Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Graduate School of Business - Faculty of Commerce


Over the past century and accelerated since the end of the post WWII manufacturing boom, a number of forces acting upon manufacturing organisations have led to significant changes to underlying manufacturing philosophies used, to the technologies employed and to the manufacturing methods and practices applied. Such forces (Hammer and Champy, 1993, pp. 17) are related to organisational survival factors such as market share and price premiums, cost reductions, quicker response to new market demands, quicker response to competitor practices, operating equipment effectiveness, cycle time reductions and reductions to inefficiencies and material requirements. As a result, manufacturing organisations now have an increased focus on specific competitive advantages, geographic spread and location, management of costs, relations with customers and suppliers and by no means least, the treatment and development of people (Porter, 1990, pp. 40~41). As well, in some industries more than others, there has been a progressive change in focus away for separate, arms-length entities along a common supply chain to a more integrated and collaborative view. (Christopher, 1998, pp. 5). Supply Chain Management (SCM) as such, is by now recognised by many organisations as a means by which they can gain competitive advantage and improve their business results (Spekman et al., 1998, pp. 630). Effective SCM therefore can become a strategic factor in a firm's success (Cohen and Roussel, 2005, pp. 9). This is particularly the case as more companies link their advantages together and start to operate as supply networks of interdependent supply chain partners as opposed to separate, stand-alone entities (Spekman et al., 1998, pp. 632). Associated with such an approach is the integration of intra and inter-businesses processes in order to achieve such business-to-business linkage. As illustrated by companies such as Amazon, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Wal-Mart, Shell Chemical and Georgia-Pacific Corp, an effective supply chain network can competitively outperform the standalone model (Lummus and Alber, 1997, pp. 10, Cohen and Roussel, 2005, pp. 10). This superior performance manifests itself as performance advantages on a number of key supply chain performance measures (Shin et al., 2000, pp. 330). Consistent with the theme of supply chain management, this research deals specifically with the order fulfilment processes operating within a supply chain and in particular the integration of those processes both horizontally and vertically within the chain. The key belief is that higher levels of such integration will assist organisations to improve their supply chain and overall business performance. The major objective of this work therefore was to answer the question: 'How much and in what ways does the integration of supply chain logistics processes in manufacturing organisations impact upon business performance?' The methodology used to address the above research question consisted firstly of conducting an exhaustive literature review. From that review, the main research hypotheses and three theoretical frameworks were proposed. The hypotheses and theoretical frameworks captured the ideas and findings of numerous researchers and writers with respect to variables and relationship structures that may help answer the research question. The main research hypotheses developed and tested therefore were as follows: H1: That the integration of supply chain logistics processes does significantly and positively impact supply chain and business performance. H2: That the application of supply chain management principles does significantly and positively impact supply chain and business performance. H3: That the application of human 'social' principles/approaches does significantly and positively impact supply chain and business performance. Following the literature review, a survey instrument was designed and tested, contact details of target participants were obtained and finally the sequence of questionnaire related letters (including the questionnaire) was mailed out. Responses were assessed for suitability (completeness and reasonableness), entered into Excel and later imported into SPSS ver. 13.0 for analysis. 210 usable responses were obtained from 230 returned questionnaires sent to 1050 supply chain professionals in 990 companies worldwide. The results of the data analysis (principally via the use of structural equation modelling) showed conditional support for each of the research hypotheses and good support for the first of the proposed theoretical frameworks. Because of this, a simulation model of the first theoretical framework was developed such that the research results can: (a) be seen visually and in a dynamic way, (b) be used by others to test their mental models of supply chain 'DNA' against and to improve the robustness of their supply chain improvement plans and initiatives and (c) be used by educators to demonstrate dynamically the relationships between supply chain lever and outcome variables. The second and third theoretical frameworks proposed were not supported. Factor analysis was undertaken in order to reduce highly related variables to fewer underlying constructs. The factor analysis confirmed that such data-reduction was possible for the study's chosen variables such that the 10 dependent variables could be reduced to 5 variates and the study's 32 independent variables could be reduced to 8 variates. The research conclusions are described including identification of conditional support for the three above hypotheses, confirmation of the best-fit theoretical model and affirmation that integration of supply chain logistics processes does positively influence both supply chain and business outcomes. Implications arising from and limitations of the study are discussed, as are recommendations for further research

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