Literature Review and Critique
Supply Chain Management is the combined set of practices, policies and frameworks that represent the relationship and the working dynamics between manufacturing, supplier, wholesaler, retailers and other supporting entities like warehouses, distributors etc. that enables final goods and services to reach the customers in the desired quantities and at the desired time (Heizer and Render, 2014). There are many parts or sub-components of the supply chain gamut that makes organzation operations effective and deliver goods and services in time. This literature review assesses and critiques quality management, inventory ...view middle of the document...
Quality Management is thus the approach taken to ensure consistency or conformity to pre-defined standards, write Heizer and Render (2014) and it has four main components – quality planning, control, assurance and quality improvement. The authors refer to quality management as a consortium of management activities and functions involved in determination of quality policy and its execution by adopting measures such as quality planning and quality control.
Quality Management has a significant bearing in supply chain management as quality is paramount at each stage of the supply chain, assert Rao, et al (2009). The authors state that whether it is raw materials that are being sourced from vendors, production function entailing assembly line or batch, or the end product or service being consumed by customers, quality is critical throughout supply chain life cycle. Different entities are involved in checking and assuring quality depending upon the supply chain phase. Checking quality of raw or semi finished products at the time of procurement, quality inspections during manufacturing and quality checks before end products are dispatched are all examples of quality management in the supply chain. Quality at each step is measured against some specifications which are given by the concerned function or department, write Siue et al (2003). These could include dimensional measurements, physical attributes like color, shape, weight etc. chemical composition, performance specifications. These measures act as standards against which quality of inputs or the finished product or service is benchmarked.
Radhakrishnan et al (2009) argue that to ensure that customers receive the quality they pay for, it is imperative for companies to be meticulous about quality planning and control during sourcing and manufacturing stages. For the authors believe that till the time the raw materials used and the production processes followed do not subscribe to high quality standards, the output is bound to be of inferior quality. This highlights the significance of having a comprehensive quality management policy in the organization that stresses emphasis on total quality management (TQM) approach. TQM is the school of belief that emphasizes quality not only as the last milestone but integrating it in every process and framework of the business (Tasib, et al 2011). TQM is a business philosophy that has zero tolerance for sub-standard approach.
Total quality management approach is more than adopting ERP, SAP packages and other business suites; it is a quality centric approach that underlies the entire business philosophy, write Tasib, et al (2011). TQM is an organization wide initiative and calls for continuous improvement. In supply chain parlance it implies having vendors of repute, deploying industry best practices, employing quality checks and ensuring quality at each stage of supply chain like production, storage and delivery.