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Exploratory Qualitative Study of the Supply Chain Management Practices in the Moroccan Companies

Exploratory Qualitative Study of the Supply Chain Management Practices in the Moroccan Companies Nowadays, the competitive, fast-moving business environment has permanently transformed the supply chain and the management of its functions. Convinced of new opportunities offered by the global economy, Morocco has opted for a new industrial strategy based on Supply chain management practices aimed at improving the performance and making the country an attractive space for global value chains. The main aims of this paper are to evaluate the literature on the different definitions, approaches, trends and practices of the supply chain man- agement, and presents results of a semi-directive qualitative study conducted in Morocco in order to obtain a deeper understanding of the supply chain management practices implemented in the Moroccan context. The results indicate that the practices of companies based in Morocco are highly linked to the management of the supplier and customer relationship and internal integration among the internal functions of the firms. Key words: Practices, Supply chain management, qualitative study, Supplier relationship, Customer relationship INTRODUCTION study carried out in Moroccan companies to investigate the The supply chain management (SCM) is a multidisciplinary SCM practices adopted in the Moroccan context. concept in the contemporary trade and research to bring LITTERATURE REVIEW organizational performance to manage the business Supply Chain Management: definitions, approaches through delivering goods and services to the end customers and trends [1]. Despite the popularity of the term Supply Chain Manage- In the face of a competitive global market, organizations ment (SCM), both in academic and practice fields, there is have downsized, focused on core competencies, and at- still a lot of confusion about its meaning. Some authors de- tempted to achieve competitive advantage by more effec- fine SCM in operational terms related to product flows, tively managing all internal and external value-adding activ- some consider it to be a management philosophy, and oth- ities. ers consider it in terms of process management [2]. The supply chain management represents a central area of A normal supply chain basically is a network of services, in- focus for many businesses today. Although the extraordi- formation and material processing link with the features of nary growth of SCM attests to its robustness and practical demand, transformation and supply. In order to explain the importance, the field is diffuse and complex. activities related to supply chain, flow of information, con- In recent years, Morocco has seen considerable progress trol of material, planning, and activities related to logistic, and remarkable achievements, particularly in terms of in- the term, supply chain management is used [3]. frastructure and services. Its strengths allow it to become Mentzer et al [4] define the SCM as the systemic, strategic an African logistics model and a leading logistics platform in coordination of the traditional business functions and the the Mediterranean and African environment. Thus, under- tactics across these business functions within a particular standing SCM and its practices has become a prerequisite company and across businesses within the supply chain, for for staying competitive in the global race and improving the purposes of improving the long-term performance of performance for companies based in Morocco. the individual companies and the supply chain as a whole. The ambition of this paper is first to present a literature re- Some researchers conceive the SCM from a purchasing and view and analysis of the various definitions, practices and supply function perspective and define it as the integration trends of the SCM. Then, to present data from a qualitative 2 Management Systems in Production Engineering 2022, Volume 30, Issue 1 of the supply base and all purchasing decisions and activi- management focuses on how firms utilize their suppliers' ties related to purchasing and supplier management [5]. processes, technology and capability to enhance competi- This approach considers procurement policies, supply man- tive advantage. It is a management philosophy that extends agement, and supplier development, evaluation and coor- traditional intra-enterprise activities by bringing trading dination as fundamental elements of the SCM [6]. partners together with the common goal of optimization We consider that the definition of SCM only in terms of a and efficiency” [2]. company's involvement in the management of its supplier “A set of value-added relationships of partially discrete but is a narrow perception as the company interacts with other interdependent units that co-operatively transform raw business partners to achieve supply chain integration. materials into finished products through sequential, paral- A second approach considers SCM from a logistics and lel and / or network structures” [16]. transport perspective and defines it as the management of “Supply chain management is simply the management of all flows of material, products and information throughout transport or flow of goods and services, it also includes stor- the supply chain [7]. This approach remains partial since it age, shelf life, analysis of goods procured, and goods sold considers the SCM as a concept relating to the logistic func- logistics, etc. Supply chain management helps in planning tion [6]. and executing various supply chain activities of a particular Beyond the focus on traditional functions, SCM can be per- organization to build up a net value of the organization, de- ceived from a process perspective with a focus on manag- termining the current market trend related to the demand ing and integrating processes across the value chain [8, 9]. and supply of any goods or services and synchronizing the This vision was adopted by the Global Supply Chain Forum same for measuring the performance of the organization” (GSCF) which defined SCM as follows: “The integration of [17]. key business processes from end user through original sup- “SCM known as the integration of business processes from pliers that provides products, services, and information end users through original suppliers that provides products, that add value for customers and other stakeholders”[10]. services, and information to add value for customers, SCM We note that this definition explicitly emphasizes the no- has become a source of competitive advantage for compa- tion of management and integration of key processes that nies from various industries” [18]. is more inclusive than the perspectives related to tradi- “The process of planning, implementing and controlling the tional activities and functions. operations of the supply chain with the purpose to satisfy The paradigm of the supply chain has metamorphosed into customer requirements as efficiently as possible. Supply a nonlinear complex network which allows efficient inter- chain management spans all movement and storage of raw actions among suppliers and partners regardless their size, materials, work-in-process inventory, and finished goods location or number of products [11]. Thus, the SCM can also from point-of-origin to point-of-consumption” [19]. be approached through the networks approach by focusing We confirm that SCM definitions encompass aspects of on the different forms of linkages between the supply chain managing different flows within the organization network partners, namely coordination, integration and collabora- to create value for companies and the customer. tion. B. Fugate et al. [12] point out that the supply chain is We notice that there is no consensus on the definition of composed of trading partners that are interconnected by Supply Chain Management, this is due to the multidiscipli- financial, information and product/service flows. Effective nary origin of the concept, its evolution as well as its emerg- management of these flows requires the creation of syner- ing character in the practice and the academic field [20]. gistic relationships between supply and distribution part- Nevertheless, most definitions have at least one feature in ners with the goal of maximizing value for the customer and common that lies in the focus on the organization's external providing a profit for each member of the