Supply chain management : an empirical study on Swedish manufacturing firms enterprise systems adoption, supply chain integration, competition capability and performance

Abstract: Today's marketplace is more fiercely competitive than ever before. Globalization, continual technological advances, and an ever-changing customer demand for new products have brought about new managerial practices and business models. New management approaches and unique business models emerge and fade constantly as managers strive to help their companies succeed in this less-predicTable business world. However, communication and information technologies are offering new opportunities for businesses to compete in the global arena with a variety of tools. One area that has benefited the most from new technologies is supply chain management (SCM). Today, SCM could be a single, integrated function that is responsible for all aspects of material flow, as well as financial and information exchange among business partners within the chain. For several years, pundits have observed that the very nature of competition is changing. Some experts have even claimed that the day is rapidly approaching when companies will no longer compete against other companies. Instead, they foresaw a world in which supply chains will compete with other supply chains for market supremacy. The possibilities in a supply chain are indeed astounding, but the challenges that lie along the path to achieve excellence in supply chain integration are equally formidable. Companies are investing in systems, tweaking measures, and looking to technology and people to find the key to more effective interorganizational cooperation. To help future managers achieve success in this arena, this PhD project articulates a support measure intended to underscore the importance of supply chain integration for the focal firm in terms of better competition capability and performance. A proposed research model and seven hypotheses were developed in this PhD project. A survey was conducted among Swedish manufacturing companies, which resulted in 422 complete and usable responses, with an effective response rate of 65.8%. The hypotheses were tested using Structural Equation Modeling. Additionally, the moderating and mediating effects were also tested in this study. The results obtained for this thesis suggest that a significant relationship exists between the perceived benefits of SCM integration and the adoption of different enterprise systems. With regard to the core issues of this thesis regarding the connection between supply chain integration, competition capability, and firm performance, the findings strongly indicate a positive and direct relationship between these constructs. Furthermore, the present study also determined that the competition capability of a firm mediates the relationship between supply chain integration and the performance of the firm. Consequently, firms that strive to achieve superior performance, and thus establish a strong position in the marketplace, should consider a genuine integration level with their supply chain partners. For this reason, the adoption of different enterprise systems facilitates the achievement of a high-level integration across the supply chain. It is also important to recognize that establishment of a high integration level is essential to achieving superior performance and a strong competition capability in the market today and in the future.

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