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The capitalist system has had mixed economic views over the years. Some say that this system is bound to collapse and eat itself away on its own. Others say that competitive free markets are the instruments that lead to real and global growth. Whatever the economic and philosophical reviews may the capitalist system have, it is the truth of the day. Most of the developed countries today have a capitalist economic structure and they seem to benefit by it. One of the core economic assumptions is that of competitive free markets and then one of the important policies that are followed in this system is that of deregulation of trade and markets.
Implicitly, this means that governments of the capitalist economies encourage and promote competition both at the domestic and at the international levels. Away from the capitalist policies, there are protectionist policies which believe that the domestic industries need to be protected through import tariffs and quotas. But since most of the economies today are capitalist ones, as has already been mentioned above, they face competition both domestically and internationally.
The progress in technology and modes of communication have further increased the level of competition that the firms face by increasing the pace and efficiency of development. This then means that each organization has to put in more effort in achieving the same level of stability and growth than it did previously. This not only requires more research into the field but also more creativity to create and process strategies.
One of the ways to cater to this increased level of competition and the need to evolve continuously is to shift focus from the management of individual firms to the management of an entire supply chain.
A supply chain is a network of various organizations that takes a product from the natural raw material to finished product for retailing. In this process, there come many other manufacturers who require the unfinished product for other purposes and also the final consumers who buy the final product from the retailer. The players of the supply chain include the extractor of the raw material, the primary, secondary and tertiary manufacturers, the warehouse owners, the distributors of the product, the retailer of the product and finally, the final consumer of the product. This basically means that everybody who gets into contact with the product in question is included in the supply chain.
The management of the supply chain is a complex and tiresome task. The basic idea behind the management of the supply chain is that of the centralized control. This is because all the players of the firm are now seen as one and not as a number of individual organizations striving for personal benefits. In fact, the benefit is now seen of the entire supply chain even if it means temporarily making one of the members of the supply chain worse off. The management of the supply chain however works in such a way so as to make all the members better off and this is precisely why the management of a supply chain is such a complex and tiresome task.
But this complex and effort requiring task has its benefits and there is no doubt about that. Supply chain management is both an opportunity and a challenge for the firms adopting the mode of management (Hugos, 2006). Thus those organizations who think of supply chain management as an opportunity and try their best to make the supply chain policies work find profit, comparative advantage and success in the process. But obviously this requires work, talent and effort and that is the main thing that the management of various firms lack at giving. Up till now, probably the introduction section gives the idea that supply chain management practices can only be applied to the manufacturing organizations which end up in retailing the manufacturing products. The truth whoever is that a supply chain might work with any type of business whose end step is retailing. This could mean retail banking or a retail food outlet. For this research paper, I would be focusing on retail food outlet and how supply chain management practices can be applied to retail food outlets to yield stability, success and growth for the organization.
Cohen and Roussell (2005) define the process of supply chain management as to
This means that to run a supply chain, the management needs to strategically plan each and every detail of the process. This includes the points that what an organization wants in terms of the structure, operations, products, future or reputation and how it intends to achieve it. Both the elements are extremely important in the planning process because both the set goals and the process used to achieve those goals can have side effects on the organization overall and thus can lead to more harm than benefit. Thus, planning is extremely important for both the aspects mentioned above.
The second function of the management of the supply chain then is to source the set goals and the processes. Without the availability of resources, there would not be any organization and the employees cannot go arranging resources on their own. Thus, management of the supply chain needs to strategically arrange the resources and their efficiently allocate those resources to various steps of the business in order for the business to earn the maximum performance.
The third step as mentioned by Cohen and Roussell (2005) is that of making the product. This is simple and straightforward and for the management this function calls for checking on the manufacturing process by assuring that the correct quality, amount and time is being incorporated.
The fourth, and the final step then is to deliver the product that has been manufactured so that the demands of the consumers are met and revenue can flow into the organization. The function of delivering then is not as simple as it sounds. This process includes analyzing the consumer demand and then delivers according to that.
