This individual report should address the following:
1. Research an
2. Identify and critically evaluate the key relationships in the
3. Identify and critically evaluate the current supply chain
Students are required to use a range of theoretical materials, industry/sector/markets and company information to critically
4. Identify and justify a number of supply chain management
5. Applying theoretical methods, select the most appropriate set
As companies have limited resource for implementation of practices, usually they would
• Demonstration of analytical skills of working with data and problem-solving;
• Evidence of critical approach in your writing;
• Evidence of
• Use of a wide range of credible academic and professional sources to develop arguments;
• Evidence of wider reading;
• Use of relevant and up-to-date information on the chosen company;
• Maximum word limit of 4,000 words and minimum of 3,600 words, excluding title page, executive summary, table of content,
• Written in
• The report should be appropriately referenced and cited using
• You are required to produce an Executive summary as part of your report – it will not count towards the word count;
• The report should be written in
• Clearly structured with headings and subheadings;
Below is a Sample Paper. You Can Order a Custom Essay Written From Scratch From Our Website. CLICK HERE TO ORDER.
Today’s business environment is characterized by stiff competition, which is a first cataclysm that affects all dimensions of how the supply chain networked organizations work. Further, the business environment is dynamic and changing fast, and therefore businesses must find a way to adapt to these new changes. It has to be aware of how the supply chain networks work and how they can be made better for a business to remain competitive. The supply chain in the contemporary business is the vital competing points, alongside essential other company competencies, and the success of the Supply chain is determined by the end customer’s experience with the organization’s product or service (Christopher & Towill, 2001, p. 235). It has been argued that determining the performance of the supply chain can help in better understanding it; therefore, becoming easier to improve the network. Thus, it is crucial to focus on the performance of the supply chain and evaluating the system in which the enterprise is a part. Qatar Airlines owes its success to the strong supply chain it has established over the years since its founding in 1993, and it has grown to be one of the top airlines around the world, taking after Singapore Airlines and Emirates. This report examines the current supply chain and logistics operations and their impact on performance. It further gives the recommendations for making the making the supply chain better to make the organization more competitive.
The supply chain consists all activities related to the flow and transformation of goods from their raw state until the end user receives them (Chen, et al., 2004, p. 510). It is an integral part of the business, and it comprises getting the essential production resources, production and assembling products, warehousing, order receipt and tracking, dispatching through different media and finally getting it to the final consumer (Voss, 2002, p. 70). The essential phases that consist supply chain are physical components flown, knowledge flow, and financial exchanges. It also has members both located upstream and downstream (Handfield & Nichols, 2002, p. 298). Nonetheless, over time the perspective of supply chain management has changed by shifting the focus from internal to external integrated supply chain system. The origin and evolution of the supply chain management according to Stadtler (2015, p. 5)have been described in four phases. The first stage begins with the integration of the aspects of the internal logistics. The second step stresses on the horizontal view of the operation essential in the primary activity of procurement up to the production of the final product or delivery of service to the end customer. It also deals with forging integration between the phases to enable an integrated whole and a chance to minimize the expenses and delays as well as improving the customer activity. The third is concerned with the coordination of activities between organizations, for instance, tier 1 and tier 2 vendors, and phases in the supply chain. The final stage in the synchronization the management and implementation of operations across the supply chain (Akdogan & Demirtas, 2014, p. 1021).
There are manifold advantages of setting up an effective supply chain management, such as minimized costs, increased market availability and selling, and strong client linkages (Ferguson, 2000, p. 64). It is still a contentious issue if the organizations achieve the full benefits of the supply chain. A global research on the contemporary manufacturing activities showed modest uptake and perceived efficiency of supply chain and logistics (Clegg, et al., 2002, p. 187). Therefore, these realizations depict a very crucial element of logistics performance determination; the kind of metrics that the company uses to determine the efficiency of their supply chain and the possible challenges in determining the supply chain efficiency.
