms in increasing their productivity. 

Bayram and Çengel, (2020) had stated that warehouse management is adding value to the organisation by increasing its efficiency. The warehouse management system helps in addressing the issues related to inventory management and increases the efficiency of the tasks. Along with this warehouse of playing an crucial role in shaping the customer experience and satisfying the customer.  When the customers get their products on time then it helps them in having good customer service which attracts the customers.  Moreover warehouse management is having an positive impact on productivity and profitability of the firm which is important for the success of the company. 

Warehouse Management System (WMS) in India - Pros and Cons -Shiprocket

Importance of supply chain management for stone industry 

Koberg and Longoni, (2019) had conducted the research study for explaining the important for supply chain management for the international businesses. The study had mentioned that although the supply chain is important for all the firms but it becomes more significant in case of global businesses. The study had mentioned that the global firm’s different issues while managing the supply chain at global level. The issue such as less profitability, cost, personalization and many more are being faced by the firms while managing the global supply chain. For addressing these issues it is very important for the businesses to focus on managing the supply chain efficiently so that they can improve their operational efficiency. 

Murugan, (2009) had mentioned that the stone industries needs to be more advanced for better management. In this report the researcher had mentioned that it is important for the business operating in stone industry. The report had mentioned that IT should be used in the supply chain management of the stone industry for making it more efficient. With the changing technologies and business development it had become important for the firms to be more effective. The stone industries rely on global supplier and due to this reason it become more important for the firms to manage the supply chain effectively. 

Soni et. al. (2020) had conducted an research study for explaining the supply chain network design in stone industry. The study had mentioned that when the businesses are focusing on developing better integration among the supply chains then it can help the businesses in improving their financial performance.  Thus the study had stated that the organization needs to focus on, designing the network design in such a way that they should reduce the potential risks related to supply chain management. This would help them in better management of the supply chain and efficient management as well.  

Micro environmental factors affecting supply chain management

Algaribeh, (2017) had conducted a research study for explaining that how the different factors are having an impact on supply chain network integration. For this the researcher had conducted a research study with the help of questionnaire survey with the employees working in an organisation. After collecting the data the researcher had used an effective method for analysing the data and getting the results. The researcher had found that there are some of the important factors related to micro environment that are having an influence on the SC operations. The results showed that transactional cost, strategy and planning, logistic management and operational flexibility are affecting the SC. Along with this other factors include the measure of SC benefits, enterprise integration challenges and customer order management. 

Macro environmental factors affecting SCM

Kshetri (2018) had conducted a research study for explaining that what different factors that are affecting supply chain management are. In this study, the researcher have mentioned that the factors such as environmental uncertainty, political factors, company environment, government support and several other factors are having an influence on the supply chain. The economic environment of the nation is also having an impact on the supply chain management operating in all the different industries. 

Macro Environment: Socio-Cultural, Technological, Physical & Political

The environmental uncertainty is the crucial factors that are having greater potential to affect the supply chain globally.  All the firms operating in different industries can face the risks associated with the environment uncertainty. When the company face issues related to any of the environmental uncertainly then all the businesses practices of the firm are affected n one or the another way. In such situations the company face issues related to the supply chain management operations such as lack of proper supply of the products from suppliers, inventory and warehouse issue and many more. In this case the companies need to pay attention on taking effective actions and develop efficient strategies that can help them in managing the uncertainty properly and addressing these issues as well. 

Factors affecting the application of supply chain management systems 

George and Pillai, (2019) had conducting an research study for explaining the factors affecting the supply chain performance.  In this study the researcher had explained that the factors such as supply chain structure, information sharing, and customer demand, forecasting method, lead time and inventory control policies are important. Detailed description has been mentioned by the researcher for explaining that how these factors are affecting the performance such as: 

  • Supply chain structure: the structure of supply chain affects its effectiveness so it needs to be easy and simple.

  •  Forecasting method: this is very important factor which is having an impact on the supply chain management. The company should have effective forecasting method that can help them in predicting the future sales of the company so that they can manage the supply chain according to that only.

  • Lead time: lead time is also an effective factor that is having an influence on the performance of the supply chain.

  • Customer demand: this is an most important external factor which is having an significant impact on the supply chain. The companies need to manage their supply of commodities as per the customer demands and market trends then also they can manage the demand efficiently. 

  • Inventory control policy: this is very important for the organisations to have an effective inventory management system. This can help the company in having the right good on hand for managing the stock properly and meeting the customer demands. Thus inventory management system of the company is having an major impact on supply chain management.

On the basis of the report this can be said that it is crucial for the firms to focus on focusing on all the above mentioned factors while managing the supply chain management. These factors become more important when the companies rely on global supply chain and having high number of suppliers belonging to different nations. 

Patrucco et. al. (2019) had mentioned that the internal factors are also having an impact on the supply chain management of the firm. The researcher had mentioned that the internal policies of the firm and the issues related to the internal strategies can affect the supply chain management.  The researcher had highlighted that the factors such as relation of the company with the suppliers is an significant factor which is having an impact on the supply chain management.  The companies should have effective relationships with their suppliers then only it can help them in managing the smooth functioning of the supply chain.  In contrast to this if the company is not having better relationships and trust with their suppliers then it can create a lot of issues related to supply chain management.  Thus the report suggested that the firms should focus on managing the positive relations with their suppliers so that they can reduce the risk related to supply chain management.

Kwon and Suh, (2004) had conducted a study for explaining the factor that is affecting the supply chain management and commitment among supply chain management partners. The study had highlighted that trust is a crucial factor that can foster the commitment among the supply chain partners. The study had conducted a comprehensive survey with the supply chain practitioners for understanding the relationships between trust among the supply chain partners and its impact of supply chain performance. The results have shown that information sharing and reputation of the partners in the market have strong positive impact on trust among the supply chain partners.

Sajjad et. al. (2015) had stated that the legal factors are also having an major role to play in the international business management.  When the companies are operating at international level then they need to focus on following all the different legal rules and regulations which are being made by the government for the international businesses. The companies have to focus on following the different rules associated with the imports and exports. Along with this the taxes related to the imports and exports are also having an major impact on the supply chain and international business management. From this point of you it can be said that government policies related to imports and export are having an crucial role to play in supply chain management for the international firms. When the company is importing the goods from different nations then it is very important for them to focus on the government policies and taxes.

Noor et. al. (2013) had conducted a research study for explaining that what are the different factors affecting the supply chain management. The study had mentioned that there are four different factors which are having an impact on the effectiveness of supply chain management which are planning, quality,  sourcing and time delivery. All these factors are affecting the SCM and due to this reason the researcher had focused on analysing which of these factors is having higher influence on the supply chain management. 

In this study questionnaire survey is being conducted with the managers and staff members working in supply chain management sector. This had helped them in collecting better information related to the research study. SPSS is being used for analysing the data, in which the researcher had used different analysis such as descriptive analysis, regression, Chronbach’s alpha and correlation. 

