Strategic Supply Chain Management in a Large Bakery

Topics: Supply chain management, Case study, Management Pages: 30 (8872 words) Published: December 13, 2012
Miranda Robinson, Walter Fernandez, Sigi Goode
School of Accounting and Business Information Systems, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
Corresponding author:
Electronic Commerce has ignited a range of risks and opportunities in the field of Supply Chain Management (SCM). To minimise these risks and maximise potential payoff, carefully thought out research into the area is needed.

This paper investigates the use of electronic commerce in SCM, using a case study of a large Australian bakery. This study examined how the firm uses E-Commerce to enhance SCM, looking at their past, present and future implementations of E-Commerce in the Supply Chain. Amid increasing importance of electronic commerce to the bakery, preliminary analysis indicates five key areas where electronic commerce has positively affected the supply chain. In addition, a number of costs were observed, some previously unforeseen. Areas for future research are also discussed.

Keywords: strategy, internet, commerce, adoption, supply chain management

Information and communication technologies have been undergoing “substantial evolution and development” (Sarkis and Talluri 2004). E-commerce, “the marketing or exchange of products, services or information through the use of information and communication technologies” (Chaffey 2002, Awad 2003), comprises computers, the World Wide Web and the Internet, wireless communications, mobile computing and others. Shaw et al. (1997) postulate that the rate of technology change is so rapid that is affecting every aspect of how business is conducted. One of the major areas where the Internet has had a substantive influence is SCM (Lancioni et al. 2003a).

The Internet has unveiled new opportunities in SCM (Lancioni et al. 2000, Lee and Whang 2001, Swaminathan and Tayur 2003) in terms of both research and practice (Nagurney et al. 2002). As well as being important to research, e-commerce and SCM have received considerable attention from businesses (Au and Ho, 2002). For example, the Internet has created opportunities to integrate information and decision making across different functional units (Swaminathan and Tayur 2003). Accordingly, many companies continue to deploy e-commerce extensively throughout their organisation and their supply chains (Johnson and Whang 2002, Zhu and Kraemer 2002). Sarkis and Talluri (2004) posit that the advent of e-commerce has made SCM even more critical.

Numerous authors have recognised the importance of e-commerce in the supply chain. For example, Gunasekaran and Ngai (2004) argued, “It would be difficult to survive in today’s competitive environment without an e-commerce enabled supply chain, the risk of not having an ICT enabled supply chain is enormous both in terms of survival and productivity of an organisation”. Extant literature also describes e-commerce in the supply chain as a paradigm for gaining competitive advantage. Gunasekaran and Ngai (2004) claim that ecommerce in the supply chain has gained significance as a paradigm for gaining competitive


Strategic Supply Chain Management in a Large Bakery
advantage. Motwani et al. (2000) agree, arguing that SCM infused by e-commerce is a paradigm to achieve dramatic supply chain improvements.
Other researchers have also noted the importance of e-commerce in achieving a commercially sustainable supply chain. For instance, Graham and Hardaker (2000) highlight the role of the Internet in building commercially viable supply chains. Motwani et al. (2000) concur, when they state that success of companies is partially dependant on their ability to apply e-commerce and information technologies in the supply chain. Gunasekaran and Nagai (2004) postulate that information and communication technologies have had a tremendous influence on achieving effective SCM.

Other researchers have noted the ability of e-commerce...
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