Supply Chain Management in Larry Technologies

Abstract

The paper discusses the pros and cons of supply chain activities of Larry technologies and explores the methods that can reduce the supply chain risks. In addition to that the changes that are necessary for Larry technologies are also mentioned and the adoption of technology and the maintenance of relationships find place both in review as well as analysis. The recommendations are framed according to the content in literature review and analysis and with a combined thought that was reflected in reflections.

Introduction

The paper comprises of literature review, methodology, analysis/discussion, reflections, Conclusions and recommendations regarding enhancement of supply chain management of Larry technologies. The literature review surveys the literature regarding the management of supply chain network with good governance as well as relationship strategies. It also explores the opportunities for Larry technologies if the firm can have a website and interacts online with customers for downstream information in supply chain network. The review connects the practical means of transport with the new technology in the form of internet communication. Further it reviews the coordination aspect that can be achieved in supply chain activities with good governance and in that course the relationship maintenance finds place to enhance the governance. Further strengthening the argument, the aspect of information comes to the fore and sharing of information in supply chain network through good relationships as well as governance is explored. The way these activities can lead to integration of the operations is explored and followed by organizational support will be examined. To understand the organizational support, the organizational concepts are discussed. However, after discussing market power, one can understand that all the above activities depend on it. After recognizing the market power, when all these activities are connected with real time communication along the supply chain the real time management can be made possible. After literature review in analysis section the governance aspect mentioned in review will be analyzed and discussed with a view of enhancement of supply chain operations. In this course of analysis, the importance of creating a social identity has been discussed and that will be followed by structural model of the firm and the resultant performance. The discussion about the structure leads to the management of inventory and the way the flow of information up and downstream effects it will also be analyzed. At the end of analysis, the way the reduction of risk in supply chain activities as well as their enhancement can lead to mass customization is discussed and also finds place in recommendations.

The analysis/discussion chapter is followed by reflections in which researcher expresses him/herself in first person followed by conclusion and recommendations. Fourteen recommendations are provided for Larry technologies keeping in view the present condition of the firm. The recommendations also include the benefits that the firm can accrue when technology is used in supply chain activities as well as to interact with customers. As a whole the interaction with customer and relationships with firms in supply chain network as well as with dealers are considered as significant to reduce the supply chain risks for Larry technologies.

Literature Review

The supply chain management of Larry technologies will be reviewed according to latest trends and methods. The conventional and practical means of supply chain are mixed with internet based SCM techniques to make Larry technologies to get customers for its stationary in faraway places from its location. Hence, the review starts with usage of internet for supply chain management (SCM) in Larry technologies and then the practical means necessary are discussed. In this regard, Sandy D. Jap states that, “Strive to improve our understanding of critical issue by developing a conceptual framework for how supply-chain organizations might respond to emerging technologies in order to create competitive advantages.” (Sandy, p.3)

The frame work mentioned in the above quote is regarding the linkage between practical means of SCM and latest technology in the form of internet. Sandy (2002) talks about integrating the new technologies with activities and processes of organizations that is suitable to a stationary and printing firm like Larry technologies. One important aspect that needs mention here is exchange of activities between the supplier and SCM firm. To have a better coordination a better relationship is necessary and it can be termed as governance. For Larry technologies the governance of its activities needs relationship with clients and SCM inherently as it is a firm that supplies stationary and does printing. The recognition of interdependence between relationship and emerging technologies is important to have a good SCM as the Larry technologies has to offer pre-printed stationary to its customers on time. For this purpose, the company has to take into consideration the activities of Herman Miller (HM), who are ergonomic office furniture sellers as they convinced their customers by offering volume discounts and bagged big orders. This made the company to supply the goods to its customers on a large scale and thus the cost charged by the SCM operator on each unit has been decreased considerably. Moreover, Larry technologies can also reach customers like telecommuters, freelancers and small business owners through web and can pave a way for supplying them stationary and printed material in large volumes on long term basis. The firm must know that the internet channel has the capability of reaching new customers without grinding down the present customer base. However, the management of Larry technologies should be aware of negative consequences faced by Compaq. When the manufacturers of Compaq computers, who excelled in strategy but failed in convincing its dealers regarding its sales strategy. Hence, the Larry technologies should be aware that the SCM strategies are in line with sales strategies and vice versa. Though reaching customers through internet is not a new concept, linking it to SCM is a type of governance that needs good relationships. This needs cooperation as well as coordination that shun power play with the dealers of the company. If Larry technologies want to mix internet strategies with SCM activities, it should not pressurize to deliver the goods to customer coupled with more services at the old price. In this context, the SCM strategy of Larry technologies finds the link with marketing strategies. Thus a successful mix of internet strategies with SCM activities needs cordial relationship with SCM operator. The usage of internet in SCM activities should be supported by the strategies that recognize the long term relationship with the client and SCM operator. This is not impossible with the Larry technologies as the needs of stationary and pre-printed material is a continuous need of the company.

