• E-business strategy development: an FMCG sector case study.

      Webster, Margaret; Fouweather, Ian; Beach, Roger (2006)
      Purpose ¿ This paper sets out to discuss the development of an e-business strategy by a UK soft drinks company. It is based within the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector (also known as Consumer Packaged Goods), which is characterised by powerful retailers, tier-1 suppliers of industrial end-products and ingredient/raw material producers further upstream. The paper aims to examine the tensions created at tier-1 level relating to the adoption of e-business solutions for B2B activities. Design/methodology/approach ¿ The paper draws on the literature to describe the technological options for achieving e-commerce, focusing particularly on Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and internet-mediated e-commerce. It then explores the current uptake of e-commerce, and the drivers and barriers that relate to its adoption. The theoretical issues identified are explored empirically using data gathered from a case study of Princes Soft Drinks. A detailed survey of organisations within its supply base was conducted in order to inform the development of its future e-business strategy. Findings ¿ The results of the survey indicate a lack of enthusiasm among Princes' supply chain members for the adoption of e-commerce generally and for internet-mediated e-commerce solutions in particular. Research limitations/implications ¿ The empirical survey is limited to the UK soft drinks sector and allows for the development of descriptive findings. These findings, discussed within the theoretical context of the paper, have potentially wider implications for the FMCG sector as a whole. Practical implications ¿ The work has significant implications for the development of Princes' e-business strategy, and ¿ by extrapolation ¿ for other companies operating in similar commercial environments. Originality/value ¿ The paper reports original empirical research in the commercially important FMCG sector. Its value stems in part from the examination of the supply chain tensions created at tier-1¿ between powerful e-committed retailers and e-reluctant industrial suppliers.
    • An evaluation of partnership development in the construction industry.

      Beach, Roger; Campbell, K.M.; Webster, Margaret (2009-09-09)
      Improving the effectiveness of projects, particularly in construction, is of interest and concern to practitioners and academics alike. To this end, the use of partnering, now commonplace in a variety of industry sectors has been encouraged in the UK construction industry. However, in many respects project environments represent the antithesis of current thinking in partnership development and an unusual and difficult application, particularly at the lower levels in the supply chain. This paper, therefore, is concerned with evaluating the progress the UK construction industry has made in its adoption of partnering, how it is likely to develop in the future and what the implications might be for the industry¿s suppliers. The partnering experiences of Main Contractors with Main Subcontractors for structural steel products are examined and a conceptual framework of the success factors presented and discussed. Critically, clients and not suppliers were found to be major barriers to the industry¿s adoption of partnering.
    • A process for developing partnerships with subcontractors in the construction industry: an empirical study.

      Beach, Roger; Errasti, E.; Oyarbide, A.; Santos, J. (2007)
      In the construction industry, subcontractors are subject to tremendous pressures in terms of quality, service and cost. Subcontractors have responded to these challenges in a number of ways, foremost amongst these has been by working more closely with their suppliers. Originality/value: Although many issues that should be considered in the partnership development process have been identified in the extant literature, the researchers have found that they have not been fully transferred to subcontractors in the construction industry. Purpose: This paper explores the implementation of the partnership development process and evaluates the utility of a methodology/guide that can be used by practitioners and consultants in the construction industry to facilitate the development of effective partnerships. The researchers have been involved in the partnership development process with two subcontractors in the construction industry. Findings/practical implications: The effectiveness of using the proposed methodology/guide to improve the partnership development process and thence to gain competitiveness is demonstrated.
    • Reverse e-auctions revolutionising the packaging industry in the UK

      Tassabehji, Rana; Wood, Alastair S.; Beach, Roger; Taylor, W. Andrew (2006)
      Reverse e-auctions are increasingly being used in business-to-business procurement and have been reported to yield significant price reductions for buyer firms. However, the adoption of online auction formats has raised many concerns among suppliers, often being criticized for damaging supplier-buyer relationships and for being antithetical to what is currently regarded as good supply chain management. Against this background this paper aims to examine the reverse auction phenomenon in the UK packaging sector. Data were collected from the direct experiences of one large food-packaging supplier, using case studies of reverse e-auctions, and from exploratory interviews with other suppliers in the sector. While buyers are reaping significant short-term price reductions, the benefits to suppliers are less obvious. In fact, little reference was detected to the often-quoted reductions in overall transaction costs for either buyers or suppliers. However, most respondents were not able to specify their transaction costs and associated risks and did not appear to have adequate costing systems to enable such quantification.
    • The role of qualitative methods in production management research.

      Beach, Roger; Muhlemann, Alan P.; Price, D.H.R.; Paterson, A.; Sharp, J.A. (2001)
      This paper examines previous approaches to the identification and measurement of strategic flexibility and concludes that the use of quantitative methods alone cannot capture the essence of such a complex and intangible subject. It is reasoned that a holistic approach to research design should be adopted when carrying out particular categories of production management research. A research design used to investigate the concept of strategic flexibility in manufacturing industry is briefly outlined as an illustration. The role of the case study within this and the contribution it was able to make to the investigation is described.