The early 1980s saw the birth of the supply chain concept in the manufacturing sector. It was an advancement of an idea such as total quality control and just in time. Supply chain management is viewed as an example of evolutionary and integrated development, which is usually described as a result of internal operations aimed at making the overall effectiveness better (Gunasekaran, et al., 2006, p. 37). The aim is not only focusing on the increasing the internal organizational efficiency, but it now broadened to minimizing waste and value addition across the entire chain of supply. There are two sources of influence as to why organizations adopt the SCM: external factors and the possible benefits from strategically aligning to the SCM (Basu, 2001, p. 10).
External forces include factors such as technological developments, and heightened consumer demand and value in the international environment, preserving the minimal costs while meeting these different requirements, and healthy competition using networks among the upstream organizations (Basu, 2001, p. 10). Others are increased competitiveness intensity, tighter network relationships, continuous merger operations, and the requirement for improved information flow. These factors have started changing the focus of individual companies competing for market dominance and strength to supply chains competing against each other in different organizations. The second primary driving force to SCM involves the potential benefits of integrating the supply chain. These comprise differentiated products and services, faster research and growth stages, superior service value, competitive pricing, reduced order processing time, tailored customer feedback, improved delivery operations, better asset management, and dominating the entire supply chain (Basu, 2001, p. 10).
There is always a need of having the right performance determinants in the logistics management. For instance, several studies describe the benefits of measuring the performance of the integrated supply chain. Chan & Qi (2003, p. 179) highlighted six primary activities such as supplier, inbound supply chain, production, outbound supply chain, promotion and selling, and end customers. They also stressed the current input, output, and the merged determinants for each of the processes. Again, supporters of the Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) system posit that supply chain efforts should be determined at multiple tiers and given five categories of metrics to the first level of this model. The parameters include dependability, reaction, flexibility, cost and effectiveness factors. This has also been identified with Qatar Airlines, and the internal systems show that the company’s supply chain has been the force behind the company’s outstanding performance and competitiveness in Asia and globally.
The oldest maxim that it is impossible to manage a thing if left unmeasured has played a critical role in motivating the organizations involved with supply chain systems to focus on the measuring their logistics. According to (Chibba, 2007, p. 16), the leading concept of measuring the performance is to identify the key improvement areas in the supply chain. The process of measuring the performance has been described as the method of estimating the proportion of the strength of the quantitative characteristic or relation to a unit of the same feature. The process of performance determination involves comparing how the objects relate, for example, dimensions. For instance, the performance measure for an airways company could be service quality: “were the customers happy for the services delivered onboard?”
Today, organizations attempt to determine performance in many areas of their engagements. Performance measurement areas are the overall customer experience effort where the quality of the product and delivery time is a significant consideration (Chen, et al., 2004, p. 503). Operations and production efforts are also measurement areas, and they offer an assessment of how the company is utilizing its resources to satisfy the customer needs. Performance measurement is also conducted for employees, which help in determining the productivity of the organizations and identifying the areas which require improvement. Companies also conduct financial performance measures by using the financial records, to evaluate its financial position and comparing itself with its rivals in the sector. Performance measurement helps the organizations to benchmark to understand ways of making things better (Christopher & Towill, 2001, p. 237).
Nevertheless, to establish an effective measurement system, a company requires an understanding of its internal operations as well as the interactions between customers and the suppliers. The organization has to determine what performance metric to use to gain this knowledge. As Robson (2004, p. 512) postulated, it is hard to justify the additional cost of executing a measurement method if the company does not understand the specific conditions under which the measurement metric ca or cannot improve the efficiency. According to (Lambert & Pohlen (2001, p. 2), most of the performance measures understood to be logistics measures just focus on the internal operations without necessarily capturing how the company derives profitability from the network. The metrics of supply chain performance is made up of parameters that can entirely explain the logistics and production effort of the whole system, as viewed by the end consumers, as well as every party in the order, as seen by the downstream members of the chain. However, there is some supply chain effort dimensions that can be evaluated such as quality, delivery, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.