supply chain. environment. Cooke [13] defines the SCM as the coordination and suc- We find that SCM approaches differ from a partial vision to cessful integration of all the activities of the supply chain a more global vision. Partial approaches summarize SCM in from the raw material stage to the final customer in order relation to a specific traditional function, such as purchas- to offer a competitive advantage. The coordination within ing or distribution. These approaches remain limited by a supply chain is a strategic response to the problems comparing them to global approaches that address SCM in caused by inter-organizational dependencies within the a broader perspective. Indeed, global approaches repre- chain. With the deployment of the information systems, sent SCM as an integration of processes involving all mem- the mechanisms of coordination between the firms are bers of the supply chain and all activities related to up- stronger [11]. stream and downstream flows. These approaches are In addition to the definitions given above, we present a based on the coordination and integration of different sample of other SCM definitions in the literature [14]: stakeholders to create value for them and for the customer, “Supply chain management is envisaged as an extended en- thereby ensuring better performance and competitive ad- terprise connecting business in different places and facili- vantage. tating allies to propel competitive advantage in the era of Besides the definitions and approaches, the supply chain globalization” [15]. management is characterized by different trends which “Supply chain management encompasses materials/supply have impact on the way the organization work. We present management from the supply of basic raw materials to final some key trends in the SCM: product (and possible recycling and re-use). Supply chain H. HADDOUCH et al. – Exploratory Qualitative Study of The Supply Chain… 3 Collaboration The literature portrays SCM practices from a variety of per- Collaboration enables close working relationships and re- spectives. Table 1 presents the SCM practices discussed in moves organizational boundaries. It allows building alli- the literature. ances between organizations, sharing risks and rewards Table 1 with open sharing of data and ideas [21]. These initiatives SCM practices in the literature have a strategic significance for general managers rather Source SCM practices than simple tactical gains [20]. The SCM emphasizes the de- S. Min Behavioral integration, mutual information velopment of appropriate “win-win” relationship with key et al. [28] sharing, mutual sharing of risks and rewards, suppliers and customers and enhances the autonomy and co-operation, same goals and same viability of each one of them. willingness to serve the customer, integration of processes, building and Outsourcing maintaining long-term relationships Outsourcing can be defined as “the procurement of prod- between partners, leadership. ucts or services from sources that are external to the organ- K. C. Tan [5, Supply chain integration, information ization” [22]. The outsourcing helps organization to concen- 29] sharing, supply chain characteristics, trate on their core operations and business and use special- customer service management, ized companies to perform tasks that are not core compe- geographical proximity between partners, tencies of the organization. The outsourcing is considered just-in-time practices. as an important part of the corporate strategy and has sev- U.Y. Alvarado Focus on core competencies, use of inter- eral benefits such as cost reduction and expansion of ser- et al. [9] organizational coordination systems (EDI for vices and expertise [22]. example), reduction of intermediate stocks Mass customization by delayed differentiation. The mass customization challenges the supply chain man- I. J. Chen Reduced number of suppliers, long-term et al. [30] agement by adopting mass production approaches to ac- relationships, communication, existence of commodates "high-variety-low-volume" production [23]. inter-functional teams, commitment of Indeed, the combination of the benefits of mass production suppliers. with the customized products flexibility enables the per- S. Li Strategic partnership with suppliers, sonalization of products to individual customer demands. et al [27] customer relationship, level of information Mass customization is considered as competitive strategy sharing, quality of information sharing. by many companies [24]. H. Shin Long-term relationships with suppliers, et al. [31] reduction in the number of suppliers, quality Postponement of suppliers, involvement of suppliers in the The postponement plays an important role in the supply design and production of the offer. chain organization as it raises the question of which produc- D.L.Anderson Segmentation of customers according to the tion stage the diversification of products should be applied et al. [32] needs of the service, customization of the [25]. Thus, the intent of most supply chains is to keep the logistics network according to the service inventories as generic products and postpone the differen- requirements, assembly of the final product tiation until the latest possible moment. This strategy re- as close as possible to the final market, duces demand variability and safety stock requirement strategic sourcing management to reduce [26]. total cost, develop a broad supply chain technology strategy, adopt performance Information systems measures of the supply chain to measure the Advances in information technology promotes supply chain collective success. management and can lead managers to make investment H. Zhou Inter-organizational coordination, just-in- that improve the supply chain management. Indeed, the et al. [33] time production, delivery practices. connectivity through electronic data interchange or ERP W. S. Chow Customer relationship management, systems can be considered as enablers for the supply chain et al. [34] supplier partnership, information sharing, management [26]. Thus, the information systems and new customer contact development, technologies increase the efficiency and flexibility of the communication and speed. supply chain. S. Croom Development of closer partnership with et al. [2] Supply chain management practices major suppliers, centralized coordination Adopting a supply chain orientation requires its operation- of data. alization through the implementation of a set of practices The SCM practices are proposed to be a multi-dimensional within the company and through the logistics chain. SCM concept including the upstream and downstream part of practices are defined as the set of activities undertaken by the supply chain. In this perspective, we retain the follow- an organization to promote effective supply chain manage- ing practices: Integration, strategic supplier partnership, ment [27]. customer relationship management and information shar- ing. 4 Management Systems in Production Engineering 2022, Volume 30, Issue 1 The integration them to manage their raw material supplies on time and in The main objective of managing the supply chain is to inte- required quantity and quality to gain competitive ad- grate both the flow of material and information throughout vantage [41]. the supply chain as an effective weapon of supply chain [3]. Customer relationship management The integration of the supply chain can be defined as the Customer relationship management is an important ele- integration of upstream suppliers and downstream cus- ment of SCM practices that can affect the success of the tomers as well as horizontal integration which is the inte- supply chain and its performance [42, 43]. It includes all the gration of different internal functions [35]. The integration practices used to manage customer complaints, establish of the logistics chain is a relevant coordination mechanism long-term customer relationships, and improve customer that simplifies internal and external business processes satisfaction [27]. The growth of personalized production is [36]. leading companies to develop their ability to listen and un- Given the increasing complexity, dynamism and interna- derstand customers' expectations in order to respond in a tionalization of supply networks, the importance of supply personalized, fast and adapted way to their demands [44]. chain integration is well recognized in both practice and Customer orientation involves the integration of down- theory today [37]. stream customers and a common agreement in terms of vi- The integration of the supply chain involves manufacturers' sions and objectives to serve them[4]. To operationalize the collaboration, strategic partnerships, collaborative man- practices of the customer relationship, seven elements of agement and cross-organizational processes. customer service were identified namely: the evaluation of There are two types of integration: internal integration and customer complaints, the follow-up with the customers for external integration. the feedback, the improvement of the customer support, The internal integration refers to a transversal strategy sys- predicting the key factors influencing customer relation- tem and the responsibility for inter-functional collabora- ships, predicting future customer expectations, interacting tion. This integration involves collaborative product design, with customers to set standards, and measuring customer purchasing, production, marketing and distribution to meet satisfaction [42, 43]. customer needs at the lowest cost. The efforts made for in- ternal integration contribute to overcome the barriers of Information sharing functional silos and to promote capabilities between essen- The Global Logistics Research Team at Michigan State Uni- tial functions through communication [38]. versity defines information sharing as the willingness to External integration involves integrating suppliers and cus- make strategic and tactical data available to other mem- tomers through a set of practices including information bers of the supply chain [4]. Information sharing is consid- sharing, supplier involvement in decision making, collection ered one of the five building blocks that characterize a of customer information and its use for products improve- strong relationship of the supply chain [45]. The infor- ment and service innovation [38]. mation exchanged is characterized by a quantitative aspect The importance of the integration in SCM philosophy rely and a qualitative aspect. on the recognition that the supply chain is only strong as its Quantitative aspect refers to the intensity of shared infor- weakest link. The development of strong relationships be- mation that refers to the extent to which essential and ex- tween customers and suppliers lead to higher levels of sup- clusive information is shared with supply chain partners ply chain integration [39]. [27]. Open sharing of information such as inventory levels, forecasts, sales promotion strategies and marketing strate- Strategic supplier partnership gies reduces uncertainty between partners and improves The strategic partnership with suppliers is defined as a long- performance [4]. The regular exchange of information in a term relationship between the organization and its suppli- formal or informal way allows partners to better under- ers. This type of relationship is designed to take advantage stand the customers’ needs and to adapt quickly to the of the strategic and operational capabilities of individual or- market. In addition, it ensures better coordination and pla- ganizations to help them achieve significant benefits [27]. nification of the chain [28]. Purchasers team up with suppliers to guarantee that input The qualitative aspect refers to the quality of sharing of in- materials meet quality requirements. Great information formation that refers to the accuracy, timeliness, relevance sources, furnished at the ideal time with the required and credibility of the information exchanged [27]. amount, causes firm to stay away from downtime occur- The quality of shared information is critical to effective SCM rences, to decrease change in processes and the rate of as organizations are increasingly reluctant to disclose more harmed materials [40]. than a minimum of information, which can be perceived as The involvement of suppliers in the design and production a loss of power [27]. Indeed, each partner is wary of the of the offer can have different levels, ranging from minor possibility that other partners will misuse the information design suggestions to being responsible for the complete and reap the full benefits of sharing. Such mistrust should development, design and engineering of a part [30]. not prevent organizations from ensuring data flow with The suppliers who participate at the beginning of the prod- minimal distortion. The sharing and visibility of information uct design process can offer more cost-effective design throughout the chain is above all the key to an integrated choices, help select the best components and technologies, and efficient supply chain [46]. and assist in design evaluation. Firm’s ability to establish long-term relationships with their key suppliers enable H. HADDOUCH et al. – Exploratory Qualitative Study of The Supply Chain… 5 METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH The logistics sector in Morocco has experienced considera- The methodology adopted is an exploratory study, con- ble growth over the past years, which has resulted in an in- ducted through a qualitative approach, to gain an under- crease in the size of the logistics services market. In fact, the standing of the practices of the SCM in the Moroccan con- turnover of logistics and road freight transport companies text. This approach helps to develop hypotheses for the in 2014 reached nearly 21 billion dirhams, an average an- quantitative study, uncover trends in thought and opinions, nual growth of 5.2% during the period 2010-2014. and dive deeper into the problem The logistics market is marked by the multiplication of op- The Qualitative methods have the advantage of allowing erators and the diversification of the offer ranging from the people to express what is important to them in their own simple transport service to the full support of the logistics words. Most of the research conducted on mode choices function and the supply chain of the customer. The diversi- employs researcher-selected variables, so tends to focus on fication and evolution of services / benefits has been driven just a few attributes. In this regard, qualitative methods can in part by service providers (3PL), freight forwarders and be a valuable way to allow respondents to specify which courier operators [50]. factors are important to them [47]. The cosmetics market in Morocco is estimated at 1.09 bil- Indeed, the following steps are followed to ensure this ex- lion in 2017. The market will experience a sustained rise ploratory study: over the next few years. It would reach 1.93 billion dollars − Sampling and elaboration of the interview guide by 2025, according to a research unveiled by the Irish firm Research & Markets, and its average annual growth is ex- − Interviewing procedure and analysis pected to be 7.5% [51]. The study was based on 9 in-depth interviews with compa- The respondents of the interview have the following func- nies operating in different fields and based in Morocco. tions: supply chain manager, logistic manager, purchasing Sampling and interview guide manager and general manager. We have 9 respondents The sample was stratified to ensure a larger view of the Mo- representing the 9 companies. roccan context including companies operating in different Since all our respondents were corporate managers famil- fields of activity and having a set of different practices in iar with their company’s supply chain activities, it is reason- their supply chain. able to expect that the respondents could offer a deep in- The sample was composed of 9 companies operating in au- sight into the supply chain activities and be knowledgeable tomotive, aeronautics, logistic transport, and cosmetics. about the content of the inquiry The choice of these companies was made based on two According to Miller et al [52], two criteria where subjective main reasons: data may be reliable and valid are: (a) questions do not re- The first reason concerns the diversification of the type of quire recall from the distant past, and (b) informants are company and the position of the company in the supply motivated to provide accurate information. We promised chain. In fact, on the one hand, we have chosen production confidentiality of data and highlighted the usefulness of the companies belonging to the automotive and aeronautical project. sector and on the other hand service companies including The interviews were semi-structured, based on a prede- logistics transport providers and cosmetic products distri- fined interview guide and took 45 min