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Logistics Management Assignment: Supply Chain Management & Its Association With Dell


Write a logistics management assignment illustrating the factors of supply chain management and its association with the strategic objectives of the company.


Executive Summary
The following study prepared in this logistics management assignment has developed a comprehensive insight into the application of profound supply chain management and logistics. The report has initiated by introducing the subject and the concerned business Dell Technologies on which the study has been developed. First, the study has shed light into understanding the factors of supply chain management and its association with the strategic objectives of the company. Flowingly, the contribution of information technology has been evaluated, and it strengthens the partnership within the organisation is assessed. The functions of information technology that helps manages the supply chain is also clarified. Furthermore, a comprehensive evaluation of supply chain intricacies related to procurement and logistics are explored in the report as well. Lastly, an effective strategy and evaluation of factors are represented in the study that will contribute to the development of the supply chain of Dell.

Management of the supply chain works at three levels such as strategic, logistical and organisational. At the strategic stage, management makes important supply chain decisions of high degree which are applicable to entire businesses. The actions taken in conjunction with the supply chain would represent the company's overall approach. Management’s systematic supply chain systems should span the scope of the supply chain. It covers product development, consumers, distribution, logistics and procurement. The following study chose Dell’s contextual scenario an American information technology corporation, which develops, markets, restores and maintains computers and related services (Hugos, 2018). The company is popular for its developments in supply chain management and digital retail, especially its direct-sales system and production system for "build-to-order" providing personalised computers. The study would emphasise and describe the measures it has taken to achieve its corporate priorities and competencies in the supply chain management process (Christopher, 2016). With this evaluation, a comprehensive strategy for improving the supply chain management will also be presented by the study to propose a profound improvement on the organisational performance and operations.

1. Understand the connection between supply chain management and strategic objectives within the company
1.1 Explain how important successful supply chain management is in reaching organisational goals

As stated by Dubey et al. (2017), the primary concept for supply chain management is the administration of an integrated network of firms participating in the final procurement by end-customers of the products and services packages. In essence, this process facilitates the transfer via multiple stages of products from the customer order. These stages range from the raw material supply, manufacturing and finally the delivery of goods to customers.

Organisational priorities are usually expressed via a Company Mission Statement as their primary purpose is to optimise output across the entire organisation by harmonising objectives and sub-goals. Introducing emerging technology, including modernisation, has rendered supply chain management a tool for gaining market advantage both at the national and global stage. Currently, the market climate has become much more dynamic than ever before (Kusi-Sarpong, Gupta and Sarkis, 2019). Organisations must now define their key capabilities which differentiate themselves from their rivals. Companies are, therefore forced to acknowledge their approach as well as concentrate on their key skills to effectively achieve the company's operational priorities.

It is imperative to state that supply chain management helps organisations, via their supply chain systems, to re-evaluate their complete efficiency, which adapts them to their essential capacities. A professional supply chain management framework can offer major changes and strategic advantage to market positioning (Pradabwong et al., 2017). In comparison, supply chain management often offers a competitive advantage where companies can sell highly advantageous goods at a cheap and affordable price proposition.

It should be remembered that Dell must concentrate on how it should function in terms of supply chain management when assessing Dell's corporate strategy at a macro level. The strategies indicate what must be included in the supply chain and how the company operates specifically, which will help to accomplish its goals and organisational processes. Therefore, it can be stated that there is a clear relationship between supply chain management and organisational goals.

1.2 Explain the connection among supply chain management and business operations within an enterprise
Supply chain management seems to be the vibrant management of supply chain operations with the goal of improving customer loyalty while gaining a lasting competitive advantage. Physical flows, as well as information flows, co-exist across the supply chain. Information flows allow diverse partners throughout the supply chain to accomplish their long-term plans (Saberi et al., 2019). Depending on the relation between the management of the supply chain and even the business activities of an organisation, one may assume that Dell has certain functions relating to the management of the supply chain and these are:

Identification of Customer Values: The organisation has been using customer awareness to establish customer-oriented vision with the aid of transactions, outcomes of surveys, market intelligence data, including product sales. Via efficient supply chain management imprints, Dell employs techniques to evaluate the views of the consumer.