(Source: Noor et. al. 2013)

The above mentioned images show the results of the study. The results have shown that among all the four factors planning is having higher impact on the effectiveness of the supply chain management. Thus, it can be said that the businesses should focus on doing effective planning related to supply chain management that can help them in managing the supply chain in an effective manner. 

Wang  and Cruz,   (2018) had conducted an research study for explaining the impact of leadership on the supply chain management. Leadership is having an one of the important role to play in management of the individual and business processes in an organisation. In this study the researcher had focused on examining the impact of transformational leadership on the supply chain management. And especially the researcher had focused on lean supply chain management. The role of transformational leadership on lean supply chain management is discussed. Transformational leadership is having an major impact on the organisation as it motivates the employees to deliver better performance and create major changes in the organization. The study had mentioned that when transformational leadership is followed then it helps the firms in bringing continuous improvements and manage lean supply chain which is based on continuous improvement. 

In the technological advanced world the businesses needs to be modern for managing the firm more effectively. The different technologies are required to be integrated and used for better management and smooth functioning of the firms. The organisations are using diverse technologies in their supply chain management as well. Saberi et. al. (2019) had stated in their study that in the global world the supply chains are more difficult to manage and control. For addressing the issues related to supply chain management block chain technology is a better approach. The businesses across the world are focusing on implementing this technology in their firms for better management of the supply chain. Along with this the local and global government also emphasis on the use of block chain technology for better management and for attaining supply chain management sustainability. But when the firms are focusing on using this approach for the management of their supply chain then there are different factors that create issues and barriers for them.

The study had categorized those barriers as inter-organisational, intra-organisational, technical and external barriers. From this it can be said that the human resource working in the firm needs to be highly skilled then only they would be able to manage the supply chain with such technologies. Along with this the companies have to focus on reducing the technical and external barriers which are creating issues for them. It can be said that in the present world the companies have to avoid these issues and should make better use of block chain technology which can help them in addressing the issues related to efficiency in their supply chains.

Hudnurkar et. al. (2014) had conducted a research study for explaining that what are the factors that affect the collaboration in supply chain management. The relationships of the companies with their suppliers are having a major role to play in supply chain management. Due to this reason it is important to understand that what factors affect the relationships and collaboration. For explaining this researcher had collected 69 research papers which are being published in the journals for conducting a high quality research. In this study the researcher had found that there are several factors which are having an potential to affect the supply chain management and supply chain collaboration to a greater extent. The diverse factors include commitment, trust, topology, collaborative communication, and dependent and interdepend long term relationships, legal protection, cooperation, information sharing, resources sharing and many more.

Gartner (2019) had conducted an research for explaining that what are the different factors that would affect the future supply chain management. In this study the researcher had explained the four different factors which would create major issues for the firms. The study had mentioned that the shift in the labour supply would have an major impact on the supply chain management in the recent years. Along with this the researcher had mentioned that the future supply chain workforce needs to be highly skilled. The future employees working in the supply chain sector needs to have an ability to use better technology such as analytics and AI for effective management of the supply chain. Another factor which would create issues for the firms would be the smart machines. In the next 10 years AI would gain a lot of important for the businesses and along with this it would also increase the use of AI in supply chain management. Thus the companies have to prepare themselves for becoming more advanced so that they can use AI and big data more efficiently. From this it can be said that the firms needs to be more advance and have to prepare themselves to be more technologically advanced otherwise they would be facing major issues in managing the supply chains.

Strategies used by the businesses for managing the supply chain in an effective manner 

Kshetri (2018) had mentioned regarding the usage of block chain technology in the supply chain management. The researcher had mentioned that the supply chain management has changed to a greater extent after block chain technology. Block chain technology provides the access of all the information to all the parties involved in the supply chain management. One of the important benefits of using the block chain technology is that it reduces the issues related to errors of data and reduces communication errors as well. When the companies are using the block chain technology then it helps them in addressing several important issues related to the management of supply chain. This technology is having an impact on the cost, speed, quality, dependability, risk reduction, flexibility and sustainability. It can be said that the use of this technology helps in attaining sustainability and addressing the issues as well. It can be said that the use of block chain technology leads to increase transparency in the supply chain and increases efficiency as well. The firms are also focusing on incorporating the use of IoT in block chain based solutions for managing the supply chain effectively. 

Malek and Rahim, (2017) had mentioned that how the firms are managing the supply chain in stone industry. The researcher had mentioned that the supply chain is more dynamic for the stone industry as compared to any other manufacturing industry. The study had highlighted the use of Mixed Integer Linear Programming (MILP) model in supply chain. This model is being applied by the businesses operating in the stone industry. This is helping them in reducing the cost and the distribution time. Along with this the model is also helping the firms in improving the performance of logistics services. Also this is helping them in addressing the limitations related to networking of the supply chains. In support to this Babazadeh et. al. (2013) had also mentioned regarding the use of MILP based supply chain network design model. The researcher had mentioned that the this model helps the businesses in developing the cost effective connections among the suppliers and marketers. Along with this the study had also mentioned that this model helps the firms in enhancing the strategic and tactical planning in the stone industry. From this it can be said that the businesses needs to focus on applying this model in their network designing for making the supply chain management efficient. 

Vanteddu and Nicholls, (2020) had mentioned regarding the dimension stone supply chain management which is being used for effective supply chain management in the stone industry. The researcher had mentioned that the businesses face different issues related to the supply chain network designs. The concept of dimension stone supply chain helps the businesses in addressing the issues related to network design and improves the working efficiency of the stone supply chain. The study had explained that the dimension supply chain is having three important processes involved in the study. 

When the stone companies are using this model they have to focus on three main functions which are stone excavation and inbound transportation, dimension stone cutting, polishing and trimming and the last one is packaging and outbound transportation. All these processes are interdependent and due to this reason the management should pay attention on managing all the tasks appropriately for smooth functioning of supply chain.

From this it can be said that the use of dimension supply chain can help the firms in reducing the supply chain complexities. Also this can help the firms in managing the different businesses operations properly and helps the firms in meeting the demands of the customers effectively. In other words it can be said that this can help the organisations in enhancing overall efficiency of supply chains. 

Nimeh et. al. (2018) had investigated the use of lean supply chain manufacturing processes by the firms for improving the performance of supply chain management. In the current business world the organisations are working effectively for making the supply chains more productive for the businesses. In this study the researcher had conducted the survey with the 400 managers working in the manufacturing firms operating in diverse industries.  In this the researcher had studied the five important lean supply chain management practices. These practices are just in time, waste reduction, supplier relationships, customer relationships and flow of information among the firms. All these factors are very important for the businesses while managing the supply chains. These factors are crucial for addressing the issues related to supply chain management. 