to one hour on aver- bution companies. age. The second reason is the importance of these industries in The interview guide was designed to collect the most and the Moroccan economic context: accurate information related to the different practices re- Indeed, the Moroccan automotive industry has recorded lated to the supply chain management. Indeed, the ques- remarkable growth over the past ten years and has man- tionnaire was drawn up mainly based on the literature re- aged to gradually establish itself as a flagship business sec- view and contained closed questions. tor within the national economic landscape. The strategy The first section of the questionnaire was dedicated to the dedicated to this branch has proven to be opportune to lay general presentation of the company and its activity. The the foundations for an efficient and competitive automo- second section highlighted the role that the SCM plays in tive industry, sufficiently integrated into global value the company. The third section was intended to describe chains. As proof, this sector has become the leading export- the general practices that are implemented to manage the ing sector, representing, in 2018, 26% of national exports chain of value. and enjoys a prime position in terms of contribution to in- INTERVIEWING PROCEDURE AND RESULTS ANALYSIS dustrial employment with 27% of the total employment The interviews were held in the company’s facilities. The rate [48]. sample is structured as shown in Figure 1 by field of activity The aeronautic sector has a strategic character in the Mo- and by region. The 3 automotive companies are based in roccan industrial policy. Indeed, this sector has experi- Rabat-Salé-Kenitra region while all the other companies (3 enced, in less than 10 years, a remarkable progress achiev- aeronautics, 1 logistics transport and 2 cosmetics distribu- ing, in 2011, an export turnover of more than 5.2 billion dir- tion) are in Casablanca region. hams and employing 7369 highly qualified people [49]. The industry based in Morocco has become the main exporter of aeronautical equipment, parts and components of the African continent. 6 Management Systems in Production Engineering 2022, Volume 30, Issue 1 companies confirmed that the strategic goals of the com- pany can’t be achieved without a collaboration and integra- tion of all the company’s functions. Internal integration facilitates satisfying customer needs through the timely integration of departments within the firm (from raw material management and production to lo- gistics and sales) forming a continuous and compact flow. Indeed, the utilization of periodic interdepartmental meet- Fig. 1 Sample repartition par sector and region ings among internal functions allow a smoother coordina- tion and help to solve problems jointly. Most of the produc- The interviewees were asked to talk about the role of the tion firms interviewed organize daily meeting in the morn- supply chain management in their companies. 88.88% (8 ing where all the functions are present. This approach has companies) of the responses confirmed that the supply helped in decision-making and achieving a better produc- chain covers the supply of the raw material from suppliers tivity and reactivity. Also, 6 companies out of 9 are using to the product delivery to the final customers including the the ERP as data integration among internal functions. management of the relationship with suppliers and cus- tomers. While the rest consider the SCM as a logistic activ- The third section of the questionnaire was related to the downstream process and customer relationship manage- ity attached to the transport and distribution. ment. Several firms are outsourcing the activity of delivery The interviewees emphasize the importance of the coordi- and transportation. Distribution logistics is largely en- nation between the departments (purchasing, logistics, trusted to intermediaries, hence the need for their diversi- production, quality) to allow a better management and fication to reduce the risks of dependency. The externaliza- achieve the company’s goals. tion of this activity allows the company to focus on their In order to investigate the practices related to the upstream core competencies to ensure a competitive advantage. process, the respondents were brought to answer ques- All the companies have a customer orientation and are tions related to the supplier relationship. working on building customer loyalty. All the interviewers All the respondents confirmed the regular communication confirmed that they are doing the follow up of the custom- with their suppliers thru emails, phone/conference calls. ers complaints and some of them organize taskforces to Some suppliers have a regular visit to the company’s facility solve the issues especially if they are related to a product to provide technical support. The face-to face communica- deficiency. Customers complaints are collected both in for- tion was also described as an important factor during com- mal way (e.g. email) and informal way (e.g. social media). mercial negotiations and establishment of the contracts. Unanimously, respondents confirmed that client satisfac- The high corporate level communication on important is- tion is a priority of the firm. Customer satisfaction for some sues with key suppliers helped the companies to produce companies are measured by the claim rate and sell out significant benefits. analysis. The relationship with customers deserves all the Most of the companies interviewed have some strategic attention in all the companies in this study. contracts and alliances with their key suppliers. The reason The last section of the questionnaire was dedicated to the is to build and maintain a strong relationship and benefit practices related to the information sharing. All the re- from the capability of the supplier. However, 2 companies spondents share information with their partners that help stated that they had to give up some strategic suppliers due establishment of business planning. Moreover, they keep to quality issues and delivery speed. their partners informed about any changing needs. In some All the interviewees confirmed the importance of the sup- cases, the companies share with their supplier proprietary plier’s reactivity in terms of goods delivery and problem information in order to develop the products and pro- solving. The geographic proximity of some suppliers (tool- cesses. All companies use formal way for information ex- ing makers as example) is important to 5 of the companies change. interviewed because of the operational risks related to The Figure 2 presents a summary of the practices used by equipment failure during production. the companies interviewed in Morocco. During the supplier selection, all the companies focus on criteria of the price, delivery time and quality. The compa- nies interviewed emphasize the importance to have multi- ple suppliers to avoid the problems of loss of key suppliers and insolvency. The companies operating in the automotive and aeronautic industry always inform their supplier of any change that can affect the product or process. Thus, the suppliers are in- volved in the products/process development and the com- pany can use their feedback for making improvement. 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Hajar Haddouch Mohamed El Oumami ORCID ID: 0000-0002-1154-6880 Laboratory of Mechanics, Production Laboratory of Mechanics, Production and Industrial Engineering, LMPGI, and Industrial Engineering, LMPGI, Hassan II University of Casablanca Higher School of Technology of Casablanca, ESTC, Casablanca 20000, Morocco Hassan II University of Casablanca e-mail: mohoumami@gmail.com Casablanca, Morocco Zitouni Beidouri e-mail: haddouch.hajar@gmail.com ORCID ID: 0000-0002-5347-7895 Khadija Fath Laboratory of Mechanics, Production ORCID ID: 0000-0001-9345-2097 and Industrial Engineering, LMPGI, Laboratory of Mechanics, Production Hassan II University of Casablanca and Industrial Engineering, LMPGI, Casablanca 20000, Morocco Hassan II University of Casablanca e-mail: zbeidouri@gmail.com Casablanca 20000, Morocco e-mail: khadija.fath@laposte.net http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Management Systems in Production Engineering de Gruyter

Exploratory Qualitative Study of the Supply Chain Management Practices in the Moroccan Companies

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de Gruyter
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© 2022 Hajar Haddouch et al., published by Sciendo