Qatar Airways Ltd is an aviation company owned by the state flag bearer of Qatar. Its headquarters are at Doha (Qatar Airways Website, 2011) and it operates hub-and-spoke supply chain, linking more than 150 termini in Africa, Europe, America, Middle East, and Oceania, among others, from Hamad International Airport. The company prides itself on a fleet of over 180 aircraft. Qatar Airways has over forty thousand employees, where almost twenty-four thousand workers directly for the Qatar Airways. In 2013, the company became an affiliate of Oneworld alliance; becoming the first carrier in Gulf to sign with one of the three carrier networks. The company was established in 1993, and it started operating in 1994, and as at 2017, it is owned by the Qatari government. Its control by the government began in 2013, after the 50% buyout from the previous foreign cabinet member and other stakeholders (Menon, 2014, p. 1). Qatar Airways is made up of Qatar Aircraft Catering Company, Doha International Airport, United Media International, Qatar Duty-Free, Qatar Holidays, Qatar Distribution Company, Aviation Operations, and Qatar Executive. Qatar Airways operates within the upstream of the service sector (Qatar Airways Website, 2017). The primary operations include the air transportation of passengers and cargo around the world.
The company has experienced a myriad of challenges since its founding, mainly from the competition from the global air transport from the companies such as Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Emirates, and Air India, among other airlines, operating either from the region or other parts of the world (MbaSchool.com, n.d, n.p). Other imminent challenges that the company faces include the increase in fuel prices, which drove the company to use the gas to liquid technology in fueling its jets. The issue of high fuel costs in the airline sectors has been a plague for many businesses. In 2014, the International Air Transport Association had projected that more than two hundred billion dollars would be spent in the fueling of the jets, which made thirty percent of the running expenses (Alagos, 2014, p. 1). Events following the cutting of diplomatic ties with other Gulf nations in June 2017, which is set to put the company at financial and operational headwinds (Kane, 2017, p. 1). Other challenges include the past accidents of the firm which have affected the brand in many times, and very little Domestic Traffic and limited market presence expansion of Qatar Airways. The company is also likely to face unfavorable operating scenarios due to government legislation.
However, in spite of the challenges that the company faces, it continues to operate from its base usually, with most of the flights operating according to the timetable. The company continues to grow its network and strengthening its supply chain around the world. Qatar Airways has established its philosophy of operations “Going Places Together” (News, 2015, n.p) which implies that its strength depends on the supply chain and logistics. The slogan has evolved over the years; the first was “taking you personally” and then “World’s 5-star airline” (Qatar Airways, 2012, n.p). These slogans are not just marketing lines, but they reflect the quality of life as an employee and a customer in the Qatar Airways. The company continues to add in its fleet of airlines and create new networks considering the restrictions of entering such airspaces such as those of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other Middle East neighbors. Therefore, this implies that Qatar Airways should strategize and use new mechanisms to retain their global airline influence and competitiveness. The company has however enacted measures o ensure that it remains relevant. Some of these operations include launching of direct flights to Dublin, in Ireland and putting in place support of the customers affected by the current diplomatic crises and ensuring that they continue to deliver world-class service (Press Releases, 2017).
Other activities that are ensuring that the company remains competitive is a brand improvement and fleet variety, in-flight service quality improvement, as well as investment in the modern technologies, to support the existing systems. One other way of making sure that the company succeeds in minimizing costs will be the employment of a proper supply chain management system, and to establish measures to ensure that the same is evaluated on a constant basis (Kouremaa, et al., 2005).
Qatar Airways has a division of Procurement and Supply Chain within its finance department whose responsibilities is to efficiently coordinate the supply chain and ensuring that there are no operational disturbances (Qatar Airlines Website, 2016). It is also the role of the head of this department to reduce the operational cost by ensuring swiftness in the supply chain. The procurement and supply chain coordinator should ensure that all Supply Chain Management Systems are up to date. The SCM systems already in the company include Inventory Management System (IMS), Halo Asset Tracking System (HATS), and Facilities Management System (FMS).