Recognising Organisational Strengths: The effectiveness of Dell can be measured with the aid of efficient supply chain management. Dell can also define the precise range of features that are desirable to the consumer and can increase its intensity according to its current line of products.

Understanding External Environment: With the aid of a supply chain, the management of Dell can better understand the external market environment. Depending on the external market factors, such as political action, economic circumstances, competitive forces, technological changes and cultural and social trends, the company may change its business outlook in connection with the external business environment.

1.3 Discuss the main drivers of an organisation's integrated supply chain approach
For businesses becoming more competitive and winning market share in their supply chain, investment and activity in this field are booming exponentially. The capacity and process upgrading of companies obviously illustrate that the quality of the supply chain is much more commonly described as a contingent of the corporate strategy in general (Dubey et al., 2017). It is important, though some fundamental questions, to examine how the business sees its supply chain. The questions are:

Is leadership a strategic competitive advantage for the supply chain? If not, can one assume that the supply chain is outsourced?

Will the business leaders know and appreciate the capability strengths of an organisations supply chain? If so, how do production, productivity and customer service affect them?

A company such as Dell, therefore, must define the main drivers for the organisation's integrated management of the supply chain. There are a few determinants that help the business accomplish an interconnected supply chain. Those are:

Client Service Management Process: The cycle of customer service management involves the business and its clients since the source of customer details is customer service (Lambert and Enz, 2017). Client service management enables clients with details on the implementation, including the functionality of goods throughout interfaces with production and distribution processes of the company in real-time.

Procurement Process: Strategic approaches are built along with suppliers to sustain the established manufacturing process, including new product development. The source must operate geographically in an enterprise where processes extend globally (Busse, Meinlschmidt and Foerstl, 2017). The desired outcome would be a mutually beneficial relationship where both entities prosper from one another, and a reduction in time needed for the design and product sequence can be accomplished.

2. Using Information technology to strengthen supplier partnerships within an organisation
2.1 Evaluate the efficiency of an organisation's approaches for managing supplier relations

Efficient supplier management is indeed an effective way to boost the efficiency of manufacturing firms. There are several important issues in the management of suppliers; these include procurement methods, how ties are handled as well as the understanding of the manufacturers' knowledge sharing policies (Nguyen, Lau and Chan, 2017). In contrast to conventional price-driven transactional relationships, it was specifically addressed that close ties with suppliers must be urbanised to achieve a competitive edge in current supplier relationship activities. There are several kinds of research based on this aspect showed that large sections of the businesses surveyed had undergone changes in their relationship with suppliers in recent years. While urban collaborations between companies and a supplier were established, the majority of companies favoured a multi-sourcing approach. The findings of the research affect manufacturing firms as they demonstrate that the superior acceptability of recommended practice throughout the field of supply chain management has the potential to grow side-by-side.

2.2 Using IT to develop strategies to improve the partnership between an enterprise and its suppliers
The expense of research as well as other collaboration in the new age of globalisation has decreased, and in that regard, some studies forecast that the current market customers will be optimised by companies to stay profitable (Kim, 2017). Due to the decreased cost of IT, the current suppliers used show no signs of improvement. This makes it extensive that other influences must be used to reproduce buyer relationships in a more comprehensive manner. Therefore, several innovations are used by the company to establish partnerships with its suppliers throughout the new world of competition. The most prominent among them are:

  • Analysis of real-time details about industry dynamics in purchases and demands.
  • Forecasting and reacting quickly to customer demand shifts
  • Working to develop productivity with respect to appropriate supply knowledge

Electronic-collaboration with suppliers such as using email and distributing spreadsheets can indeed be easy, but the most efficient approach to real-time exchange of information demands more advanced technology (Mishra et al., 2018). Some of them are:

Forecasting structures or inventory planning, which would be a tool of using inventory accounts from an organisation to anticipate the market potential for its available product.