Availability and adoption of Information

To procure and product stationary and pre-printed material, Larry technologies should adopt information and communication technology (ICT) to have information and adopt it after getting it. The adoption of information depends on quality of it and availability of real time information about the needs of customers can enable management to contemplate about the needs of them. The SCM structure should be according to the needs of the customer to maintain a good relationship with them and to do so, the relationship with dealers is important. Tobias Mettler, and Peter Rohner (2009, p.1) mention about relationship management for Supply Chain Management with wide spectrum of managerial tools as well as technological skills, which are helpful in maintaining permanent obligation for product as well as service delivery. In this context, the supply chain management strategies should have strategies in supplier relationship management perspective. That means the interaction between management of the company and the dealers is important as it can streamline and can make effective the sourcing as well as delivery processes. According to Tobias Mettler, and Peter Rohner (2009), the success of this process depends on the standard and quality of interaction of the company with dealers as well as the customers. The interactions with dealers should provide information about the needs of supply chain as well as regarding customer relations. The same interaction need to be maintained with suppliers and the company should maintain win-win relationship with suppliers as well as dealers to have a credible and dependable supply chain. This involves the strategic and operational procurement processes as well as the configuration of the supplier cum dealer management. The company has to purchase from the supplier and has to act as a supplier to customer. As the competition for supplier of the company is less than the competition for the company when the companies available to customer is considered results in maintenance of good relationship with dealers as well as suppliers. The company has to act with suppliers and dealers in a mutually beneficiary way. The logistics involved from the point of supplier to the dealer or customer of the company should reduce total ownership costs. The risks of the management also should be minimized and that should result in enhancement of performance or the quality of the product. In the context of Larry technologies, prompt delivery and the quality of the product to the customer matters. The prompt delivery depends on the network between company and the dealer and quality depends on the operations of the company as well as the material supplied by the supplier. All these activities involve cooperation that is voluntary as well as involuntary. This should be active as well as passive. The different units of business that exist from supplier to company via SCM operator to dealer and then to the customer have to maintain a relationship level between them and the standard of that relationship level decides the success of the product from Larry technologies with required quality. One important aspect mentioned here in the context of Larry technologies is that the products manufactured by the company are easy to pack and transport as well as store before they reach the dealer and from there to customer.

Integration of activities

To maintain that extent relationship as well as governance and to utilize the ease for the product involved in its transportation, Larry technologies should also endure to the processes in its operations that adopt changes as the business in global environment is constantly evolving. This depends on design of governance and the relationship with suppliers as well as SCM operators. The first aspect the companies normally consider is their self interest and for the endurance of the relation in SCM networks, they have to consider the aspect of interdependence also and should consider the needs of suppliers and SCM operators as well as dealers. In doing so, Larry technologies have to understand about the barriers to supply chain management. In this regard, the company can take a cue from R. Glenn Richey, Anthony S. Roath, Judith M. Whipple, and Stanley E. Fawcett’s explanation that cites Sridharan (2005). They discuss the need for research that examines sources of supply chain discontent. In the next step the anecdotes for that discontent have to be prepared so that the strategies for removal of that discontent can be discussed and planned. This needs governance of internal and external integration of the company that are capable to achieve operational efficiencies as Larry technologies have no other branches. This means the work of the supplier will be easy as the firm has to supply the material only to one point. However, the same is not true with the company when it supplies the finished goods to the dealers as they will be in different locations, which may or may not be nearer to each other. The dealers will be nearer if Larry technologies thinks about supplying its products domestically and can be far away to each other when it comes to locations that exist overseas. This is because according to R. Glenn Richey, Anthony S. Roath, Judith M. Whipple, and Stanley E. Fawcett (2010), the supply chain management is coordination of the chain of events that occur while movement of goods. The goods may be raw materials or the finished product. The movement of raw material will be from supplier to Larry technologies and the finished product moves from Larry technologies to dealers. The integration will be regarding business processes that are involved in supply chain network. This requires a collaborative based strategy for the company that links inter-organizational business with supplier as well as to dealer through SCM operator. Though Larry technologies temporarily think to supply its products domestically, it has to face competition from global players due to factors such as globalization. The will also exist pressures on time as well as quality. The time depends on coordination between SCM operator and the company and the quality depends on production activities as well as the material sent by the supplier. When governance of the company tries to remove the barriers in this network, the clashes may rise. To minimize the clashes, the governance should be mixed with relationship as well as the strategy that makes the supplier and dealer understand about interdependence. To achieve this purpose, the design of the strategy should adopt change periodically or the company has to redesign the strategies according to the change and this will be a success when SCM networks cooperate for this activity of the company.