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2450-5781
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10.2478/mspe-2022-0001
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Abstract

Nowadays, the competitive, fast-moving business environment has permanently transformed the supply chain and the management of its functions. Convinced of new opportunities offered by the global economy, Morocco has opted for a new industrial strategy based on Supply chain management practices aimed at improving the performance and making the country an attractive space for global value chains. The main aims of this paper are to evaluate the literature on the different definitions, approaches, trends and practices of the supply chain man- agement, and presents results of a semi-directive qualitative study conducted in Morocco in order to obtain a deeper understanding of the supply chain management practices implemented in the Moroccan context. The results indicate that the practices of companies based in Morocco are highly linked to the management of the supplier and customer relationship and internal integration among the internal functions of the firms. Key words: Practices, Supply chain management, qualitative study, Supplier relationship, Customer relationship INTRODUCTION study carried out in Moroccan companies to investigate the The supply chain management (SCM) is a multidisciplinary SCM practices adopted in the Moroccan context. concept in the contemporary trade and research to bring LITTERATURE REVIEW organizational performance to manage the business Supply Chain Management: definitions, approaches through delivering goods and services to the end customers and trends [1]. Despite the popularity of the term Supply Chain Manage- In the face of a competitive global market, organizations ment (SCM), both in academic and practice fields, there is have downsized, focused on core competencies, and at- still a lot of confusion about its meaning. Some authors de- tempted to achieve competitive advantage by more effec- fine SCM in operational terms related to product flows, tively managing all internal and external value-adding activ- some consider it to be a management philosophy, and oth- ities. ers consider it in terms of process management [2]. The supply chain management represents a central area of A normal supply chain basically is a network of services, in- focus for many businesses today. Although the extraordi- formation and material processing link with the features of nary growth of SCM attests to its robustness and practical demand, transformation and supply. In order to explain the importance, the field is diffuse and complex. activities related to supply chain, flow of information, con- In recent years, Morocco has seen considerable progress trol of material, planning, and activities related to logistic, and remarkable achievements, particularly in terms of in- the term, supply chain management is used [3]. frastructure and services. Its strengths allow it to become Mentzer et al [4] define the SCM as the systemic, strategic an African logistics model and a leading logistics platform in coordination of the traditional business functions and the the Mediterranean and African environment. Thus, under- tactics across these business functions within a particular standing SCM and its practices has become a prerequisite company and across businesses within the supply chain, for for staying competitive in the global race and improving the purposes of improving the long-term performance of performance for companies based in Morocco. the individual companies and the supply chain as a whole. The ambition of this paper is first to present a literature re- Some researchers conceive the SCM from a purchasing and view and analysis of the various definitions, practices and supply function perspective and define it as the integration trends of the SCM. Then, to present data from a qualitative 2 Management Systems in Production Engineering 2022, Volume 30, Issue 1 of the supply base and all purchasing decisions and activi- management focuses on how firms utilize their suppliers' ties related to purchasing and supplier management [5]. processes, technology and capability to enhance competi- This approach considers procurement policies, supply man- tive advantage. It is a management philosophy that extends agement, and supplier development, evaluation and coor- traditional intra-enterprise activities by bringing trading dination as fundamental elements of the SCM [6]. partners together with the common goal of optimization We consider that the definition of SCM only in terms of a and efficiency” [2]. company's involvement in the management of its supplier “A set of value-added relationships of partially discrete but is a narrow perception as the company interacts with other interdependent units that co-operatively transform raw business partners to achieve supply chain integration. materials into finished products through sequential, paral- A second approach considers SCM from a logistics and lel and / or network structures” [16]. transport perspective and defines it as the management of “Supply chain management is simply the management of all flows of material, products and information throughout transport or flow of goods and services, it also includes stor- the supply chain [7]. This approach remains partial since it age, shelf life, analysis of goods procured, and goods sold considers the SCM as a concept relating to the logistic func- logistics, etc. Supply chain management helps in planning tion [6]. and executing various supply chain activities of a particular Beyond the focus on traditional functions, SCM can be per- organization to build up a net value of the organization, de- ceived from a process perspective with a focus on manag- termining the current market trend related to the demand ing and integrating processes across the value chain [8, 9]. and supply of any goods or services and synchronizing the This vision was adopted by the Global Supply Chain Forum same for measuring the performance of the organization” (GSCF) which defined SCM as follows: “The integration of [17]. key business processes from end user through original sup- “SCM known as the integration of business processes from pliers that provides products, services, and information end users through original suppliers that provides products, that add value for customers and other stakeholders”[10]. services, and information to add value for customers, SCM We note that this definition explicitly emphasizes the no- has become a source of competitive advantage for compa- tion of management and integration of key processes that nies from various industries” [18]. is more inclusive than the perspectives related to tradi- “The process of planning, implementing and controlling the tional activities and functions. operations of the supply chain with the purpose to satisfy The paradigm of the supply chain has metamorphosed into customer requirements as efficiently as possible. Supply a nonlinear complex network which allows efficient inter- chain management spans all movement and storage of raw actions among suppliers and partners regardless their size, materials, work-in-process inventory, and finished goods location or number of products [11]. Thus, the SCM can also from point-of-origin to point-of-consumption” [19]. be approached through the networks approach by focusing We confirm that SCM definitions encompass aspects of on the different forms of linkages between the supply chain managing different flows within the organization network partners, namely coordination, integration and collabora- to create value for companies and the customer. tion. B. Fugate et al. [12] point out that the supply chain is We notice that there is no consensus on the definition of composed of trading partners that are interconnected by Supply Chain Management, this is due to the multidiscipli- financial, information and product/service flows. Effective nary origin of the concept, its evolution as well as its emerg- management of these flows requires the creation of syner- ing character in the practice and the academic field [20]. gistic relationships between supply and distribution part- Nevertheless, most definitions have at least one feature in ners with the goal of maximizing value for the customer and common that lies in the focus on the organization's external providing a profit for each member of the