Gunasekaran et. al. (2017) had conducted a research study for explaining that what can be done for improving the supply chain performance with the help of management capabilities. In this study the researcher had mentioned that the human resource and the managers working in supply chain management are having higher capability to improve the supply chain performance. The study had explained that there are different issues related to supply chain such as increasing logistic cost, increasing labour cost, rapid technological development and sustainability. These issues can be addressed and managed with the help of highly skilled workforce and effective managers. The study had stated that the firms should have effective managers which are having better skills related to forecasting, product positioning and should have an ability to manage the businesses operations effectively. They should have dynamic skills that can help them in managing their suppliers, retailer and warehouses effectively. 

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 

Methodology is referred as the different methods and processes which are being used for collecting and analysis the data in the research study. It is one of the most important part of the research study because the effectiveness of the study depends on it. Along with this quality of the study and authentication and validation also depends on the way in which the data is being collected and analysed in the research study. The researcher needs to make different choices while selecting the methodology for the research study. The selection of the methodology depends on the aims and objectives of the research study and research topic as well. The different sub sections and the different methodological choices of the research for the current study are mentioned below such as: 

Research Approach

Research approach is referred as the way in which the researcher would approach for the study. It describes the different types of plans and procedures that are being used by the researchers for the study. All the different steps which are being taken by the researchers for the detailed data collection and analysis are based on the research approach. The approach of the research focuses on all the major parts of the study.  The approach which is required to be selected by the researcher is interconnected with the research method, design and philosophy. 

There are different types of research approaches that can be used by the researcher. The research approaches are classified as inductive, deductive and abductive research approaches.  In the inductive research approach the researcher focuses on testing the unknown premises and for this the different aims and objectives are being formed in the study.  On the other hand in the deductive research approach the researcher focuses on analysis the hypothesis for the known premises. In the current study the researcher would be focusing on using inductive research for which aims and objectives are being designed. For the present study the researcher is focusing on identifying that what are the factors which are affecting the supply chain management for UK stone company which is an unknown premises. So in this case it is appropriate for the researcher to make use of the inductive research design. 

Research Design 

Research design is referred as the process or the framework that is been used by the researcher for combining the different parts of the study.  It is significant for the researcher to select an appropriate research design that can help them in integrating all the parts in an well-structured manner so that better results can be obtained from the research. Along with this effective researcher design is also important for generalising the results to all the population and should not be restricted to the sample or the case company. It can be said that the research should focus on getting the results that can be applied to all the stone businesses that are operating in UK. 

There are different types of research designs that can be applied to the research study. While selecting the research design it is important for the researcher to focus on all the important characteristics of the research while are validity, neutrality and others. The research designs are being classified according to their nature that is qualitative or quantitative.  These researcher designs are further more classified as descriptive, exploratory, experimental, correlation, diagnosis and explanatory research design. 

The different research designs are mentioned below such as:

  • Descriptive research design: in this design the researcher focuses on describing a particular situation in detail. 

  • Exploratory research design: in this study no further research is been conducted so the researcher focuses on exploring the different factors and concepts related to the research topic in detail.

  • Correlational research design: in this research design the researcher focuses on explaining the relationship between two different research variables.

  • Experimental research design: in this design the researcher focuses on experimenting and identifying the relations between the depended and independent variables in detail.

  • Causal Studies: in this research design the researcher focuses on analysing the conditional statements in the form of if X then Y which means that it focuses on getting the causal explanations by testing the hypothesis in an efficient manner.

From the above mentioned description it can be said that the researcher needs to focus on all the different factors while selecting the best and most appropriate research design for the study. In the present study the researcher would be using descriptive research design as this would help the researcher in explaining the case of SG imports in an effective manner. It can be said that this would help the researcher in explaining in detail that what factors are affecting supply chain management of SG imports. Although the researcher can also use the different research designs but this would be more appropriate for this research. 

Research Philosophy 

Research philosophy is referred as the philosophy which is being used by the researcher while conducting the research. In general terms it can be said that research philosophy is the belief of the researcher towards the ways in which the data can be collected and gathered related to the specific topic. It can be said that the research philosophy deals with all the different factors related to the development of the knowledge regarding research topic. The research study should have been conducted in an philosophical manner that helps the researcher in conducting the study effectively. 

There are different types of research philosophy but the choice of the philosophy depends on the choice and mind-set of the researcher. The research philosophy is of different types such as positivism, pragmatism, interpretivism and realism. These philosophies are further more classified. In positivism the researcher focuses on collecting data which provide actual knowledge based on the facts and figures related to the research topic. When the researcher uses this philosophy then they need to focus on explaining the concepts related to research questions in detail.  On the other hand in the interpretivism the researcher focuses on getting the results according to the interest of the research. So it can be said that instead of focusing on facts and figures the researcher focuses on their personal interest related to the findings of the study. These philosophies are widely used by the researcher while conducting an business research. 

In the current study the researcher would be focusing on using interpretivism research study as it is one of the effective philosophies for qualitative research. Along with this one of the advantages of using this philosophy is that is helps the gathering the information specific to the research study. Although the researcher would have used another research philosophy such as realism or positivism but the chosen philosophy suits well to the research topic and objectives of the research. Using the interpretivism would help the researcher in understanding that according to the different peoples what are the factors affecting the supply chain. This philosophy will help the researcher in gathering the data and ideas of the research participants in an effective manner.

Research Method 

Research method is one of the most important parts of the research study because all the other methodological choices of the research are directly or indirectly depended on this. The method focuses on all the three important function such as collection of data, interpretation of data and data analysis.  The research method is defined as the way or the pattern in which the researcher collects the data. The research methods are broadly classified as the quantitative research method and qualitative research method. 

In quantitative research method the researcher focuses on getting quantitative data of getting the results of the study.  On the other hand in the qualitative research the researcher focuses on collecting and analysing the qualitative data for the research. One of the major differences between qualitative and quantitative research method is that qualitative research is based on ideas and mind-set of the research participants. On the other hand in quantitative research method the researcher focuses on collecting the quantitative data that is based on numerical. Along with this the quantitative research is based on measurement and qualitative research is based on text based information and skills of the researcher. 

In the present study the researcher is focusing on using the qualitative research method while conducting the research study. This research method would help the researcher in collecting text based information from the research participants.  This would help them in gathering the in depth data for the research and conducting a high quality research. Along with this one of the important advantages of using this method is that it is easy to use and analyse which makes to more effective for the research to use. High quality qualitative data from different research participants would help the researcher in getting better results of the study. Another important advantage of using the qualitative research method is that it would help the researcher in getting in-depth knowledge of the human behaviour and their understanding related to the research topic. Also this would help the researcher in understanding that what are the factors which are affecting warehouse and supply chain management in detail which would be very helpful for the researcher. These methods will also the researcher in understanding the concepts related to the research topic from the views of all the different participants.

There are different methods that are been used for collective qualitative data. The methods such as surveys, interviews and several others can be used. In this study the researcher is focusing on using case study method for collecting the data. The study will focus on single case study for providing the general understanding of the research topic in detail by considering a single case company. Thus it can be said that qualitative research method would help the researcher in explaining the factors related to supply chain in detail for the stone industry of the UK and specifically to the SG imports. 