Organizational Support for Supply Chain

To make SCM networks cooperate with the company like Larry Technologies, an organizational support for the SCM should be in place. The organizational support for supply chain depends on the shelf life period of the product supplied or produced by the company. In the context of Larry technologies, as the shelf life period of the stationary or the printing material will be naturally more than food products, the management can rely on supply chain efficiency to deal with the clients and can avoid the establishment of manufacturing units in faraway places. Instead of establishing manufacturing units, the management can take a cue from Peter Bolstorff, and Robert Rosenbaum (2003, p.11) about the inventory and transport as well as storage of the products. In this regard, the authors cite Brian; a consultant regarding SCM about seasonality in sales and spikes that are harder to forecast. Though the stationary has more shelf life period, the seasonality in sales and spikes in it cannot be overruled and this affects the management of supply chain network. The stationary and printed materials can be manufactured in large volumes due to their extra shelf life period, but it will be useful for Larry technologies to have storage facilities instead of depending on the SCM operator for storage. Though, short term storage while transportation is a responsibility of SCM operator, the long term storage should be met by Larry technologies. In this context, Larry technologies can peruse supply chain operations reference model. This model according to Peter Bolstorff, and Robert Rosenbaum (2003, p.12) is educating the organization to support the effort involved in supply chain. In this method a person at the level of executive level project manager is necessary to sell the model to top management and simultaneously can make the lower rung staff habituated to SCOR model. After having such person, Peter Bolstorff, and Robert Rosenbaum (2003, p.13) lay down the points that need attention while executing SCOR model. The first one is financial responsibility and accountability that deal with cost, revenue and assets assembled in real time. After that the alignment of the stock with appropriate strategy is necessary and this aspect helps in making a schedule of transport and that in turn fixes the schedule with SCM operator with minimal level of sudden demands for transport of goods. However, the day to day effort that fosters dialogue between individuals and teams of Larry technologies cannot be ruled out and they are necessary to achieve a successful SCM. After having those interpersonal interactions within the company, the management should allow multiple worker roles to plan, source, make, deliver and return the goods. The plan is about sales and operations planning as well as material requirements planning along with promotional event forecasting. In the next step of source and make the SCOR model involves vendor management inventory for rapid replenishment. The methods followed to meet the needs of vendor management as well as rapid replenishment are cellular manufacturing, six-sigma with total quality management. After mastering these aspects, the delivery and return aspects come to the fore. The delivery aspects being available are cross docking as well as cellular kitting and packaging. While framing strategies to meet these requirements, the feedback of customer service representative, transportation analyst and supervisor for shipping and receiving are necessary. While executing these operations it is important for Larry technologies to recognize the four important areas of supply chain improvement as process mapping, recommendations, justification and project management. These involve the skill of making the employees to understand the performance of the task by modeling the appropriate skill. In the next step, the authors recommend to make use of sixth sense to monitor the level of understanding of the persons involved in operations. For this, the talent of listening is necessary for the manager who looks after the SCOR model of supply chain. This is because, the talent for communicating with executives and peers is necessary in the form of presentations, proposals and meetings. Effective handling of these activities enables an executive to use resources available to make changes happen. For this activity, the authors propose the role of executive sponsor for the manager of SCOR model as the person has to eliminate the barriers to progress by selling the changes of SCM to the chiefs and down to the level of managers. To do these activities effectively, Peter Bolstorff, and Robert Rosenbaum (2003, p.17) mentions the necessity of moving in right direction through process management. This demands the understanding the strategic value of supply chain management that encourages the public learning and influence.