Online analytical systems which are a set of programs that analyses the sales performance of the past as well as analyses the predictions from different suppliers.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems which plan the entire business activities of an organisation and can be customised to suit the business needs. Transactions can be made and followed up periodically through the ERP by comparing their order and purchasing system to those of their suppliers, and the supplier can issue an invoice.

2.3 Build mechanisms to maintain a relationship between a company and its suppliers
Maintaining the relationship with the suppliers is very critical for organisation's sustainability. Management needs to learn to maintain the relationship for its own advantage, rather than just plainly scrutinising recent developments. This requires a complete change of view, from purchasing to supply management (Mishra et al., 2018). The following are some of the most influential ways for companies to establish partnerships with suppliers:

  1. The organisation around the world are making the recognition that the way their supplier works provides them with an improved sense of how their company might profit.
  2. Organisations around the world use the strategy to create a partnership with its suppliers to inquire about their growth or future development plans. In this context, one of the most influential questions is that; does this affect the products or services the organisation receives from them?
  3. Modern organisations support their suppliers via putting demands in excellent time, keeping the requirements transparent as well as billing on time.
  4. Most companies find their business relevant to their suppliers with a commitment towards making it easier for them to work with (Singh and Teng, 2016). Due to this reason, various suppliers give superior incentives if the organisation agrees to use them exclusively.
  5. Risk assessments are one of the most critical metrics for an organisation, especially where a dynamic supply chain is involved, to always assess the risks associated with coping with a supplier (Nguyen, Lau and Chan, 2017) if there are roadblocks in business, a vendors' risk profile assessment in combination with a reasonable supplier arrangement agreement and be prepared to cope with any crises in collaboration with suppliers, which can eliminate business breakdowns.

3. Understand the function of IT in controlling the supply chain
3.1 Assess how IT can better incorporate the various parts of an organisation's supply chain

The evolving dimension of Information Technology (IT) will facilitate throughout the convergence of the various aspects of the supply chain management in the enterprise. Throughout the organisational structure of Dell, several facets of IT help in the alignment of the various areas of the supply chain. There are various interconnected approaches which are discussed below about the supply chain management in Dell.

Network Allocation Strategies: Various challenges such as storage, location as well as availability and the likes are attributed to network allocation strategies. The network allocation strategy ensures that perhaps the communication is circulating between both the administration and the supply chain members, i.e. distributor and retailer. It aims to reduce the net cost of ownership, including logistics related expenses. The network allocation approaches are especially relevant to the supply chain risk mitigation and the business keeping costs down (Lambert and Enz, 2017).

Production Origins Approach: The convergence of transportation, including manufacturing costs, are the main parameters in this approach. This has also been attributed to the effect of high volume manufacturing to minimise the fixed costs of production (Nguyen, Lau and Chan, 2017). The manufacturing, however, of high quantities will lead to higher transportation costs, as well as the logistics costs, while production in smaller quantities are linked to the high fixed costs.

Data Conducts Approach: This approach connects with the judgments surrounding the material management system of the enterprise (Mishra et al., 2018). This approach is directly linked to inventory planning policy, which requires economic order volume to reduce the carrying and purchasing expenses. This also specifies the volume to be installed and stored. This approach can be extended to prevent over-storage and under-storage.

Profit Managing Strategy: The price flexibility of competition is determined by the company in the profit management strategy in order to increase sales revenues. Throughout this strategy, the variable and operating costs of the supply chain inventory are taken into account in terms of expense analysis and future usability criteria.

Innovation and Decision Support System: This system articulates the fact that innovation deals with each and every aspect of the company whether it is connected to the manufacturing, development, sales and so on (Kim, 2017). Within the organisational context, it can be assumed that this system acts as a decision support network of the organisation, relative to suppliers on the global footprint based on varied parameters.

