Purpose – This paper aims to present the results of a study of supply chain management (SCM) practice in small‐ to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) in Merseyside, UK. Design/methodology/approach – A questionnaire is used to identify the perceived benefits, barriers and attitudes towards SCM. The questionnaire was distributed to 250 SMEs in the Merseyside area. A total of 60 usable replies were received. Findings – The results reveal the perceived benefits of SCM to SMEs, which centre on SCM as a means to improve customer responsiveness. It also reveals concerns over SMEs' ability to adapt to these new working relationships and therefore gain the desired benefits. Analysis of these barriers highlights that they reside at the individual, relational and organisational level, thus increasing the complexity of adapting to SCM. Research limitations/implications – Given the focus of the paper, this only looked at SMEs in the Merseyside area. Practical implications – The paper provides thoughts on how SMEs can improve SCM within their own organisations and supply chains. This includes the adoption of a multi‐faceted change management approach to facilitate the adoption of SCM. This needs to cover the individual, relational and organisational levels. Originality/value – Much of the SCM literature is dominated by case studies of large manufacturing organisations. The focus on the barriers and benefits to SMEs in a regional area is thus an identified gap in the extant literature.
The TQM Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 25, 2008
Keywords: Supply chain management; Small to medium‐sized enterprises; Integration