Organizational Concepts

In making SCOR a success by public learning and increasing public influence as well, the aggregation of purchasing and supply chain management is necessary. According to Lynne M. Leftwich, James A. Leftwich, Nancy Y. Moore, and C. Robert Roll (2004, p.21), this develops the coordination between suppliers and dealers of the company though they do not deal with each other directly and the company only deals with them to coordinate the activities. The activities between supplier and Larry technologies and the company with the dealer should be coordinated accordingly to ensure efficient supply chain management. This needs an integrated organizational construct that monitors the activities between supplier and the company along with the activities with the dealer. This can be done by aligning purchasing and supply goals with operational goals and thus linking demand planning with replenishment planning. By implementing SCOR in this way the sourcing strategies depend on the risk and value of enterprise operations. Lynne M. Leftwich, James A. Leftwich, Nancy Y. Moore, and C. Robert Roll (2004, p.22) state that these objectives of SCM can be met by leveraging the significant progress in aggregating the procurement with delivery systems. As Larry technologies is a stationary and printing firm, the purchasing and supply management is crucial for the success and sustenance of the firm. Lynne M. Leftwich, James A. Leftwich, Nancy Y. Moore, and C. Robert Roll (2004, p.94) presents a proposed interview for a supply chain manager, which will be useful in selecting personnel for purchasing and SCM. One of the questions that have significance in reducing supply chain risk is about specific areas that are problematic and identification of strengths and weaknesses. After that it is important to note down the possible bottlenecks in the process to avoid them through skills of personnel and technical support and strategic sourcing when there is a lack of skills or technical expertise. However, this type of outsourcing can be minimized when the managers benchmark the best practices and develop skills and expertise in the people dealing with supply management activities by relevant training. The authors opine that benchmarking and training should go in tandem to develop supply chain network according to customer usage and this is based on link between purchasing and supply management. The stronger the link between purchasing and supply management, the greater the efficiency of network as flow of goods in the network is decided by that linkage.

Market Power

The linkage and efficiency of networks should enable Larry technologies to benefit from market power. In this regard, John Child, and David Faulkner (1998) cites Michael Porter’s competitive strategy (1980) about the relative position the firms occupy within the industry structure; stationary and printing. The mention of industry structure is for development of generic strategies that are useful in supply chain management. This results in coalitions that are offensive in nature, which means that forming coalitions by to avoid a foreseen trouble from the competitors. These offensive coalitions not only result in competitive advantage of the firm, but also remove the loopholes in distributive network, which is a part of supply chain network. This will be normally regarding the routes in which the goods are transported. However, if the offensive coalitions show negative effect the partnerships are reduced due to the conservative and restrictive behavior. To avoid this even in offensive coalition, the cooperation between supply chain network partners and the company in the form of an alliance is necessary. This coalition when changes supply chain into a value chain, the ‘inbound logistics, operations, outbound logistics, marketing and sales, after sales logistics, firm’s infrastructure, technology development, HRM and procurement activities go with coordination between different departments. In case of Larry technologies, this coordination is necessary as the pre-printed stationary will be directed to a particular company and that results in extra work in the form of classification of the goods that are being sent by the company. These activities involve alliance between offensive partners with a defensive partner. John Child, and David Faulkner (1998, p.18) cites Rover’s collaboration with Honda to secure new model designs as well as engineering capabilities. Similarly Larry technologies also should have partnerships to have latest stationary and printing machines from supplier and delivering the products made by the latest technology to the customers before than the competitors. In this regard, the partners in supply chain network should have complementary alliances so that they can contribute to different value-chain activities. Thus the alliance between Larry technologies and the partners in supply chain network should realize the complementarities. In this context, it can be termed that the company Larry technologies used market power technology to the benefit of the company. This is possible when the SCM network’s partners are cooperative with the company and this can be made possible when Larry technologies frame cooperative strategies. However, in this type of implementation of SCM, the trust or collaboration between partners should not alter the rationalities and strategic visions of the company. Hence, it will be clear to the Larry technologies from the text of John Child, and David Faulkner (1998, p.19) that the deterministic perspective develops clarity in partnerships in supply chain network and increases market power of the company. This further results in transaction cost economics as some of the activities are outsourced due to lack of staff, time or expertise. This makes the management to monitor the transactions regarding SCM as they are awarded through the staff of the company. These transactions are unavoidable as the different clients of Larry technologies have different format for their pre-printed stationary. Hence, the production activities should be differentiated. Opportunism in making the partnerships also include the rationality and authors cite Williamson about the point of reference for choosing between transactions and governance structure of a firm. Thus John Child, and David Faulkner (1998, p.20) cites Williamson’s recognition of possibilities that lie between structure of authority and command. To minimize the negative effect of structure of authority and command, the transactions should be classified into occasional and recurrent ones and guidelines in dealing with them should be framed accordingly. This results in hybrid governance structure for SCM of Larry technologies as it has to function with no branches in the market that manufacture similar products. The guidelines regarding different transactions should be in a manner to minimize the costs through good governance of the partnerships activities between company and supply chain network. The transaction cost economics involved in dealing with different transactions between company and supply chain partners by providing a sound framework that is capable of exploring the choice between market and hierarchy. In this regard agency theory may help as the ability of principals ensure the agents’ successes in fulfilling the objectives. However, in this context, the partnerships are absent and the transactions are decided by governance mechanisms and this activity results in limitation of agent’s self serving behavior. In this regard, John Child, and David Faulkner (1998, p.23) cite Jensen and Meckling (1976), Arrow (1985), Barney and Ouchi (1986) and Eisenhardt (1989) who identify the contract between the firm and agent as a central unit that decides the reduction of supply chain risks of a company.