3.2 Assess how IT has made a significant contribution to the operation of an organisation's supply chain
The process of resources and data among supply chain representatives of companies is regarded as the management of the supply chain. Information technology helps a great deal in allowing very simple use of knowledge in corporate premises. In the earlier days before 1980, the flow of information between the two organisations has been fully documented. The paper-based information exchange process is very sluggish (Mangan and Lalwani, 2016). Yet computer technology has evolved after some time and provides a convenient way to share data between both the business and the supply chain representatives. The usage of IT, networking systems services, and other equipment and facilities were implemented through the introduction of IT. Thus, IT plays a crucial role in strategic planning by making the availability of information. Thereby, the application of information technology helps in numerous areas such as:

  1. Rapid acquirement of information.
  2. Better customer service due to an improved communication system.
  3. Minimisation of paper records.
  4. Increasing productivity.
  5. Acquirement of cost-efficiency.
  6. Improvement in expediting and tracing
  7. Development in competitive advantage
  8. Improvement in the billing system.

It can also be readily understood that Dell means the organisational role of IT in supply chain management. The above points even involve dell and the operation of the supply chain. The dell earned the most benefits from the usage of IT in their supply chains management including the quick flow of knowledge, better customer support, reduction in paperwork, increase of tendency, cost performance, competitive edge etc. (Alexander, 2018). Therefore, it may be assumed that IT has made a significant contribution to the operation of Dell's supply chain.

3.3 Assess the efficient control of the supply chain of an enterprise through information technology
Owing to information technology, for example, DELL has some tremendous impact on the business because of its efficiency of IT. For the enhancement of client support, DELL has successfully established e-business solutions. Also, DELL's increased productivity helps corporate employees to spend further on risky company practices. DELL promoted the preparatory collaboration and increased the pace of the operation of the supply chain for the business by introducing e-business solutions. The usage of E-business tools also improves DELL's information efficiency. In order to obtain technical advantages, DELL uses IT to incorporate operation re-design (Meredith and Shafer, 2019). The corporation, therefore, found the use of Supply Chain Management and Information Technology to be the most critical part of doing business. The usage of the IT has helped DELL's supply chain management principles to grow.

4. Understand the intricacies of supply chain management for procurement and logistics
4.1 Clarify the function of logistics in the organisation's supply chain management

The companies continue to find that the global supply chains have costly time to handle meaningful goods and services. The two main strategies to tackle company practices are distribution and supply chain management.

The transfer of goods from source to destination is regarded as logistics management in order to satisfy the requirements and desires. The logistics can include items such as fresh produce, equipment, substances, and so on (Kshetri, 2018). Subsequently, abstract items include detailed information, particles, and power. The logistics' shared aim is to reduce costs and time consumption. Logistics may be categorised into four groups, e.g. inventory processing, channel management, supply chain management and distribution.

Inventory Processing: Logistics plays a precise significant role in inventory processing, as it can provide the whole material handling system. With the aid of logistical services, the whole manufacturing cycle may be managed.

Channel Control: Channel control is a tool for transportation of goods and resources from one location to the next. It is popularly used by Dell in product merchandising (Fredendall and Hill, 2016). It is characterised as a method in which the company develops different marketing techniques and selling strategies in order to achieve the maximum client base possible.

Supply Chain Management: Supply chain management enables products and services to circulate and involves all procedures to transform materials into finished products. This requires constantly streamlining the supply side of a company to maximise the value of its consumers and to achieve a competitive advantage on the industry. The supply chain and distribution are the main components of each other (Genovese et al., 2017). For any, if Dell wishes to function properly, logistics planning must be included in supply chain management.

Distribution management: Management of distribution is attributed to the delivery of the organisation's products and services techniques. It can assist in Dell's operations management. It is a process that allows Dell to track the shipment of items from the producer to the consumer (Dubey et al., 2017). This applies to a range of operations and procedures like manufacturing, production, material handling, distribution network and shipping.

4.2 Evaluate organisation procurement practises
Dell's mission is to manufacture and sell electrical goods that please buyers or consumers and to provide high-quality, money-worthy electronic devices. In particular, the turnover of the raw materials in the past decades became more significant for electronic and micro hardware (Xu, 2016). The fundamental problem applies to raw material sourcing. The Dell, therefore, opts for the two kinds of approaches such are as follows:

Pre-competitive Strategy of Dell: Dell chooses to cope with the computer hardware and industrial software sector in pre-competitive approaches. The acquisition of Sustainable Development is linked in this scope (Mangan and Lalwani, 2016). Dell promotes technical growth, ventures and exploratory research in the computing sector.

