A framework for best practice supply chain management in the chemical manufacturing industry
Du Plessis, Werner Rudolph
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Supply chain management is dynamic, complex and require specialised skills from a wide spectrum of disciplines. The complexity is exacerbated in the context of the chemical manufacturing industry under normal operating conditions. The chemical industry and as a matter of fact all industries across the globe are gearing its readiness to peruse opportunities and protect itself from threats brought about by the impending 4th industrial revolution or otherwise known as the digital age. The pressures brought about by the changing business and competitive landscape within the chemical manufacturing industry give rise to the need to conduct targeted research into the principles that will underpin strategic decisions for supply chains entering the new digital frontier of business management. The first section of this report focused on providing context on the purpose of conducting this study by means of a scientifically generated problem statement. A number of research objectives was developed to guide the various processes applied during the research process. The primary objective of this study was to develop a best practice framework form supply chain management in the chemical manufacturing industry. A comprehensive literature review was conducted, providing an overview of the South African chemical manufacturing industry. This was followed through an in-depth review of supply chain management concepts, challenges and best practices. The third section of the report focused on providing a research design for the execution of empirical research. The qualitative research methodology was applied through the collection of data by means of semi-structured interviews. A total of 22 interviews was conducted with participants who possessed the required skills and experience to participate in this study. The interview data was transcribed and analysed on ATLAS.ti, applying the constructivists grounded theory methodology. During the analysis phase of the empirical data collected, 1 006 open codes was categorised into 60 axial codes, resulting in the generation of five themes of data findings. The findings generated through the data analysis processes was recorded in the report, linked to the five main themes generated. The themes was primarily directed by the questions posed to participants during the interview process. A combination of researcher reflexivity and participant direct quotations was integrated to provide holistic findings generated through primary and secondary data collected. Finally, a synthesis of the literature review and empirical study revealed research conclusions. The conclusion generated established a sound scientific foundation from which recommendations could be developed in response to the problem statement generated. The report was concluded through an assessment of the primary and secondary research objectives to identify whether the aim of the study was successfully achieved.