Real Time Management of Supply Chain

After reviewing different strategies and methods to enhance supply chain management for Larry technologies, the last review is about the development of real time management of supply chain by the firm through a website. As Larry technologies do not have a website till now, it is important to develop it as it enables the firm to review the incoming orders over the web and can coordinate purchasing and supply chain activities quicker than in the past. The presence of website results in getting feedback from the customer through dealers quickly than before and interrogation of global database is possible. This also includes the inventory exploration of the firm as well as supply chain partners. The website if developed by Larry technologies can locate the requests of customers and can present the management with the calculations of lead time necessary to produce the products and deliver them. Thinking practically, one can understand that the dealer can bypass all the supply chain partners in dealing with the company in the presence of website. Thus the supply chain activities are only a one way affair as long as the decision making is concerned if the company has a website. Hence, Larry technologies should rush to embrace technology that can make the SCM activities leaner and thus reduces transactions costs along with the risks. Sandor Boyson, Lisa H. Harrington, and Thomas M. Corsi (2004, p.2) mention real time management of SCM activities using information technology, which has not been used by Larry technologies till now. However, the analysis and discussion part will have the points that explain the reduction of supply chain risks through online management of activities as well as transactions by Larry technologies. This will be in addition to the analysis of reduction of supply chain risks through enhancement of alliance agreements as well as governance principles in the context of agent theory. As the firm do not have branches in other parts in which it sells its products, the market power theory empowered with collaboration and alliances between SCM partners and Larry technologies is desirable.

Methodology

As per the literature review, the supply chain management risks for Larry technologies are analyzed in analysis/discussion section and solutions are suggested. The analysis discussion section starts with the present condition of Larry technologies and proposed supply chain management strategies are discussed from authentic sources in the form of books and journal articles. After analyzing the situation and suggesting suitable options, the section discusses about online options of supply chain management for Larry technologies. As the firm Larry technologies has no branches and a website, the first part of analysis/discussion focuses on the activities of firm that can enhance supply chain management. The chapter gradually changes from the present situation to a position that estimates the benefits of Larry technologies if it has a website and the quickness in management due to online transactions. After that in the conclusion section, the opinion of the researcher about reducing the supply chain risks for a firm like Larry technologies will be presented. The opinion will be drawn from findings of literature review and analysis/discussion sections. After drawing an opinion regarding the reduction of supply chain management risks, the reflections of the study will be presented in the next section. In this section the responses and opinions of the researcher are presented in the first person. In the final section of recommendations, the measures that are necessary to be taken and strategies to be drawn and the methods to be implemented will be presented. The recommendations will focus on increase of online activities and transactions regarding supply chain management of Larry technologies. The findings will be part of conclusion and practical implications will be part of recommendations section.