supply chain. environment. Cooke [13] defines the SCM as the coordination and suc- We find that SCM approaches differ from a partial vision to cessful integration of all the activities of the supply chain a more global vision. Partial approaches summarize SCM in from the raw material stage to the final customer in order relation to a specific traditional function, such as purchas- to offer a competitive advantage. The coordination within ing or distribution. These approaches remain limited by a supply chain is a strategic response to the problems comparing them to global approaches that address SCM in caused by inter-organizational dependencies within the a broader perspective. Indeed, global approaches repre- chain. With the deployment of the information systems, sent SCM as an integration of processes involving all mem- the mechanisms of coordination between the firms are bers of the supply chain and all activities related to up- stronger [11]. stream and downstream flows. These approaches are In addition to the definitions given above, we present a based on the coordination and integration of different sample of other SCM definitions in the literature [14]: stakeholders to create value for them and for the customer, “Supply chain management is envisaged as an extended en- thereby ensuring better performance and competitive ad- terprise connecting business in different places and facili- vantage. tating allies to propel competitive advantage in the era of Besides the definitions and approaches, the supply chain globalization” [15]. management is characterized by different trends which “Supply chain management encompasses materials/supply have impact on the way the organization work. We present management from the supply of basic raw materials to final some key trends in the SCM: product (and possible recycling and re-use). Supply chain H. HADDOUCH et al. – Exploratory Qualitative Study of The Supply Chain… 3 Collaboration The literature portrays SCM practices from a variety of per- Collaboration enables close working relationships and re- spectives. Table 1 presents the SCM practices discussed in moves organizational boundaries. It allows building alli- the literature. ances between organizations, sharing risks and rewards Table 1 with open sharing of data and ideas [21]. These initiatives SCM practices in the literature have a strategic significance for general managers rather Source SCM practices than simple tactical gains [20]. The SCM emphasizes the de- S. Min Behavioral integration, mutual information velopment of appropriate “win-win” relationship with key et al. [28] sharing, mutual sharing of risks and rewards, suppliers and customers and enhances the autonomy and co-operation, same goals and same viability of each one of them. willingness to serve the customer, integration of processes, building and Outsourcing maintaining long-term relationships Outsourcing can be defined as “the procurement of prod- between partners, leadership. ucts or services from sources that are external to the organ- K. C. Tan [5, Supply chain integration, information ization” [22]. The outsourcing helps organization to concen- 29] sharing, supply chain characteristics, trate on their core operations and business and use special- customer service management, ized companies to perform tasks that are not core compe- geographical proximity between partners, tencies of the organization. The outsourcing is considered just-in-time practices. as an important part of the corporate strategy and has sev- U.Y. Alvarado Focus on core competencies, use of inter- eral benefits such as cost reduction and expansion of ser- et al. [9] organizational coordination systems (EDI for vices and expertise [22]. example), reduction of intermediate stocks Mass customization by delayed differentiation. The mass customization challenges the supply chain man- I. J. Chen Reduced number of suppliers, long-term et al. [30] agement by adopting mass production approaches to ac- relationships, communication, existence of commodates "high-variety-low-volume" production [23]. inter-functional teams, commitment of Indeed, the combination of the benefits of mass production suppliers. with the customized products flexibility enables the per- S. Li Strategic partnership with suppliers, sonalization of products to individual customer demands. et al [27] customer relationship, level of information Mass customization is considered as competitive strategy sharing, quality of information sharing. by many companies [24]. H. Shin Long-term relationships with suppliers, et al. [31] reduction in the number of suppliers, quality Postponement of suppliers, involvement of suppliers in the The postponement plays an important role in the supply design and production of the offer. chain organization as it raises the question of which produc- D.L.Anderson Segmentation of customers according to the tion stage the diversification of products should be applied et al. [32] needs of the service, customization of the [25]. Thus, the intent of most supply chains is to keep the logistics network according to the service inventories as generic products and postpone the differen- requirements, assembly of the final product tiation until the latest possible moment. This strategy re- as close as possible to the final market, duces demand variability and safety stock requirement strategic sourcing management to reduce [26]. total cost, develop a broad supply chain technology strategy, adopt performance Information systems measures of the supply chain to measure the Advances in information technology promotes supply chain collective success. management and can lead managers to make investment H. Zhou Inter-organizational coordination, just-in- that improve the supply chain management. Indeed, the et al. [33] time production, delivery practices. connectivity through electronic data interchange or ERP W. S. Chow Customer relationship management, systems can be considered as enablers for the supply chain et al. [34] supplier partnership, information sharing, management [26]. Thus, the information systems and new customer contact development, technologies increase the efficiency and flexibility of the communication and speed. supply chain. S. Croom Development of closer partnership with et al. [2] Supply chain management practices major suppliers, centralized coordination Adopting a supply chain orientation requires its operation- of data. alization through the implementation of a set of practices The SCM practices are proposed to be a multi-dimensional within the company and through the logistics chain. SCM concept including the upstream and downstream part of practices are defined as the set of activities undertaken by the supply chain. In this perspective, we retain the follow- an organization to promote effective supply chain manage- ing practices: Integration, strategic supplier partnership, ment [27]. customer relationship management and information shar- ing. 4 Management Systems in Production Engineering 2022, Volume 30, Issue 1 The integration them to manage their raw material supplies on time and in The main objective of managing the supply chain is to inte- required quantity and quality to gain competitive ad- grate both the flow of material and information throughout vantage [41]. the supply chain as an effective weapon of supply chain [3]. Customer relationship management The integration of the supply chain can be defined as the Customer relationship management is an important ele- integration of upstream suppliers and downstream cus- ment of SCM practices that can affect the success of the tomers as well as horizontal integration which is the inte- supply chain and its performance [42, 43]. It includes all the gration of different internal functions [35]. The integration practices used to manage customer complaints, establish of the logistics chain is a relevant coordination mechanism long-term customer relationships, and improve customer that simplifies internal and external business processes satisfaction [27]. The growth of personalized production is [36]. leading companies to develop their ability to listen and un- Given the increasing complexity, dynamism and interna- derstand customers' expectations in order to respond in a tionalization of supply networks, the importance of supply personalized, fast and adapted way to their demands [44]. chain integration is well recognized in both practice and Customer orientation involves the integration of down- theory today [37]. stream customers and a common agreement in terms of vi- The integration of the supply chain involves manufacturers' sions and objectives to serve them[4]. To operationalize the collaboration, strategic partnerships, collaborative man- practices of the customer relationship, seven elements of agement and cross-organizational processes. customer service were identified namely: the evaluation of There are two types of integration: internal integration and customer complaints, the follow-up with the customers for external integration. the feedback, the improvement of the customer support, The internal integration refers to a transversal strategy sys- predicting the key factors influencing customer relation- tem and the responsibility for inter-functional collabora- ships, predicting future customer expectations, interacting tion. This integration involves collaborative product design, with customers to set standards, and measuring customer purchasing, production, marketing and distribution to meet satisfaction [42, 43]. customer needs at the lowest cost. The efforts made for in- ternal integration contribute to overcome the barriers of Information sharing functional silos and to promote capabilities between essen- The Global Logistics Research Team at Michigan State Uni- tial functions through communication [38]. versity defines information sharing as the willingness to External integration involves integrating suppliers and cus- make strategic and tactical data available to other mem- tomers through a set of practices including information bers of the supply chain [4]. Information sharing is consid- sharing, supplier involvement in decision making, collection ered one of the five building blocks that characterize a of customer information and its use for products improve- strong relationship of the supply chain [45]. The infor- ment and service innovation [38]. mation exchanged is characterized by a quantitative aspect The importance of the integration in SCM philosophy rely and a qualitative aspect. on the recognition that the supply chain is only strong as its Quantitative aspect refers to the intensity of shared infor- weakest link. The development of strong relationships be- mation that refers to the extent to which essential and ex- tween customers and suppliers lead to higher levels of sup- clusive information is shared with supply chain partners ply chain integration [39]. [27]. Open sharing of information such as inventory levels, forecasts, sales promotion strategies and marketing strate- Strategic supplier partnership gies reduces uncertainty between partners and improves The strategic partnership with suppliers is defined as a long- performance [4]. The regular exchange of information in a term relationship between the organization and its suppli- formal or informal way allows partners to better under- ers. This type of relationship is designed to take advantage stand the customers’ needs and to adapt quickly to the of the strategic and operational capabilities of individual or- market. In addition, it ensures better coordination and pla- ganizations to help them achieve significant benefits [27]. nification of the chain [28]. Purchasers team up with suppliers to guarantee that input The qualitative aspect refers to the quality of sharing of in- materials meet quality requirements. Great information formation that refers to the accuracy, timeliness, relevance sources, furnished at the ideal time with the required and credibility of the information exchanged [27]. amount, causes firm to stay away from downtime occur- The quality of shared information is critical to effective SCM rences, to decrease change in processes and the rate of as organizations are increasingly reluctant to disclose more harmed materials [40]. than a minimum of information, which can be perceived as The involvement of suppliers in the design and production a loss of power [27]. Indeed, each partner is wary of the of the offer can have different levels, ranging from minor possibility that other partners will misuse the information design suggestions to being responsible for the complete and reap the full benefits of sharing. Such mistrust should development, design and engineering of a part [30]. not prevent organizations from ensuring data flow with The suppliers who participate at the beginning of the prod- minimal distortion. The sharing and visibility of information uct design process can offer more cost-effective design throughout the chain is above all the key to an integrated choices, help select the best components and technologies, and efficient supply chain [46]. and assist in design evaluation. Firm’s ability to establish long-term relationships with their key suppliers enable H. HADDOUCH et al. – Exploratory Qualitative Study of The Supply Chain… 5 METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH The logistics sector in Morocco has experienced considera- The methodology adopted is an exploratory study, con- ble growth over the past years, which has resulted in an in- ducted through a qualitative approach, to gain an under- crease in the size of the logistics services market. In fact, the standing of the practices of the SCM in the Moroccan con- turnover of logistics and road freight transport companies text. This approach helps to develop hypotheses for the in 2014 reached nearly 21 billion dirhams, an average an- quantitative study, uncover trends in thought and opinions, nual growth of 5.2% during the period 2010-2014. and dive deeper into the problem The logistics market is marked by the multiplication of op- The Qualitative methods have the advantage of allowing erators and the diversification of the offer ranging from the people to express what is important to them in their own simple transport service to the full support of the logistics words. Most of the research conducted on mode choices function and the supply chain of the customer. The diversi- employs researcher-selected variables, so tends to focus on fication and evolution of services / benefits has been driven just a few attributes. In this regard, qualitative methods can in part by service providers (3PL), freight forwarders and be a valuable way to allow respondents to specify which courier operators [50]. factors are important to them [47]. The cosmetics market in Morocco is estimated at 1.09 bil- Indeed, the following steps are followed to ensure this ex- lion in 2017. The market will experience a sustained rise ploratory study: over the next few years. It would reach 1.93 billion dollars − Sampling and elaboration of the interview guide by 2025, according to a research unveiled by the Irish firm Research & Markets, and its average annual growth is ex- − Interviewing procedure and analysis pected to be 7.5% [51]. The study was based on 9 in-depth interviews with compa- The respondents of the interview have the following func- nies operating in different fields and based in Morocco. tions: supply chain manager, logistic manager, purchasing Sampling and interview guide manager and general manager. We have 9 respondents The sample was stratified to ensure a larger view of the Mo- representing the 9 companies. roccan context including companies operating in different Since all our respondents were corporate managers famil- fields of activity and having a set of different practices in iar with their company’s supply chain activities, it is reason- their supply chain. able to expect that the respondents could offer a deep in- The sample was composed of 9 companies operating in au- sight into the supply chain activities and be knowledgeable tomotive, aeronautics, logistic transport, and cosmetics. about the content of the inquiry The choice of these companies was made based on two According to Miller et al [52], two criteria where subjective main reasons: data may be reliable and valid are: (a) questions do not re- The first reason concerns the diversification of the type of quire recall from the distant past, and (b) informants are company and the position of the company in the supply motivated to provide accurate information. We promised chain. In fact, on the one hand, we have chosen production confidentiality of data and highlighted the usefulness of the companies belonging to the automotive and aeronautical project. sector and on the other hand service companies including The interviews were semi-structured, based on a prede- logistics transport providers and cosmetic products distri- fined interview guide and took 45 min