The department is also charged with the obligation of making item codes in the database system and ensuring adherence to the QR guidelines in inserting the codes in the database (Qatar Airlines Website, 2016). The department works closely with the Procurement Department to raise the Purchase Enquiry appeals for starting the RFQ procedure. The coordinator should the follow up with the supplier delivery timetables and ensuring that the process is complete with the Purchase Enquiry to Purchase Receipt. Some of the activities include Purchase Order, receipt of the products, and recording of the unique identification code and mapping the unique identifiers in the Halo Asset Tracking System. To ensure efficiency and accuracy, the coordinator should also all details are stated on the purchase requests as initially asked and compare with the list on the purchase orders and distributing the purchase orders to respective parties. Other relevant supply chain management activities in the company include planning, storage, forecasting, customer service management and material logistics (Akdogan & Demirtas, 2014, p. 1020). To ensure the efficacy of the operations, the supply chain department has invested in performance evaluation for all supply chain operations.
Upstream and downstream relationships often define the supply chain of a company. According to Chibba (2007, p. 5)supply chain management is described as the management of the upstream and downstream networks of supplier and customer with a purpose of delivering high-quality customer service at a reduced cost to the supply network at large. The upstream SC include the suppliers and vendors and internal functions while the downstream comprises of the customers, and in the case of Qatar Airways, the plane passengers and cargo. The supply chain management is also concerned with the control of financial and physical material flow. From this, it is notable that proper integration of the economic, physical, and information resources gives the company the desired efficacy.
Supply Chain Management has rapidly advanced over the recent past, owing to globalization and the development of information technology (Ballou, 2016, p. 3). The primary goal of an enterprise in a computing environment has always been reducing the operational costs while increasing profitability. Currently, it is the supply chains of the companies that compete against each other, and not just organizations against each other. all the actors in the supply chain management, both in the upstream and downstream, are parties who affect the output, that is, the quality, overhead, and delivery. The primary competitive metric in most organizations is the measure of the end users’ satisfaction since they pay for the operating and productions costs (Voss, 2002, p. 71). Therefore, for a company to know that its supply chain is efficient, it must measure it against the long-lasting strategic alliance and vendor-client relationship, cross-organizational logistics planning, corporate planning and stock management, and information dissemination.
It is a requirement for all businesses, either large or small to maintain efficient supply chains, as using them for their competitive advantage. For an airline company, like Qatar Airways, the company should determine the best practices, and identify which one is most applicable to their environment. The supply chain management encapsulates four significant areas, and none should be considered more favorably than the other. They are the plan, source, make and deliver (Cornerstone, 2017, p. 1).
Planning comprises of activities such as demand forecasting, inventory control and pricing strategy (Cornerstone, 2017, p. 1). Prediction gives the basis for the supply chain and requires all the organizational units to have clearly-set objectives, based on the historical information as well as the current state of affairs, including supply and demand. The company should have a forecasting method that reduces the extent of errors, and this implies that the supply chain integrates all the departments to use the previous information in obtaining an accurate number. For instance, Qatar Airways could use historical data from its procurement department, sales department, finance unit and use the data to predict how the demand and supply trends in the next one year. Collaboration is another aspect of the planning in supply chain management that plays a critical role in ensuring that the information is shared accurately and timely. Without people, an organization is not, and therefore, there should be an open and often communication mechanism to encourage teamwork environment.
Measuring is also crucial in telling how the supply chain is working for the organization. The company should employ the use of Key Performance Indicators (KPI); and for the Qatar Airways, the most recommended KPIs would be customer return rate, inventory carrying overheads, and employee communication. Working with standard indicators can be helpful, and companies have adopted the use of Supply Chain Operations Reference model (SCOR) to get an industry-specific logistics analysis. The industry-specific KPIs provides a guideline for measuring the metrics, which will consequently show the improvement areas, including protecting the environment (Ntabe, et al., 2015, p. 310).
To ensure efficacy in the supply chain, the logistics operations should be transparent and flexible; which results in viable performance of the supply chain (Cornerstone, 2017, p. 2). Flexible logistics operations imply the ability to reconfigure activities according to the current customer demands. The company should work within the pre-set operations frameworks, but it should be ready to change to accommodate the changing requirements of the customers. Inventory availability is the priority of the companies, to ensure that there is always an available fleet for customers to book. The Airline Company should also consider Value-Added Services that provide customized and differentiated services to increase customer satisfaction.