Research Strategy

Research strategy is been referred as the strategy that is been followed by the researchers during the research. In general terms it can be said that research strategy includes the systematic steps that are been followed by the researcher during the research. The research strategy needs to align well with the different parts and methodology selected for the research. The research method which is qualitative or the quantitative methods helps the researcher in selecting the most appropriate strategy for the research. There are different types of research strategies such as case study, interviews, surveys, action research and others. The choice of the strategy needs to align well with the research topic and objectives of the research. In this research the researcher would be using survey strategy that would help them in collecting the information in an appropriate manner. 

While using this strategy the researcher will focus on conducting the questionnaire survey with the employees of the case company. Along with this the researcher will also conduct online interview with the two managers of the company. So it can be said that the researcher would be using both survey and interview as their strategy for collecting the data and analysing it in an effective manner. For this research topic it is important for the researcher to collect the different views of the different stakeholders of the firm. Thus, this strategy will help them in understanding the topic in an effective manner and getting better results as well. 

Data Collection Method 

Data collection is referred as the method that is been used in the research for collecting the data for research study. It is important for the researcher to focus on selecting an appropriate data collection method based on the research aims and objectives.  Also the research needs to focus on selecting the data collection method based on the data which is required to be collected either qualitative or quantitative. The data collection methods are broadly classified as primary and secondary data collection methods. Primary data collection methods referred to the methods that focus on collecting the data by him through the surveys and observations. 

There are different types primary data collection methods such as surveys, interviews, experiments and field observations. On another hand there are different secondary data collection methods such as collecting the data from diverse literature sources. The choice of the data collection methods is based on different factors such as cost and resources required. The primary data collection methods require more cost, time and several other resources. On the another hand  the secondary data collection methods are easy to use and require less cost and time as compared to the primary data collection methods. But the validation of the primary data collection is more as compared to the secondary data collection methods. 

In the current research study the researcher would be collecting both primary and secondary data which means that a mixed approach would be used for collecting the data. The researcher would use both primary and secondary data collection method for collecting high quality data for the study so that a high quality research study can be conducted. For collecting the secondary data the researcher would be focusing on using the collecting the data form different literature sources such as books, journals, articles and other sources as well. 

On the other hand for collecting the primary data the researcher would be focusing on conducting the questionnaire with the employees of the company. When the questionnaire survey is been conducted then there are different types of methods that can be used for collecting the data. In this study the researcher would be using close ended questionnaire for collecting the information from the employees of the firm. The questionnaire would include 10-15 questions related to the factors that are affecting the supply chain management of the case company. Along with this the researcher would also take online interview session of the managers of the company working in supply chain management sector. In the interview the researcher would be asking open ended questions from the managers and then will interpret the data from the answers given by the managers. This would help the researcher in collecting high quality data for the research study so that better and authentic research study can be conducted.  

Sampling

While conducting the primary research sampling is one of the most important part of the research study. Sampling is referred as the process that helps the researchers in selecting the best candidates for their research study. There are different factors that are required to be considered while selecting the candidates. An appropriate sampling method helps the researcher in removing the biasing and selecting the candidates in a systematic manner. There are different types of sampling methods which are being used by the researcher for selecting the individuals from the populations. 

For the research studies sampling is being broadly classified as probability sampling and non-probability sampling methods. In probability sampling method all the participants are having equal opportunity to get selected for the research study. In non-probability sampling method it is not important that all the participants should have equal opportunity to get selected for the research study. The sampling methods are further classified into different parts such as cluster, systematic, random, judgmental, snowball and many more. In the current study the researcher would be using the probability sampling method for selecting the research participants for the research. Probability sampling methods are explained below such as:

  • Systematic sampling: in this methods all the individuals are listed and then the candidates are been chosen in regular intervals.

  • Random sampling: in this methods the candidates are been selected randomly for the research study.

  • Cluster sampling: In these methods the individuals are being classified into different parts and then the candidate is been selected.

In the present study the researcher would be using random sampling method for selecting the research participants, This method is been selected because it is easy to use method and helps the researcher in selecting the candidates without much issues. All the employees of the company would be having equal opportunity to get selected for the research. This will help in removing the issue of biasness while selecting the research participants from the employees working in the supply chain management department of the case company. Close ended questionnaire would be conducted with the selected candidates for the research. For this study 20 employees working in the supply chain management sector of SG imports would be selected for this research. Along with this the managers for the interview session would also be selected with random sampling method only. In this any of the two managers of supply chain management sector of SG Imports would be selected for the interview session. 

Data Analysis 

Analysis of the data needs to be done in an systematic manner for getting better results of the research study. Data analysis method is the method that is used in the research for analysing the collected data in an efficient manner. 

The different types of data analysis methods are SPSS, text analysis,  thematic analysis,  statistical analysis, content analysis, descriptive analysis and many more. Generally the descriptive analysis is being used for analysing the quantitative data by applying the statistical tools such as mean, mode, median and several others. Thematic analysis is also an effective method which is generally being used for analysing the qualitative data. SPSS is an widely used method for analysing both qualitative and quantitative data but it is mostly being used for quantitative research.  In SPSS software is being used for analysis the data for the research. 

In the present study the researcher would be using the thematic analysis as it is an effective method that is being widely used for analysing the qualitative data. By applying this method the researcher would be focusing on classifying the data into different themes so that the data can be analysed in an effective manner. Along with this the researcher would also focus on using graphs for better representation of the collected data. Thematic analysis is easy to use and will help the researcher in representing the data in such a way that it would be easy to understand by the readers and other stakeholders. 

Ethical considerations 

Ethics are having an major role to play in the research study. Chetty, (2016) had stated that ethical considerations are significant for the research study as it is having an impact on the authenticity and validation of the research. When the researcher focuses on all the ethical considerations in an systematic manner then it would be trusted, fair and will have mutual respect among all the stakeholders. The different ethical considerations which would be taken in concern in the present study are explained below such as: 

  • Plagiarism: It is one of the most important issues that are faced by the researcher while conducting the research. The researchers need to focus on avoiding the copying of data from anyone other's work. It can be said that the researcher would avoid the copying of data from any of the electronic source or literature sources.

  • The researcher would focus on the privacy of all research participants. The confidential or the sensitive information of the research participants would be kept safe and secure so that high level of confidentiality can be maintained.

  • In this study the researcher would be allowing the participants to give free consent for the research. And all the participants would be having all the information related to the research study so that it would be an informed consent. If the research participants would give their consent from the participants then only they would be involved in the research.

  • For keeping the data safe and secure the researcher would be focusing on the data protection act.

  • The researcher would collect and analyse the data with honesty and avoiding biasing. This would help them in getting unbiased or manipulated results of the research.

  • The respect, dignity and privacy of all the research stakeholders would be the priority of the researcher.

