PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to evaluate, analyse and select the best suppliers for Satrec Vitalait Milk Company, operating in Senegal, based on criteria obtained from economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainable supply chain management, through the application of Deng’s grey relational analysis (GRA) model, absolute GRA model (ADGRA) and a novel second synthetic GRA (SSGRA) model, combined with one decision making under the uncertainty-based model, namely, the Hurwicz criteria.Design/methodology/approachThe research adopts a new synthetic GRA model and highlights its reliability on small sample gathered from four senior experts of the company who administered a total number of 28 specialists operating in four departments of the company, through the employment of a self-administered questionnaire designed based on criteria identified from the literature that were refined via a Q-sort model.FindingsThe outcomes of the research methodology designated that all the selected five suppliers present a degree of attaining sustainability due to the fact that supplying unprocessed milk does not require the use of polluting methods for stocking and transportation. The undertaken study specifies that all the socio-environmental criteria play a crucial role in shaping the sustainability level of Satrec Vitalait’s suppliers and demonstrates the accuracy of the results obtained through the second synthetic degree of grey relation analysis for ranking the suppliers. Supplier 2 was found to be the best supplier for the company and, as result, a model for other suppliers to mimic.Research limitations/implicationsFuture researchers can replicate the GRA-based supply chain model proposed in the current study in different environments especially in the context of green supply chain. Also, in future the SSGRA model, while using the bidirectional ADGRA instead of the conventional ADGRA, should also be tested, especially when the data sequences associated with different supply chain parameters have inconsistent directions. Also, comparative analysis of SSGRA-based results with that of modern statistical methods like structural equation modelling can also be used for future explorations. Furthermore, the current study is built upon the data associated with the Satrec Vitalait Milk Company (Senegal); therefore, the findings should be generalised with caution.Originality/valueThe study can be seen as a first-stepping stone for gauging and selecting the best sustainable supplier for Satrec Vitalait using grey system theory. For purpose of attaining the research goal, the SSGRA was exploited as an innovative experimental approach to estimate relationships between criteria with regard to the sustainability level of the company’s suppliers. Under this scope, relationships between criteria themselves and their goal were depicted by Deng’s degree of GRA and AGRA, respectively. The research is innovative by means of the framework of its methodology and data analysis.
Grey Systems: Theory and Application – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 1, 2019
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