Competitive Strategy of Dell: The competitive approach deals with encouraging sustainable production on the technology commodity through importing the raw materials. This is achieved with the aid of supplier planning and the piling of qualified suppliers.

These are Dell's two procurement methods through which the business attempts to resolve the challenge of procurement of raw resources (Alexander, 2018). The application of these strategies not only elevates the organisational performance of the company but also supports the sustainable development of the products and services of the company.

4.3 Discuss the variables required for a company to enhance logistics and procurement activities
Performance in procurement and logistics can rely on the perception a company has of the essential value of both functions. Or even their capacity to establish long-term relationships between any of these two extremely essential supply chain components. There are several considerations which need to be addressed to civilise Dell's logistics and procurement activities. The determinants are as follows:

Effective processing of orders: Effective order processing aids quick and efficient progression of a sale (Kshetri, 2018). The key elements are to collect information, convey the data to the appropriate departments and follow up with the consumer to ensure that they are pleased with the outcome

Management of Inventory: Inventory management is the monitoring of assets, inventories and stockpiles that are non-capitalized. It tracks the movement to and from the point of sale of products between producers and storage facilities.

Warehousing: The effect of warehousing eliminates extreme price fluctuations as commodities are held when the output meets the requirement, and when demand is more than just immediate outputs. It guarantees a regular market delivery of goods (Fredendall and Hill, 2016). This balances the supply and demand leads to market stability.

Handling of Material: The management of materials is one means of enhancing logistics and make it easier for the company to receive growth by properly managing the resources.

Sound Packaging: The packaging must be sound to enable efficient procurement and enhancing logistics management. Safety and protection guarantee product consistency.

Information System: In order to achieve logistics productivity and effectiveness, logistics information systems are necessary (Genovese et al., 2017). Within an organisation, the logistic information system aims at offering consumers with knowledge about inventory supply, order condition and customer service delivery schedules.

Transportation: Transportation allows the flow of goods to the consumer from the top of the supply chain. Its application for the supply chain is therefore important. In any supply chain, transportation plays an important role because goods are seldom manufactured and consumed at the same place.

5. Development of a strategy for enhancing the supply chain of an enterprise
5.1 Plan a strategy for strengthening the supply chain of an enterprise

The planned strategy should be set in motion to strengthen the operation of the Dell supply chain. Certain criteria should be included in the strategy, such as:

Minimisation of time: It is necessary to obtain a growing, correct and timely customer order. Design of the time-oriented efficiency measure for the strategic supply chain is important. More velocity, rapid reaction to evolving business conditions and time management will help maintain this pace (Dubey et al., 2017). It is necessary to complete the process in a minimal period because it will help to improve the performance.

Minimisation of cost: Without through sales, Dell can raise earnings. By reducing the production prices, the company can achieve more profit. That may involve the procurement and distribution, transportation and recovery cost itself. By handling every step of the procurement cycle, Dell can hold supply chain costs down.

Elevate value: The proposed approach should generate the value of the production; it can be done by improving implementing effective packaging, making substantial design and simplifying the usability of the manufactured products.

Develop appreciatory quality: In the relationship with vendors and consumers, quality is one of the key factors for businesses (Xu, 2016). The proposed supply chain management strategy must provide the customers with quality service.

Minimisation of truncations: In order to reduce the expense of transaction issuance, the strategy should be devised for its reduction.

5.2 Examine how an improved business performance in an organisation can be notified from an effective supply chain management strategy
There are several factors that state the effects of supply chain management on the company's overall results. Such are as follows:

  1. Information share and circulation among partners.
  2. Reduction within stokes.
  3. Preparation will be developed through discussion rather than segregation.
  4. The cost will be significantly lower.
  5. Customer services will become satisfactory.
  6. Manufacturing will become proficient.
  7. Collaboration and trust between partners will be improved.