  • All the research participants would be given the flexibility that they can leave the research at any point of the research if they want to leave.

  • Acknowledge is also very important for conducting the research study. When the researcher would be collecting and analysing the data from the work of another author or the researcher then proper acknowledgement would be given. For this the researcher would do proper referencing and citations in a systematic manner. 

  • The use of offensive language should be avoided and any kind of discrimination should not be practiced by the researchers while involving the research participants and conducting the research study.

All the above mentioned ethical considerations would be taken in concern by the researcher while collecting and analysing the data in the study. Moreover, it can be said that the researcher would conduct the research in an appropriate manner so that it would not create any of the issue for the stakeholders of the study. 

RESULTS AND FINDINGS 

Results of Questionnaire Survey with employees

Questionnaire: 

Question 1: Do you think that supply chain management is very significant for the businesses? 

Answer: 

  1. Yes (b) No (c) May be

Responses: In this 18 respondents said yes, 1 said no and 1 said may be. 

Interpretation: From this it can be interpret that supply chain management is very important for the businesses. This reflects that the management of the company and all the employees would be more concerned for managing the supply chains effectively. 

Question 2: Do you think that dimension supply chain management is effective for stone industry?

Answer: 

  1. Yes (b) No (c) May be

Responses: 8 respondents have said yes, 8 said may be and 4 said no.

Interpretation: From the results it can be said that most of the employees working in the stone industry are not having knowledge related to the dimension supply chain management. Dimension supply chain management is widely used in the stone industry but knowledge related to this is limited. Some of the participants having knowledge related to this have agreed that dimension supply chain management is effective for the stone industry. 

Question 3: Do you think attaining sustainability is an important issue for supply chain management?

Answer: 

  1. Yes (b) No (c) May be

Responses: 15 participants said yes, 3 said may be and 2 said no.  

Interpretation: On the basis of the results it can be said that sustainability is an very important topic for the businesses in the present business world. Due to increasing issues related to global warming and pollution it has become significant for the firms to pay attention on saving the natural resources and environment. For this it is crucial for the firms to pay attention on attaining sustainability in supply chain management. 

Question 4: Do you think that leadership is having an impact on supply chain management?

Answer: 

  1. Yes (b) No (c) May be

Responses: 14 respondents said yes, 4 said may be and 2 said no.

Interpretation: On the basis of the results it can be said that leadership is having an major role to play in supply chain management. From this it can be said that leadership is significant for better management of supply chains. Thus it can be said that if leader of the company is effective in managing the businesses then it would help them in managing the supply chain and all the other business functions efficiently. 

Question 5: Do you think SG import is having effective leaders for managing supply chain management?

Answer: 

  1. Yes (b) No (c) May be

Responses: 12 respondents said yes, 6 said may be and 2 said no. 

Interpretation: From this it can be said that the leaders of the case company are effective in some of the ways. This reflects that the leader is effective at managing the employees and creating positive relations with the employees of the firm. But some of the employees don’t think like this as they have mentioned no which reflects that further improvement in leadership is required. 

Question 6: Is it required to offer training for improving the supply chain management performance?

Answer: 

  1. Yes (b) No (c) May be

Responses: 14 said yes, 4 said may be and 2 said no. 

Interpretation: From this it can be interpret that majority of the employees think that the training is required for employees working in the supply chain management sector. It can be said that for further improvement it is significant that the students should receive high level of training for developing their skills and knowledge that can help them in becoming better employees for the firm.  

Question 7: Is supply chain network design affects the supply chain management in the firms?

Answer: 

  1. Yes (b) No (c) May be

Responses: 17 said yes, 2 said may be and 1 said no. 

Interpretation: From this it can be interpreted that yes the supply chain network design is having an impact on the supply chain management. The design affects the complexity level of the structure that shows that how the firms would face issues related to supply chain and management of all the practices related to the supply chain. So it can be said that the company should focus on having an effective design that can help them in keeping their supply chain easy to manage and reduces the risk of potential issues in management of the supply chains at international level. 

Question 8: Do you think that the relationship with the suppliers is an issue for the company?

Answer: 

  1. Yes (b) No (c) May be

Responses: 13 respondents said yes, 4 said may be and 3 said no.

Interpretation: On the basis of the results it can be said that the companies should focus on creating better relations with their suppliers as it is having an impact on the entire supply chain management. If the company is not having relations with their suppliers then they might face different issues related to delay of supply and several others issues. For addressing these issues the companies should have large number of suppliers and should maintain better relations with their suppliers across the globes.

Question 9: According to you are the employee relations is having impact on the management of supply chain management?

Answer: 

  1. Yes (b) No (c) May be

Responses: 15 said yes, 2 said may be and 3 said no.

Interpretation: From the results it can be said that the businesses should focus on having positive employee relations. Majority of the employees had agreed that the employee relations are having an major role to play in the supply chain management. The reason behind this is that it affects the cooperation and collaboration among the employees working in the supply chain management department. This helps the firms in managing the different business operations effectively and maintaining better interconnectivity among all the different departments of the firm. 

Question 10: Do you think lean supply chain management can help the firm in addressing the issues related to supply chain management? 

Answer: 

  1. Yes (b) No (c) May be

Responses: 18 respondents said yes, 1 said no and 1 said may be. 

Interpretation: From the results of the questionnaire it can be said that majority of the respondents believe that lean supply chain management is an effective strategy or the management plan that can help the firm in getting better results in the direction of improving the supply chain performance. It can be said that lean supply chain helps the firms in continuous improvement if applied in an systematic manner. 

Question 11: Do you think that using block chain technology would reduce the cost of supply chain management for the firm?

Answer: 

  1. Yes (b) No (c) May be

Responses: 16 respondents said yes, 3 said no and 1 said may be

Interpretation: From this it can be said that the employees believe that the block chain technology is effective in managing the supply chains. The major reason behind this is that block chain technology helps the firms in solving the issues related to the SCM and helps the firm to make continuous improvements. Along with this it is easy to use and a cost effective technology that aims at reducing the overall cost of supply chain management for the firm. 

Question 12: Do you think automation can improve the efficiency of supply chain management?

Answer: 

  1. Yes (b) No (c) May be

Responses: 17 respondents said yes, 2 said no and 1 said may be.

Interpretation: From the responses collected it can be said that almost all the individuals think that the automation can help the company in managing the supply chain more effectively. Along with this automation can help in increasing the working efficiency and the speed of overall processes of the supply chain management. Thus it can be said that the SG imports should also focus on investing better capital in using the technology for making the working process automatic or involving automation. 

Question 13: Do you think increasing transparency in the supply chain is important for the firms?

Answer: 

  1. Yes (b) No (c) May be

Responses: 18 respondents said yes, 1 said no and 1 said may be

Interpretation: On the basis of the results it can be said that when transparency is increased in the supply chain then it will help all the stakeholders in managing the supply chain more effectively. Transparency also helps the firms in addressing the different issues related to SCM so it is an effective strategy for the firm. 