Even though the above mentioned four functions of supply chain management can be termed as being the same for all the managements of the organization, supply chain or not, for the supply chain then, they are the same of course, but they are extremely different in the level of complexity and intensity of the tasks.
Supply chains are now expanded around the globe with a huge amount of geographical distances between one member of the organization and the other. This geographical distance has two implications. The first one is that the supply chain management task is made more and more complex because of the diversity of culture, norms, religions, beliefs, cost standards and variability, labor changes and similar other factors that enter into the process. The second implication is that through this diversity, the supply chain can also benefit from specialization and variability in the cost structure between the different geographical locations.
For the retail food outlets, the situation is very similar. The basic point to run a good and well known retail food outlet is to ensure that the quality that is provided to customers worldwide is the same and is excellent. The reason is that people do not mind spending money as long as they think that their money is well spent and is not going to waste. If the quality of the food is good and worth the money, people will flock to come and eat in that restaurant even if the price of the food is higher than the competitive prices. This fact will be studied in greater detail both in the literature review and the data analysis section of this research report.
This research report will be studying the basic concepts of supply chain and supply chain management as studied and presented by other researchers, theorists and experts. The next chapter will be extensively studying the present literature of supply chain management, its practices, it scope in the real life and its application generally and the supply chain management practices with respect to the retail food outlet specifically. For the analysis of primary data and to make the research report more applicative, the example of Pizza Hut, London has been taken. I have researched for the concepts from the present literature and have applied the knowledge to understand the strategic supply chain position of the Pizza Hut chain with the London branches and how these very concepts and proposed practices can be applied to further improve the performance and the operations of the organization. The recommendations have been covered in the last section of this research report.
Significance of the Research
This research is significant for the following reasons:
The first reason is that it is a thorough study of the topic through dual modes. Primary and secondary. This will be studied in greater elaboration in the research methodology section and after the results have been analyzed in the data analysis section, it will become evident that through the two methods, the topic is gracefully covered and gives competitive knowledge on the topic.
Secondly, the business field especially after the recent recession of 2007 and 2008 has become more concerned about the capability of the capitalist systems and every organization on its own logic. This just does not seem to be enough and thus, the focus is shifting from individual benefit to the welfare of all the organization in the supply chain by improving the â€œwholeâ€Â organization. This important shift in the supply chain then increases the importance of this research as well because it studies precisely those concepts and practices to which the world is now focusing.
Statement of Purpose
Honesty is the best policy and honestly speaking, the first and the foremost purpose of writing this research is to complete the coursework for this module and get a good grade for the work.
However, this is not the only purpose of researching so thoroughly because completion of coursework and a reasonable grade could have been achieved with much less effort than what I put into this work. And the reason to put in this much effort was to gain something and then become something. As the introduction section studies, the world that is now becoming is about gaining the maximum amount of competitive advantage that one can secure and thus there has been a shift of focus towards the supply chain management.
I want to gain enough knowledge to be able to apply it when I enter the real and the practical world. I want my knowledge base and my applicative techniques to be strong enough to lead an organization skillfully through its supply chain management process.
Research Aims and Objectives
The aim of this research is to create an academic paper worthy enough to create marks in the sands of academic times.
The objectives of this research paper it to study the concepts, applications and the limitations of the supply chain management practices. Next the objective is to study Pizza hut in the light of those concepts and applications and to be able to suggest the level to which the organization could be improved by the incorporation of further supply chain practices.
The research report has been created with the following questions in mind to sharply direct the research conduction away from irrelevant details.
How and why has todayâ€™s corporate worldâ€™s focus shifted to Supply Chains and Supply Chain management practices?
How useful have these management practices been and what scope do they present?
Where does Pizza Hut strategically stands in the United Kingdom retail food market?
What supply chain practices have been adopted by Pizza Hut and what have been the affects of those practices on the performance of the organization.