Analysis/Discussion

Governance Theory

As per the situation and products of Larry technologies governance theory is necessary to sustain competitive advantage in reaching the customers promptly. The fundamental aspect in governance theory is to endure to the change to face the challenges. The autonomous decision makers in the supply chain need to be considered and R. Glenn Richey, Anthony S. Roath, Judith M. Whipple, and Stanley E. Fawcett (2010) cite Senge et al (1990) about interdependence that exists between the firms in the supply chain starting from the company that uses the supply chain services; in this context Larry technologies. The situation of Larry technologies is about self-interest that is to be fulfilled by supply chain network and in order to do that the recognition of interdependence is necessary. Hence, Larry technologies have to work together with other firms in the supply chain to enhance overall supply chain performance. In this process, it is important to understand the barriers to supply chain management, which helps in overcoming the integration obstacles. In this context, R. Glenn Richey, Anthony S. Roath, Judith M. Whipple, and Stanley E. Fawcett (2010) cite Simatupang and Sridharan (2005) about the sources of supply chain discontent and their remedies. As a result, it is necessary for a firm like Larry technologies that have no branches and website to coordinate the chain of events that are associated with the transportation of goods from raw materials to the finished product that reaches the customer. In this context, as mentioned in the literature review, it is important to keep in view the negative experience of ‘Compaq’, which faced grievances from its dealers in implementing the guidelines of the company. Hence, Larry technologies should recognize the dependence of its activities on dealers and should act accordingly with the help of governance through integration. Thus the management should convert the supply chain into a network that is connected with Larry technologies at one end and customer at the other end. In this context, the authors R. Glenn Richey, Anthony S. Roath, Judith M. Whipple, and Stanley E. Fawcett (2010) cite Fawcett and Magnan (2004) about collaborative based strategy that is capable of linking interorganizational business operations of Larry technologies with firms present in suppy chain network. This aspect need to be mixed with integration, coordination and collaboration in supply chain proposed by Stank, Keller and Daugherty (2001) and cited by R. Glenn Richey, Anthony S. Roath, Judith M. Whipple, and Stanley E. Fawcett. In doing so, the organization can recognize the influential factors of supply chain like globalization, pressures on time and quality expectations of customers and profit expectations of dealers. Understanding these factors can also help the Larry technologies to deal with market uncertainty and can focus on strategic attention. The strategic attention further results in organized governance structure between the supply chain user and other firms in the supply chain network. For this purpose, the governance redesign is necessary for interplay between processes involved in supply chain network, which necessitates the unfreezing the current processes, which create obstacles in movement of goods. However, the strategy should be flexible to return to original level when the change is short lived and the firms involved in the supply chain network are back to the original strategy. Hence, Larry technologies should adopt change according to the necessity of the firms involved in supply chain as well as the dealers and customers. However, if the firm does not want to oscillate along with the changes, the new level of supply chain management should be achieved so that the changes in the near future do not affect the strategic thinking and movement of goods in supply chain network. This is possible with internal integration, which is within the firm; Larry technologies. That means to adjust to the change and to frame strategies accordingly the firms that use supply chain networks should change themselves according to the transactions in supply chain network. The internal integration can also results in organizational performance and in this context, R. Glenn Richey, Anthony S. Roath, Judith M. Whipple, and Stanley E. Fawcett (2010) cite Stank, Daugherty and Ellinger (1999) about positive association that exists between collaborative integration and the activities as well as transactions between supply chain network. This leads to external integration that examines the integration across the supply chain and thus deals with the partners in the network. The real barriers for supply chain activities arise in this context as Larry technologies has to manage both barriers as well as facilitators and the transactions involved should match internal integration. The difficulties of internal integration lies in changes that are to be implemented in organization and barriers for external integration lies in dealing with supply chain partners and dealers.

Developing a Social Identity

The dealings with supply chain partners and dealers in increasing competition will be made possible when Larry technologies is able to satisfy the needs of demanding customers using the supply chain networks. This is possible only with the coordination of flows of raw materials and finished goods. As the partners of supply chain are interdependent, the more volumes of goods of Larry technologies that move in the network, the easier the coordination will be with the firms in the supply chain network due to the increase of business for them. The increase of business for supply chain partners as well as the volumes of finished goods of Larry technologies moving within the supply chain network creates a social identity for each other within the supply chain network. In doing so, the SCM managers had to identify the more firms in supply chain network that are linked to one another through one or more upstream or downstream flows of products, services, finances and information. This identification helps in distinguishing the binary buyer-seller relationship between Larry technologies and the firms in supply chain network. To be in advantage when compared to the firms that are using another supply chain network or the competitors in the supply chain network, Larry technologies has to make multiple relationships and one of the factor that encourages them is to transport more volumes of finished goods when compared to the competitors. Along with that aspect, the relationships of Larry technologies with the elements of SCM are important as the company is smaller when compared to its global competitors, who have branches in different geographical locations. Hence, in order to compete with them regarding the aspect of prompt and timely delivery, the relationships with elements of SCM play significant role for Larry technologies in delivering the finished product to customers in time.