Question 14: Do you think better cooperation among all the departments can help the firm in increasing the performance of supply chain management?

Answer: 

  1. Yes (b) No (c) May be

Responses: 17 said yes, 2 said may be and 1 said no. 

Interpretation: From the results it can be said that cooperation is very important for improving the performance of supply chain management in the firm. So the company should focus on having an better cooperation, collaboration and integration among all the departments and employees for managing the SCM more effectively. 

Question 15: Do you think the managers needs to work more effectively for improving the performance of supply chain? 

Answer: 

  1. Yes (b) No (c) May be

Responses: 16 said yes, 2 said may be and 2 said no. 

Interpretation: From the results it can be interpreted that the employees feel that the managers are having an major role to play in the performance of the supply chain. Thus it can be said that the managers working in the supply chain managers’ needs to apply better strategies and practices that can help them in managing the supply chain in an effective manner. This would also help them in improving the overall performance of the supply chain and the entire organisation as well. 

Results of Video conference with the two managers

For gathering better idea related to the way in which the case company is managing their supplier chain the researcher had conducted the online video conference with two managers working in the supply chain management sector. When the researcher had conducted the interview then they have conducted an interview with the managers for collected the data related to supply chain management of SG Imports. The interpretations of the results obtained from the interview are being mentioned below such as: 

  • Interpretation of results of interview with Manager A: the manager had mentioned that the company is more concerned for meeting the customer demands and for this they invest better capital in managing the supply chain effectively. Also the company is looking forward to make use of effective communication tools that can help them in proper information sharing which is an significant issue that needs to be solved. Along with this the manager had explained that delays in the order and the factors related to the external business environment are having major impact on their supply chain management. For explaining this manager had highlighted the example of the recent event covid-19 and its impact on the SCM. Also they have mentioned that after the pandemic they are focusing more on addressing the issues related to supply chain management. 

  • Interpretation of results of interview with Manager B: This manager had focused on explaining that there is a need for the company to increase their working efficiency. The respondent had mentioned that better strategies are required to be implemented and the manager had explained that they are focusing on applying latest technologies that can help in managing their global suppliers more effectively. The manager had highlighted that the firm is focusing on bringing automation in their working process and using different types of systems for managing all the different tasks related to supply chain with the help of better technologies. 

On the basis of the responses given by the managers it can be said that the company is concerned for the supply chain management issues. The diverse issues are affecting their overall productivity and profitability so they are focusing on addressing those issues properly. 

DATA ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION

This section of the research report is data analysis. In this section the researcher would be evaluating and comparing the results of the present study with the results of other research study. This would help them in getting better idea related to the research topic. For the analysis the researcher had used thematic analysis and the data is being classified into different themes. Those themes are well explained and analysed with other research studies in an effective manner.

Theme 1: Supply chain management for businesses 

All the different business operations are having a major role to play in success of the firm. Among all the business operations supply chain management is a significant factor as it is having a major role to play in the way the firms manage their supply and demand of the products. In the present research study the research participants have mentioned that supply chain management is very important for the firms. Also the results of the secondary data mentioned in the literature sources had explained that supply chain management is very important for the firms. So it can be said that the companies needs to pay attention on effective supply chain management. Along with this the study had found that the companies needs to pay attention on sustainability in SCM and should also focus on all those different factors that are having an major role to play in the supply chain management. 

Bals and Tate, (2018) had also conducted an research study for explaining that sustainability is important for supply chain management. The research had mentioned that supply chain is very important for the firms. Also the researcher had mentioned that the firm's needs to pay attention on attaining sustainability. So it can be said that sustainability is very important for the firms in all the aspects and supply chain management is very crucial for better management of the firms and their success. 

If we compare the results of the current study with the study of Shee et. al. (2021) then there it can be said that the researcher believes that IoT needs to use used in supply chain management. Shee et. al. (2021) had explained in their study that in the 21 century it is important for the businesses to operate in the smart manner. The researcher had highlighted the significance of supply chain management for the firms and its impact on financial performance of the firms. For this they have explained that the firms needs to pay attention on using the internet of things in their supply chain management. For explaining this the researcher had conducted an detailed research study with the employees working in diverse retail sectors. The result of the study had mentioned that integration of IoT in SCM can great different opportunity and challenges for the businesses. But this can help the firm's in increasing their working efficiency and overall performance as well. So on the basis of the comparison it can be said that supply chain management is very important for the firms. 

Theme 2: Importance of supply chain management for stone companies 

Supply chain management is important for all the firms operating in diverse industries. But the stone industry is highly depended on the global supply chain because the stones are being exported and imported to different nations across the globe. In the present study the researcher had focused on understanding that why supply chain is important for the firms operating in stone industry. For this the SG imports is been considered as case company. From the results of the primary data it is found that majority of the employees considered supply chain management very significant for the stone industry. Along with this in the secondary data the researchers have discussed regarding the important of supply chain management for the stone industry as it affects the management of supply and demand. The study had found that SCM is having an impact on customer satisfaction and company performance due to which it become very important for the firms. 

In support to this Avelar-Sosa et. al. (2019) had also conducted the research fot explaining the important of supply chain management for the firms. In this study the researcher had explained that when the firms are operating in international market then it is important for them to have effective supply chain. The companies need to focus on managing the global supply chain effectively as it is having an impact on their competitiveness in the global market. On the basis of the results it can be said that the SG imports should also focus on having effective supply chain management that can help them in gaining competitive advantage over all the other firms. Along with this better supply chain management is having an influence on the overall productivity and profitability of the firm. 

Theme 3: Warehouse management 

Warehouse management is considered as one of the most important part of the supply chain management. In general terms warehouse management is referred as the management of all the daily operations related to warehouse. In the study the researcher had mentioned that due to increasing technological advancement the companies are looking forward to use automation and highly effective systems for managing the warehouse. The warehouse management systems are the software applications that can help the firms in managing their warehouse and supply chains more effectively. Along with this proper warehouse management is also important for reducing the wastage and issues related to lack of proper stock. For addressing all these issues the companies needs to focus on managing their warehouse properly.

If we compare the results of the study with Zhang and Khan (2017) then it can be said that warehouse is important. Zhang and Khan (2017) had explained in their study that the company should have an effective layout for their warehouse so that they can improve the order filling process. This is very important for the firm to deliver the orders on time. In support to this An?elkovi? and Radosavljevi? (2018) had also explained in their study regarding the important of warehouse in supply chain management. The research had mentioned that warehouse is an integral part of supply chain as it is present in between the suppliers and the customers. The researcher had explained that the businesses should focus on using the warehouse management systems that can help them in managing the complex warehouse and distribution systems in an effective manner. 