Technology has been a backbone of the modern-day business. Technologies to automate warehouse services and ultimately ensure that customers get what they want (Kouremaa et al., 2005). Automated speeds up the operations thus saving money and time. For instance, the Qatar Airways implementing the Warehouse Management System enables it to know precisely when the snacks are almost over, and if there is a need to purchase another jet. Technology in the making process can be used to ensure that tickets are available online. The online system should indicate when the planes are available and offer flexible ways to book and pay for the tickets.
External Collaboration is a practice that involves partnerships with stakeholders, suppliers and most importantly, the customer (Chen, et al., 2004, p. 205). It is important to always communicate with the customer, to remain updated with the customer needs and wants. An organization that keeps contact with the supplier is likely to get their orders processed on time and fill the customer orders as it happens. Technology can be used in creating Virtual Supply Chain, to be used in capturing customer demand and thereby increasing transparency of the whole supply chain.
Reverse Logistics is also an emerging supply chain management practice that ensures that the products are optimally utilized. It is also referred to as Return Processing and is useful in measuring the cycle-time performance metrics (A., et al., 2016, n.p). Particularly for Qatar Airways, the company can improve its performance if it utilized the recycling and reuse of its products. The organization could also accommodate for flight cancellations and postponements to ensure customer convenience. However, to ensure that the process is successful, the company should lay down the clear and concise method of reverse logistics.
The practices mentioned above cut across most industries, including the airline industries. However, considering the current situation at Qatar Airlines and struggles, this paper recommends the following.
- Collaboration; this could be both in external and internal levels. Information-sharing is critical, and for an organization that wants to remain competitive, then it must ensure that information received by the different parties in the supply chain is timely and accurate (Cornerstone, 2017, p. 2). For instance, the company should work closely with the customers who have been affected by the diplomatic issues between Qatari state and its Middle East neighbors. It is clear that the removal of the routes has influenced the many customers in those countries or who were using the Qatar Airlines to such states.
- Technology; In the contemporary business, technology is the primary enabler in the supply chains and logistics operations (Engel, 2011, n.p). Qatar Airways should ensure that its technology is up-to-date to support the Purchase Enquiry, Purchase Order, and Purchase Receipt. The supply chain systems used should also be continuously checked and maintained to ensure that they are operating efficiently and effectively. Technology is also useful for the customers to book the tickets and give their feedback. The company’s website should always be operational, and if it has to be closed, the customers should be informed of the same. The company’s technology could also facilitate marketing practices; through social media, digital posters, and ads, among others.
- Flexible logistics operations, and particularly value-addition and differentiation. This is to ensure that diverse customer base gets various needs met in different ways. The company should avail a variety of fleet planes used for passengers and cargo according to the customer demands. There should also be a way of allows the customers to track their flight time and exchange flights if need be.
While the above-mentioned recommended practices are crucial for the organization success, Qatar Airlines ensure that its staff is appropriately aligned and conversant with the supply chain activities in a manner that will maximize its efficiency and lead to commensurate benefits to the organization (Engel, 2011, n.p). Furthermore, above collaboration, the company, which has already made alliances, Qatar Airlines should ensure that it creates long-term partnerships with its suppliers. It should initiate relationships with its suppliers and provide a two-way communication to ensure fruitful exchange and information.
Overall, supply chain management is an integral part of the modern-day business environment, and the organizations are striving to create a competitive supply chain and logistics operations. Qatar Airlines is an already established organization with adequately defined supply chain operations. This paper has explored the theoretical basis of supply chain management about Qatar Airlines, describing the various stakeholders both in the upstream and downstream. As illustrated, the core purpose of maintaining a competitive supply chain management is to improve the customer satisfaction. This paper has further explored the best supply chain practices and narrowed them down to the level of relevance to Qatar Airways. Therefore, with the implementation of the efficient supply chain management system