ARTICLE REVIEW:owards a better understanding of supply chain quality management practices, International Journal of Production Research

Foster Jr, T., Wallin, C., & Ogden, J. (2011). Towards a better understanding of supply chain quality management practices, International Journal of Production Research, 49:8, 2285-2300.
The Article, “Towards a better understanding of supply chain quality management practices, International Journal of Production Research, 49:8, 2285-2300,” by S. Thomas Foster Jr, Cynthia Wallin & Jeffrey Ogden seeks to analyze the differences between quality management practices of supply chain managers and operation managers as well as the tools that these managers use (Foster et al., 2011: 2285). The research problem being addressed is whether operations and supply chain managers approach quality management practices in different ways.
As a discipline the practice of supply chain management integrate dimensions from fields related to management including operations, logistics, marketing and the likes. As such, studies have emphasized on the need to integrate both upstream and downstream linkage. That is; linking functions that are concerned with customers as well as suppliers. In retrospect, this study sought to find out the differences in operation practices and roles by analyzing tools that these groups deployed in their day to day tasks. Utilizing a web based survey data was collected from Operations and Supply’s chain Managers from the Western University State. The findings of the study revealed that operations and supply chain managers had disparate approach to quality management.
Summary and Review of the Article
The abstract succinctly summarizes the whole article, clearly spelling out the research purpose, methodology and findings. Since Supply chain quality management integrates dimensions from other disciplines, until recently studies have emphasized on the importance of suppliers and customers in the chain of practice. Basing the theoretical foundation on Deming’s (1986) 14 Points for Management, the authors highlight that there has been a change in focus from internal process orientation to one that emphasis on a holistic linkage of both upstream and downstream processes which may in turn affect the focus of quality management as well as quality management practices. In retrospect, the literature reviews that follows is precise incorporating studies without restricting the date.
First the authors introduce the concept under study by highlighting how it merges with other functions of management. Thereon, the study highlights the benefits that Supply chain management practices can bring to the organization while pointing out that the success of these practices is mainly pegged on organizations structures (Foster et al., 2011: 2286). Most, importantly, the authors have utilized a spectrum of scholars to arrive at research prepositions and measures without over analyzing individual studies. I commend the authors approach in integrating studies that are not only diverse but also relevant to the present analysis. In a fundamental way the authors have built on literature, conducting one analysis after the next to support their claim.It’s also worth noting that the study links different literature sources to emphasize on clarity and accuracy of critical points (Creswell & Creswell, 2017).
On an equal note, the review makes attempt to fill in some research gaps. For instance, negating to rely on tools that have been specified in previous studies the authors instead utilize ideas of graduate students in tool analysis and cautions on the non-inclusivity nature of the list (Foster et al., 2011: 2286).This highlights that the study is not only theoretical on papers but also practical in our professions.
To get an accurate and comprehensive picture, the study adopted a diverse approach because Supply chain management practices integrates with engineering, mathematic, marketing and logistics. The study does not specifically lay out the research design though we assume that it is a Quantitative web based survey since it followed Likert scales that allowed respondents to make rankings(Creswell & Creswell, 2017). The population of interest in this study are professional members of APICS and the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) as well as the Western Round Table of the Council of Supply Chain Management. Inclusion and exclusion criteria for the participants have not been laid out, but the authors are confident that the selected organizations are relevant to this study. A response rate of 60% is more than enough yet the issue of gifting respondents to have a large sample number continues to raise ethical questions (Creswell & Creswell, 2017).
Kruskal Wallis analysis was carried out to test the hypothesis and variables of study. Discussions were analyzed using visual illustrations (tables) for ease of understanding. Moreover, the study eliminated a lot of statistical analysis to ensure the former. The findings suggest that supply chain managers and operation managers have different practices. Furthermore, the tools they used in their daily operations also widely differed, though some tools are at the same time utilized by both practices.
Managerial implications
Supply chain practices is a chain that is concerned with how specific services and goods a business supplies can meet the demand in the market. As a chain, operations management ideally circulates within the company essentially involving project management and process management while supplies management is mostly externally based as the focus is on customers’ needs; planning supplies relative to consumer needs, sourcing of raw materials, transportation and warehousing to final delivery of products to the point of purchase (Heizer & Render, 1999). Depending on the nature and needs of a company, slight variation in skill set is required for those hired to oversee operations practices or supply Chain Management. Therefore, management should be careful not only in recruitment and placement to essentially eliminate skill mismatch and in so doing to ensure that the correct skill set is filled within a specific task. As literature highlights that employees tend to perform well in job in which they are highly skilled in (Barmby & Eberth, 2008).
In addition, it is worth noting that the roles of the personnel involved in both two practices interlope at some point and therefore cooperation is needed for roles to be smoothly full filled (Heizer & Render, 1999). Implicitly, there is need for a coherent and productive line of communication between company’s operations management and supplies manager for efficient delivery of running the company.To this end, management should set up clear communication structures and platforms to ensure effective communication, coordination and cooperation.
Reflecting on the differences identified by Foster Jr. et al. (2011) we note that operations managers typically manage supply chain relationships through supplier and ISO evaluations while supply chain managers deploy collaborative approaches and process such as supplier’s development and award recognition as well as complaint resolution processes. This means that typical tools involved in daily operations also differ. Indeed, Foster Jr. et al. (2011) points to these differences by listing various tools that are used by subgroup of these professional. In that note, managers should invest in disparate tools so as to ensure smooth flow of processes between these two.At the same time, Foster Jr. et al. (2011) advices that knowing the different approaches that are utilized by operations and supply chain managers, could benefit these group since they can determine what internal collaborations are needed.
In conclusion, the article has provided an in-depth analysis of the topic of discussion. For the most part the study is well organized and lacking grammatically errors. The research methodology and the analysis is less complex and succinct. The authors however point to some limitations in sample size and data collection. In addition, being the first the study’s findings cannot be paralleled to others for reliability. Nevertheless, being the first study to point out to the differences in both operations and supply chain, the study is likely to make significant contributions to the field of supply and operations management as well as quality practices.
Barmby, T. and Eberth, B. (2008). Worker Turnover and Job Matching –Implications for the Returns to Tenure, Economics Letters, 101(2): pp.137-139.
Creswell, J.W. and Creswell, J.D. (2017). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Sage publications.
Deming, W.E., 1986. Out of the crisis. Boston, MA: CAES
Foster Jr, T., Wallin, C.,& Ogden, J. (2011). Towards a better understanding of supply chain quality management practices, International Journal of Production Research, 49:8, 2285-2300.
Heizer, J., & Render, B. (1999). Operations management. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Prentice Hall.