5.3 Clarify how obstacles to a supply chain management plan are resolved in an organisation
Supply chain management leads significantly to the elimination of barriers of companies. Many strategies are in effect to resolve barrier control in the enterprise. Some potent factors are as follows:

Increasing connection with customers: By developing the supply chain in the prospect of the customer's satisfaction and concentrating in improving their satisfaction, Dell can gain positive recognition in the market and reduce the obstacles of competition (Murphy and Knemeyer, 2018).

Reduction of complexity: Production interventions are both essential and complicated. But this difficulty was rendered by the supply chain in an easy way (Alexander, 2018). All the production process in the supply chain in Dell will become succinct.

Reduction of cost: Application of supply chain will ease the operation and thereby help in reducing a significant amount of cost for Dell.

Developing forecast accuracy: The supply chain of Dell provides results in three terms such as improvement in the estimation of product reliability, framework as well as specification standard which lead to the precision of forecast (Kshetri, 2018).

It can, therefore, be inferred that Dell would greatly improve competitiveness and consumer satisfaction by the implementation of a proper SCM strategy. It will also play an important role in the performance of Dell. Dell will able to easily distribute goods to end consumers at low cost by running effective supply chains.

Alexander, S., 2018. The effects of organisational decision making on supply chain execution:| ba case study of the NZDF light armoured vehicles supply chain: submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for a Master of Supply Chain Management thesis, Massey University/New Zealand Defence Force. EMBARGOED until 27 June 2020 (Doctoral dissertation, Massey University).

Busse, C., Meinlschmidt, J. and Foerstl, K., 2017. Managing information processing needs in global supply chains: A prerequisite to sustainable supply chain management. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 53(1), pp.87-113.

Christopher, M., 2016. Logistics & supply chain management. Pearson UK.

Dubey, R., Gunasekaran, A., Papadopoulos, T., Childe, S.J., Shibin, K.T. and Wamba, SF, 2017. Sustainable supply chain management: framework and further research directions. Journal of Cleaner Production, 142, pp.1119-1130.

Fredendall, L.D. and Hill, E., 2016. Basics of supply chain management. CRC Press.

Genovese, A., Acquaye, A.A., Figueroa, A. and Koh, S.L., 2017. Sustainable supply chain management and the transition towards a circular economy: Evidence and some applications. Omega, 66, pp.344-357.

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Kim, H.J., 2017. Information technology and firm performance: the role of supply chain integration. Operations management research, 10(1-2), pp.1-9.

Kshetri, N., 2018. 1 Blockchain’s roles in meeting key supply chain management objectives. International Journal of Information Management, 39, pp.80-89.

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Mangan, J. and Lalwani, C., 2016. Global logistics and supply chain management. John Wiley & Sons.

Meredith, J.R. and Shafer, S.M., 2019. Operations and supply chain management for MBAs. Wiley.

Mishra, S.K., Jena, M.C., Pradhan, S. and Sekhar, H., 2018. Integration of Information Technology with Supply Chain Management for a Strategic Change. Logistics management assignment International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology (IRJET), 5(11), pp.1760-1764.

Murphy, P.R. and Knemeyer, A.M., 2018. Contemporary logistics.

Nguyen, M., Lau, C. and Chan, C., 2017. Role of relationship in supply chain collaboration: A conceptual framework. In International Symposium on Logistics (ISL) 2017 Conference (pp. 181-192). Centre for Concurrent Enterprise, Nottingham University Business School.

Pradabwong, J., Braziotis, C., Tannock, JD and Pawar, KS, 2017. Business process management and supply chain collaboration: effects on performance and competitiveness. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal.

Saberi, S., Kouhizadeh, M., Sarkis, J. and Shen, L., 2019. Blockchain technology and its relationships to sustainable supply chain management. International Journal of Production Research, 57(7), pp.2117-2135.

Singh, A. and Teng, J.T., 2016. Enhancing supply chain outcomes through Information Technology and Trust. Computers in human behavior, 54, pp.290-300.

Xu, F., 2016. Research on the Strategic Method of Logistics Supply Chain Management. Management Science and Innovation Volume I, p.270.


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