Structural Model and Firm performance

To do so the integration of key business processes of Larry technologies with independent suppliers, distribution centers and dealers is important to enhance the flow of goods as well as services. According to Joel D. Wisner (2003) integration should further reduce not only risks but also system wide costs while maintaining necessary service levels. One such aspect is to have a website and customers are allowed to online transactions and Larry technologies should take payments online and deliver goods through physical means within a stipulated time line after receipt of the payment. To do so, it is important to have a broader view for SCM extending it from the view of supplier-base perspective, value chain and customer base perspective to focal firm and integrative activities with its suppliers as well as customers and retailers. In this context, Joel D. Wisner (2003) cite Lambert, Cooper and Pagh (1998) and Lummus and Vokura (1999) about primary objective of SCM, which increases the value of products and services by offering the products or services in time and with sufficient quality. However, in the era of globalization, as SCM evolved as new communication technology, the cooperative efforts that are emerged through facilitative systems that are part of SCM can help in integration of processes from supplier for Larry technologies to its end customer. In order to minimize the problem of dealers, the integration processes can be utilized and can be mixed with online transactions to give the product to customer directly bypassing the dealer or retailer. As a result, the online activities encourage customization and personalization of the products of Larry technologies as it offers printing services also and these results in impacting the organizational characteristics and practices as well. In this context, it is not important to neither consider the feasibility of supply chain management for an organization like Larry technologies, which is not in a position of power nor have structural dominance over the network of suppliers and other elements. In this regard Joel D. Wisner (2003) cites Cox (2001) and Cox and Thompson (1998) about endeavors that are to be initiated from the side of Larry technologies. For this the author proposes a theoretical framework for supplier and customer issues as well as concerns and mentions the benefits for the elements in supply chain network due to integrative practices from the side of suppliers; in this case Larry technologies. One such integration is online transactions, which reduces the reliance on supply chain network for information and the next aspect is framing of production and shipping timings that are in tandem with the supply chain partners’ activities and schedule and can be termed as external integration of Larry technologies. Regarding this aspect of analyzing a firm of the standard Larry technologies, the author cite Lisrel8-simplis, which was employed to analyze the hypothetical model for the supplier, customer, supply chain management as well as firm performance. The study indicated the relationship between structural equation model explained till now and customer relationship strategies through online management of transactions promptly. That means half of the supply chain management will be done by structural equation model, which depends on internal and external integration of Larry technologies. The next half of management depends on the capability of Larry technologies to take orders online and interacting with customers through its website and other marketing websites as well. Though there are differing views and about these activities as well as strategies, all the players in the industry are in agreement with the impact, which is a result of the above-mentioned practices of a firm. The firm should start with short term objectives with an inherent perspective on long term benefits. When the ground work as well as integration for long term objectives is ready, Larry technologies can have some expert staff members who are able to coordinate between online transactions and physical movement of goods.

Inventory Balances and Turns

After integrating the processes and developing the relationships mentioned above, it is necessary for Larry technologies to consider inventory management, which is an aspect that decides the endurance and profitability of supply chain relationships. To do so, a website is necessary for Larry technologies with relevant software that integrates the website with the organizational activities. The software integrates the customers’ demands regarding the products of Larry technologies and production activities of the firm. This also gives an estimate of the necessary inventory to meet the needs of customers and flow of goods that is to be maintained as per the situation. This results in reduction of inventory as well as the costs and budget for maintaining it. This is due to enhanced inventory management and is a compulsion for a firm like Larry technologies to reduce the risks and enhance the performance in and of supply chain network. By employing suitable software the firm can experience the first order effects of SCM in the form of economic benefits that are resultant of cost reduction activities of transactions. However, Alan I. Blankley, Moutaz Khouja, and Casper E. Wiggins (2008) opines that the SCM software may provide less tangible operational benefits like streamlining the processes and delivery speed. These two aspects depend on the governance of supply chain network by Larry technologies as well as relationships maintained with the elements of network and the plans and schedule that are planned in tandem with the available logistics facilities in supply chain network. In order to get the benefits from the software, website and online transactions, Larry technologies should develop a three stage supply chain inventory model along with its website that handles online transactions and interactions with the customers. The first stage is to make customers rely on online transactions by fruitful interactions with them. The second stage is to receive information from them and organizing it for production as well as marketing activities. The third stage does is to make flow of goods from Larry technologies to the customers in time and with sufficient quality. To do so, the SCM software that drives the website and schedule planning of flow of goods should have some functional applications for sourcing, production planning as well as inventory management after those activities. After inventory management, the allocation and warehousing precede the transportation and this depends on demand and successful forecasting of demand with minimum inventory levels. Regarding these aspects, Alan I. Blankley, Moutaz Khouja, and Casper E. Wiggins (2008) cite Gurbaxani and Whang (1991) about the reduction of transaction costs, which are result of control costs such as documentation and communication costs as well as the cost impact of information receipts. Reducing above mentioned costs should be fundamental aspects of SCM software of Larry technologies so that the firm can exploit the demand for its products in the market up to the optimal scale.

