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Quality performance in a global supply chain: finding out the weak link

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Much has been written on the intensive interconnection between supply chain management (SCM) and quality management (QM) with a particular focus on the systems-based view as the common thread between these two operation management topics. Absent in this debate has been any examination of the dynamics of SCM and QM practices and the resultant implications for the end customer in terms of product/service quality at a global level. In consequence, the nature and extent of their interconnection or interlinking and the resultant implications for the product/service quality has remained tangential. Using a qualitative study of two very large branded athletic and casual sports apparel and footwear manufacturers based in Asia with world-wide suppliers and distribution centres, this study aims to broaden the debate by arguing that partnering with suppliers of high QM capabilities in chains of relationships does not necessarily result in downstream benefits to both the manufacturer and end customers. We argue that both SCM and QM practices must advance from traditional firm-driven, fire fighting and product-focused mindsets to a more collaborative mode of inter-firm relations in that a much greater level of co-operation among both upstream and downstream chains is regarded as a key to competitive advantage.
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Keywords: Asia; case study; quality management; supply chain management; supply chain quality management

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Kent Business School, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, UK 2: Department of Management, New Mexico State University, USA

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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