Theme 4: Supply chain management issues faced by the businesses

Managing the supply chain is not an easy task for the businesses. Especially for the international firms and the firm depending on global supply chain it is very difficult to manage their operations effectively. The company face diverse issues while managing their supply chain and it is important for the firms to address those issues properly. In the present study the researcher had highlighted different types of supply chain management issues which are being faced by the firms while operating in the industries. Having large number of suppliers with better products and best price is quite challenging for the firms. With the increasing competition in the industries it has become more important for the firms to have effective SCM and better suppliers that can ensure proper supply of high quality products as per the requirement of their customers. 

Information sharing as an issue for supply chain management 

In the current study it had been found that information sharing among all the different stakeholders of the supply chain management is an important issue for SCM. The respondents have mentioned that if the company is not having better idea sharing then it is having an significant factor as it is having an impact on the overall efficiency and performance. Thus it can be said that the businesses needs to have effective tools for better idea sharing so that they can solve the different issues related to lack of information sharing. The results of the primary and secondary data had highlighted different factors that are affecting the supply chain management of the case company. 

In support to this if we compare these results with the study of Sahin and Topal then similar results were obtained. ?ahin and Topal, (2019) had conducted an research study for explaining and examining the effect of information sharing on business performance in the supply chain processes. In this study the researchers had highlighted that information sharing is having an impact on the different factors related to the SCM. The results have showed that information sharing affects the supply chain processes in terms of cost, business performance and financial performance as well. Along with this the results have also explained some of the another factors such as supply chain flexibility and environmental uncertainty are affecting the supply chain processes. On comparing both the studies it can be said that the in the current study the researcher had not explaining that the supply chain flexibility is an important issue for SCM. From this it can be said that there are some of the issues which are not well explained in the current study. 

Lack of supply chain management systems

In the technological era it is important for the firms to be more advanced and should use better technologies.  In the current study the researcher had mentioned that the businesses needs to focus on having supply chain management systems that can help them in managing the firms effectively. If the company is not having effective supply chain management system then it creates issues for them. So it can be said that the companies need to focus on having effective systems which are the software applications that can help the firms in managing the operations with more transparency and accuracy. 

In support to this Dixit (2018) had also conducted a research in which they have explained the importance of IT in supply chain management. The study had mentioned that while managing the supply chain the firm needs to pay attention on planning, strategies and operational management in an effective manner. SCM is complex and the use of IT can reduce the complexities related to supply chain management and can help the firm's in managing the challenges related to supply chain effectively. Also Rajeev et. al. (2017) had explained that supply chain management systems can help the firm's in attaining sustainability and can help them in better management. The issues related to lack of information sharing and lack of transparency can be easily solved when the software applications are used for managing the supply chain in an effective manner. So it can be said that the companies should focus on using the software for better management of the supply chain. 

External business environment 

In the current study the researcher had found that different factors related to external business environment are having an major impact on supply chain management. 

The political environment of the nations in which the company is operating and all the nations through which they are trading is having an influence on their business operations. The legal factors are having an impact on the trade relations and affect the supply chain management as well. The relations of the firm with their suppliers are affected when the trade relations are affected. The case company is having different suppliers belonging to different nations. In this case if the firm face issues related to any of the nation them their relations with their suppliers would also be affected. Along with this the different rules and regulations related to import and export are also have major impact on the supply chain management. Cost is affected due to tariffs and thus it affects the entire supply chain management and profitability of the firm as well. From this it can be said that the company needs to focus on all the different factors of external business environment that can be affected  

Supplier relationships 

Supply relationships are having an major role to play in the supply chain management. In the primary research the respondents have mentioned that the companies needs to pay attention on developing positive relations with their suppliers. From the results it can be said that the case company is focusing on developing better strategies that can help them in building better communication and relationships with their suppliers. When the companies are having positive relations with their suppliers then it would help them in managing smooth functioning of the firms that can help them in ensuring better SCM. 

In support to this Lo et. al. (2018) had also mentioned in their study that the relationships with the suppliers are having an impact on suppliers developing.  The study had explained that the businesses need to pay attention on improving their relations with the suppliers which would help them in developing better terms with their suppliers. Further the researcher had mentioned that the quality of the relationship with their suppliers is having an impact on implementation of the greens supply chain management. So the companies need to pay attention on managing better relations for combining to work effectively for green supply chain management. 

Supply chain management design 

In this study the researcher had found that supply chain management design is an important factor as it affects the complexities faced by the firms in managing the supply chain. The respondents have explained that the company should focus on keeping their supply chain designs simple so that they can keep the management easy. Along with this when the supply chain management design is easy then it helps the firm making it more transparent so that better cooperation and collaboration can be developed in the supply chain departments. This is important for managing all the operations effectively. The researchers had also discussed that the dimensional supply chain design is effective for reducing the issues and challenges related to SCM. 

If we compare the results of the present study with that of Qi, et. al. (2017) then it can be said that supply chain design plays an major role in SCM. The researchers had explained that the company should create the supply chain design as per the company structure so that they can align it well with the supply chain planning. Along with this it ensure the firms to create an better balance between inventory management, warehouse management, manufacturing processes, logistics and all other operations as well. Moreover the researchers have also highlighted the importance of supply chain strategies and design on the performance of the firm. The study suggested that with the changing business environment the company needs to adapt new strategies that can help them in managing their supply chains. The study had discussed that lean supply chain and agile supply chain management are the effective strategies which can be used by the firm. Also the company should focus on developing better integration among the strategies and design so that they can improve the overall SCM. 

Lack of management as an issue for supply chain management 

In the current study the researcher had found that lack of management can also be an significant factor that affect the supply chain management in the firm.  From this it can be said that the company should have highly skilled and talented employees for getting high quality work in the firm. Along with this the results of the present study have also suggested that the lack of proper leadership in the firm is have an impact on the SCM. Also the respondents have mentioned that the leader of SG imports needs to pay attention on having effective relations with their suppliers and employees of the firm. For this it is significant for them to have better leaders with better leadership skills so that they can manage the supply chain effectively. Also better leaders are important for addressing the different issues related to supply chain management within the firms or other operational issues as well.

The results of the present research are well supported with the study of Mokhtar et. al. (2019). As Mokhtar et. al. (2019) had also explained in their research study that the companies needs to pay attention on  understanding the importance of supply chain leadership and governance  mechanisms on the performance of supply chain management The results of the study have suggested that effective supply chain leadership is important for better management of the supply chain in the firm. Similar results are also being obtained in the study of Sriyakul et. al. (2019). In this research the researcher had mentioned that the businesses face issues related to cultural traits, commitment and leadership styles. If the leader is having effective skills and better leadership style then it would have positive impact on supply chain operational performance and promote operational excellence. 

Theme 5: Strategies that can be used for addressing the SCM issues 

There are different types of issues are been faced by the firms but it is important for the businesses to manage these issues effectively with the help of better strategies. For increasing the operational efficiency the companies are looking forward to make use of different types of supply chain management strategies and practices which can help the firms in addressing the issues.  Lean supply chain management is one of the most popular business practice or the management practice that is been used by the firms while managing the businesses. This management practice can help the firms in reducing the unnecessary wastage and removing all unwanted components from supply chain management. 