to one hour on aver- bution companies. age. The second reason is the importance of these industries in The interview guide was designed to collect the most and the Moroccan economic context: accurate information related to the different practices re- Indeed, the Moroccan automotive industry has recorded lated to the supply chain management. Indeed, the ques- remarkable growth over the past ten years and has man- tionnaire was drawn up mainly based on the literature re- aged to gradually establish itself as a flagship business sec- view and contained closed questions. tor within the national economic landscape. The strategy The first section of the questionnaire was dedicated to the dedicated to this branch has proven to be opportune to lay general presentation of the company and its activity. The the foundations for an efficient and competitive automo- second section highlighted the role that the SCM plays in tive industry, sufficiently integrated into global value the company. The third section was intended to describe chains. As proof, this sector has become the leading export- the general practices that are implemented to manage the ing sector, representing, in 2018, 26% of national exports chain of value. and enjoys a prime position in terms of contribution to in- INTERVIEWING PROCEDURE AND RESULTS ANALYSIS dustrial employment with 27% of the total employment The interviews were held in the company’s facilities. The rate [48]. sample is structured as shown in Figure 1 by field of activity The aeronautic sector has a strategic character in the Mo- and by region. The 3 automotive companies are based in roccan industrial policy. Indeed, this sector has experi- Rabat-Salé-Kenitra region while all the other companies (3 enced, in less than 10 years, a remarkable progress achiev- aeronautics, 1 logistics transport and 2 cosmetics distribu- ing, in 2011, an export turnover of more than 5.2 billion dir- tion) are in Casablanca region. hams and employing 7369 highly qualified people [49]. The industry based in Morocco has become the main exporter of aeronautical equipment, parts and components of the African continent. 6 Management Systems in Production Engineering 2022, Volume 30, Issue 1 companies confirmed that the strategic goals of the com- pany can’t be achieved without a collaboration and integra- tion of all the company’s functions. Internal integration facilitates satisfying customer needs through the timely integration of departments within the firm (from raw material management and production to lo- gistics and sales) forming a continuous and compact flow. Indeed, the utilization of periodic interdepartmental meet- Fig. 1 Sample repartition par sector and region ings among internal functions allow a smoother coordina- tion and help to solve problems jointly. Most of the produc- The interviewees were asked to talk about the role of the tion firms interviewed organize daily meeting in the morn- supply chain management in their companies. 88.88% (8 ing where all the functions are present. This approach has companies) of the responses confirmed that the supply helped in decision-making and achieving a better produc- chain covers the supply of the raw material from suppliers tivity and reactivity. Also, 6 companies out of 9 are using to the product delivery to the final customers including the the ERP as data integration among internal functions. management of the relationship with suppliers and cus- tomers. While the rest consider the SCM as a logistic activ- The third section of the questionnaire was related to the downstream process and customer relationship manage- ity attached to the transport and distribution. ment. Several firms are outsourcing the activity of delivery The interviewees emphasize the importance of the coordi- and transportation. Distribution logistics is largely en- nation between the departments (purchasing, logistics, trusted to intermediaries, hence the need for their diversi- production, quality) to allow a better management and fication to reduce the risks of dependency. The externaliza- achieve the company’s goals. tion of this activity allows the company to focus on their In order to investigate the practices related to the upstream core competencies to ensure a competitive advantage. process, the respondents were brought to answer ques- All the companies have a customer orientation and are tions related to the supplier relationship. working on building customer loyalty. All the interviewers All the respondents confirmed the regular communication confirmed that they are doing the follow up of the custom- with their suppliers thru emails, phone/conference calls. ers complaints and some of them organize taskforces to Some suppliers have a regular visit to the company’s facility solve the issues especially if they are related to a product to provide technical support. The face-to face communica- deficiency. Customers complaints are collected both in for- tion was also described as an important factor during com- mal way (e.g. email) and informal way (e.g. social media). mercial negotiations and establishment of the contracts. Unanimously, respondents confirmed that client satisfac- The high corporate level communication on important is- tion is a priority of the firm. Customer satisfaction for some sues with key suppliers helped the companies to produce companies are measured by the claim rate and sell out significant benefits. analysis. The relationship with customers deserves all the Most of the companies interviewed have some strategic attention in all the companies in this study. contracts and alliances with their key suppliers. The reason The last section of the questionnaire was dedicated to the is to build and maintain a strong relationship and benefit practices related to the information sharing. All the re- from the capability of the supplier. However, 2 companies spondents share information with their partners that help stated that they had to give up some strategic suppliers due establishment of business planning. Moreover, they keep to quality issues and delivery speed. their partners informed about any changing needs. In some All the interviewees confirmed the importance of the sup- cases, the companies share with their supplier proprietary plier’s reactivity in terms of goods delivery and problem information in order to develop the products and pro- solving. The geographic proximity of some suppliers (tool- cesses. All companies use formal way for information ex- ing makers as example) is important to 5 of the companies change. interviewed because of the operational risks related to The Figure 2 presents a summary of the practices used by equipment failure during production. the companies interviewed in Morocco. During the supplier selection, all the companies focus on criteria of the price, delivery time and quality. The compa- nies interviewed emphasize the importance to have multi- ple suppliers to avoid the problems of loss of key suppliers and insolvency. The companies operating in the automotive and aeronautic industry always inform their supplier of any change that can affect the product or process. Thus, the suppliers are in- volved in the products/process development and the com- pany can use their feedback for making improvement. 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Manag., vol. 19, no. 10, pp. 1034-1052, Oct. 1999, doi: 10.1108/01443579910287064. Hajar Haddouch Mohamed El Oumami ORCID ID: 0000-0002-1154-6880 Laboratory of Mechanics, Production Laboratory of Mechanics, Production and Industrial Engineering, LMPGI, and Industrial Engineering, LMPGI, Hassan II University of Casablanca Higher School of Technology of Casablanca, ESTC, Casablanca 20000, Morocco Hassan II University of Casablanca e-mail: mohoumami@gmail.com Casablanca, Morocco Zitouni Beidouri e-mail: haddouch.hajar@gmail.com ORCID ID: 0000-0002-5347-7895 Khadija Fath Laboratory of Mechanics, Production ORCID ID: 0000-0001-9345-2097 and Industrial Engineering, LMPGI, Laboratory of Mechanics, Production Hassan II University of Casablanca and Industrial Engineering, LMPGI, Casablanca 20000, Morocco Hassan II University of Casablanca e-mail: zbeidouri@gmail.com Casablanca 20000, Morocco e-mail: khadija.fath@laposte.net

Journal

Management Systems in Production Engineeringde Gruyter

Published: Mar 1, 2022

Keywords: Practices; Supply chain management; qualitative study; Supplier relationship; Customer relationship

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