Mass Customization

The supply chain management is also capable of resulting in mass customization when Larry technologies is able to integrate the data regarding supply chain network and shares it openly with customers and dealers. Robert H. Lowson (2002, p.16) states that this flexibility and responsiveness to real time demand gives an idea about mass customization that increases the customer base for the firm. As Larry technologies produces stationary and printing material, the larger the extent of mass customization the more the customer base for the company. The interdependence also results in flow of information upstream and downstream also. This means the goods from Larry technologies flow upstream and information flows both up and downstream. Right now Larry technologies (2002, p.17) further states that the firm and the supply chain network as well as demand systems are concerned with the ability to offer a level of flexibility. In the context of Larry technologies, the supply demand system can be activated or at least can be known to the company when there is a website and a system of online transaction with customers and another system that compares and contrasts these interactions with those from the dealers. Hence, the in-depth analysis of supply chain network and transactions as well as interactions inform the company about external response to customer value demands, which is of utmost importance for any company. This further results in internal response to customer value demands if there is functional flexibility along with numerical flexibility in Larry technologies. The firm has to attain financial flexibility also to deal with the customer value demands and should acquire technological flexibility. The significant aspect in demand system is contact flexibility exhibited by the firm with the customer regarding the demand of products and their delivery as well as value development and customization. This situation of Larry technologies results in value creation at the level of supply system, which is to be enhanced to make the supply system a value system. This can be done by enhancing the core competencies of operational activities of the firm; in this context, the operations regarding supply network. Regarding this aspect Robert H. Lowson (2002, p.50) defines the broad perspective as “the design, operation and improvement of the internal and external systems and resources that create product and service combinations in any type of organization.” As a result, the company has to manage both internal and external systems to frame a strategy that work across the supply system and sustainable competitive advantage can be maintained in this context by having real time communication with all the actors of supply chain network.

Reflections

I found that the Larry technologies need good governance to reduce the risks from supply chain network. The supply chain started from the supplier to Larry technologies and from there to customer via dealer. The most positive found regarding Larry technologies is that its products are not of the type to get stale and have longer shelf lives as they are stationary and printing products. So there will be little necessity of taking care of them not to get spoiled. The most negative aspect observed by me is that it has no branches elsewhere and not website to make online transactions with the customers. This resulted in a necessity of building partnerships with the firms and persons in supply chain network to be assured of having smooth flow of goods. Moreover, the company has to market its goods in domestic market and there is very little scope to export them. If it wants to export, it can do so to the neighboring countries and not to clients in far away countries as it has no manufacturing units in them and thus cannot deliver the goods for orders that have only short notice. In addition to that, while delivering the goods to nearby markets, Larry technologies concentrates on economic way to deliver the goods. The supply chain network should be chosen in such a manner to reduce the cost of delivering the goods as well as reducing other risks.

Conclusion

After reviewing the relevant literature and analyzing the situation of Larry technologies, it can be concluded that the firm clear-cut schedule planning for supply chain network as it has not other production units. This increased the dependence of the firm on supply chain network to market its goods. The increased dependence further resulted in building up partnerships with firms and players in supply chain network to ensure free delivery of goods. Moreover, the firm increased its customer base thus resulted in more production and increased the volume of goods that should flow through supply chain network. Before doing so, the company planned a schedule for getting raw material from supplier produce the finished goods according to the feedback and orders from the dealers and transported through the supply chain network. As per the size of the company and the policies that are discussed in this paper do not permit the company to have a supply chain network of its own and have to depend on supply chain operators. If not, it has to enter into agreements with different transport and logistics operators to build a supply chain network that serves the needs of its markets and customers. The best suitable method after review and analysis/discussion is that to build a supply chain network from agreements with different transportation agencies as it has to consider supply through water, land and rail means of transport. After doing so, it is better to have a method for inventory management to reduce the cost of maintaining inventory.

Recommendations

  1. Larry technologies have to develop a website.
  2. With the help of the website, the company should make online transactions with the customers.
  3. The online transactions with the customer should be used by the company to decide the production activities as well as inventory.
  4. To do so, Larry technologies has to develop and own a software that suggests the amount of raw material necessary and for production activities.
  5. It should also suggest the inventory to be maintained to meet the demand from the customers.
  6. To reduce the transportation costs, the company has to plan the schedule of flow of goods with minimum need of storing them in warehouses present in supply chain network.
  7. In addition to that Larry technologies should plan transportation of goods through sea route wherever possible.
  8. The next preference of mode of transport for the flow of goods is through train.
  9. Only in the context of non availability of sea route and rail route, Larry technologies can choose the land route to transport goods.
  10. To reduce the cost of transportation as well as marketing it is necessary for the company to choose the air route as the least preferred way for the flow of its goods to the customer.
  11. Though the company is not in a position to establish manufacturing units wherever it has market for its goods, it is necessary to have storage points to in the midst of supply chain network to maintain inventory.
  12. Right now Larry technologies are in a situation of separate and autonomous entity with no influence, reliance or interconnection with the actors in supply chain network. As the first step for mass customization, this should be changed and the firm managers should create a situation of interdependence for the firms in supply chain network by increasing the volume of goods flowing through the network.
  13. After increasing the flow of goods, it is advisable to Larry technologies to develop a real time communication system that interacts with dealers as well as all actors of supply chain network that allows flow of information both up and downstream.

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