Along with this the researcher respondents have mentioned that block chain technology is also an effective technology that can help the firms in addressing the different supply chain management issues in an effective manner. In support to this Di Vaio and Varriale (2020) had also suggested that the firms should use block chain technology as it is having a potential to help the firms in attaining the sustainable performance in the firm. Along with this it has mentioned that better integration of block chain technology in the SCM can help the firm in increasing the flexibility of supply chain and can also help in redesigning the operational management of supply chain. 

For the present study it had been found that the company is looking forward to use better technologies that can help them in automation.  The stone industry needs to manage their supply chain effectively as the delay in the supply can affect the next orders and other business operations as well. Due to this reason the case company is looking forward to use the technologies and IoT for making their supply chains more advanced. In support to this Queiroz et. al. (2019) had also explained that in the digital era it is important for the firm to be more advanced. So the firms need to focus on making their supply chains digital so that they can remain competitive in industry 4.0. While applying digitalisation the company would be facing different challenges and would have opportunities at the same time. So, it can be said that the better integration of effective strategies with latest technologies related to SCM can help the SG imports and solving the different supply chain management issues that being faced by them. 

CONCLUSION

In the above mentioned research report the researcher had analysed the different issues that are being faced by the firms related to supply chain management. For this the researcher had focused on analysing that stone industry. For explaining this the researcher had used the  SG imports as the case company. In this study the researcher had used both primary and secondary data for gathering the data related to research topic. Along with this an effective data analysis method is being used for analysing the data. On the basis of the data collected and analysed in this study it can be concluded that the SG imports have to face diverse supply chain management issues. The study had gathered wide range of data from the primary data collection. Later on these factors are being well explained by the research participants in the secondary data collection process. 

One of the important factor that is having an higher potential to affect the supply chains across the world is the environmental uncertainty. There are different events such as floods, disasters and pandemics which are unpredictable and uncontrollable. These issues are having higher potential to affect the global supply chains. The case company is operating at international level and due to this they are at higher risk of such issues. For an instance covid-19 is an natural pandemic which had affected the entire world to a greater extent. So this has affected the global supply chain and had also created several supply chain issues for SG imports. 

Similarly different factors of the external business environment are also having an major role to play in affecting the supply chain operations of the firm. Social, economic, political, technology and environment factors are having an impact on supply chain design and management as well. The study had also explained that the legal factors and the rules and regulations made by the local and international government related to the import and exports are having an major role to play. The case company had to follow all those rules and had to develop the trade relations with their suppliers in accordance with the tariffs and other taxes. So it can be said that these factors are also having an impact on the supply chain management. 

Human resource is also an significant factor which is having an effect on supply chain management. For an instance if the firm is having employees with better skills and knowledge then it would help them in delivering better performance and managing the business operations more effectively. Also the training and development of the employees working in the supply chain department of the firm affects the performance of supply chain management. Along with this the entire management of the firm needs to pay attention on the supply chain in an effective manner for addressing the issues related to lack of cooperation and communication among all the team members. 

The results of the study had shown that leader of the firm and the leadership style used by the leader are having an major impact on employees performance and thus it affects the supply chain management. The leadership is having an major role to play in the supplier relationships. The relation of the firm with their suppliers is also having an impact on supply chain management. SG imports is having diverse suppliers belonging to different nations for managing position relations effective leadership is required. The leader needs to apply better leadership skills and should manage better relations with their suppliers. This helps the firms in having smooth functioning of the supply and demand. 

It can be concluded that the above mentioned report had highlighted different types of issues that are being faced by the firm while managing the supply chain. SG imports needs to pay attention on all those factors which are affecting their supply chain management so that they can add value to the productivity and profitability of the firm. On the basis of this study it can be said that SG imports should focus on managing their production, warehouse, inbounding and all other business practices more effectively. So it can be said that with the help of better strategies and advanced technologies the company can solve their issues related to SCM. 

RECOMMENDATIONS

From the above mentioned study it can be said that supply chain management is one of the significant business practice and it is essential for the firms to focus on manage the function of supply chain effectively. There are different practices and strategies that needs to be implemented by the firm for addressing these issues. One of the best ways for reducing the issues related to supply chain management is the use of technology. This means that the case company should focus on making use of effective supply chain management system that is the software which can help them in managing all the business operations more effectively. These systems would help the company in managing all the different business operations related to the supply chain management. So it can be said that better management system are an effective methods that can help the firms in addressing the issues related to SCM. 

On the basis of the above mentioned research report it can be said that the businesses needs to pay attention on supply chain management effectively. The companies needs to understand that all the business practices are interconnected with each other and are highly influenced by one another. For managing the supply chain it is important for the firm to manage all the business operations effectively and have to maintain better cooperation and collaboration among all the different departments. There are different factors which are having an impact on the management of the firm among which human resource is one of the significant factors. The companies needs to focus on having effective and highly skilled employees in their firm.  This can help them in managing the different practices on time and with higher efficiency.

It can be recommended that the company should focus on having better recruitment process. This cna help them in selecting the most appropriate candidates for the job that cna deliver high quality work in the firm. Especially for the supply chain management department it is important to have highly skilled and talented employees. Training and development of the employees is also having a major role to play in the improvement of supply chain management. The company needs to focus on investing better capital in training and development of the employees that can help them in improving the skills and knowledge of their employees. It can be recommended that the firm's should pay attention on offering better training to their employees for improving their performance. 

In this study the researcher had identified that the relationship of the firm with their suppliers is having an major impact on SCM. For addressing this it can be recommended that the company should focus on developing better relations with their suppliers. For this the company should focus on holding regular meetings with their suppliers. This can help them in having better communication with their suppliers and better idea sharing which makes the relationship strong. Along with this it can be recommended that the companies should focus on having detailed contract with their suppliers so that they can manage their supply chain with better transparency. 

The results of the study had highlighted lack of information as an major factor that is having an impact on the SCM. For addressing this it can be recommended that the company should focus on having an effective communication channel between the suppliers and the company itself. This would help them in developing effective communication and information sharing which would add value to supply chain management. The company should make better use of different technologies for making their information sharing more effective and quick so that the response time can be reduced and the management of the supply can be made more smooth. 

SG imports should make use of different softwares that can help their entire team to get connected with their suppliers. This would help them in better information sharing and will increasing the working efficiency as well. This would help the team to connect with their global suppliers effectively regardless of their physical locations. Along with this it can be said that the case company should also focus on increasing the transparency and coordination among all the different sectors involved in supply chain management. It can be said that if SG imports would focus on using these recommendations then it would help them in addressing the supply chain management issues faced by them. Along with this it would also help them in improving warehouse management. This would help the researcher in being more productive employee for the firm and will led the firm towards success and development. 

 

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