In recent decades, supply chain sustainability has made massive strides to include almost all areas of business processes. Following the massive transformation in supply-chain and its holistic nature, business leaders reap substantial benefits and profitability beyond attaining targets to give value to the consumers and eliminate waste. While most of the population might think of supply chain as the supply of goods and services to consumers, it is crucial to recognize that it is closely associated with the product life cycle, elements of energy production, procurement of raw materials, information gathering, knowledge development, and ends with the consumer world.
Globally, the success of telecommunication firms in the digital economy requires integration of processes, people, business, and technology within the entity and across the scope. The docket of supply-chain plays an integral role in enhancing inter-enterprise cooperation and collaboration with crucial stakeholders, including consumers, suppliers, and partners. Although supply-chain integration bears several benefits for firms, it presents numerous challenges. Integration forms a vital component of supply-chain management and implementation. The process of integration encompasses applying enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to ensure communication within legacy systems and consumer relationship management. Product life-cycle management and e-procurement, and e-marketplaces together with prompt availability over the network are crucial for fostering cooperation and collaboration across the entire supply chain. The evolving supply-chain network includes a dynamic and integrated system that redefines and connects parts of the entire system to form a unitary one. A fully integrated supply-chain at company level will allow the planners and the managements to make crucial adjustments to the established production programs to enhance on-time delivery, cost-effectiveness, and higher efficiency.
Etisalat (Emirates Telecommunications Corporation) has incorporated supply chain integration to reduce costs and maintain customer service quality. The company is a telecommunications service provider based in the UAE operating in eighteen countries across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.. The business case for supply chain integration and sustainability for Etisalat depends on various issues, including organizational culture, stakeholders’ expectations, business priorities, and prevailing conditions in the UAE region. By adopting the best practices and principle drivers for supply-chain integration, Etisalat can enhance its capacity for risk management, cost efficiency, sustainable production, transparency, and ethical business conduct.
Supply chain management (SCM) encompasses all the actions involved in the production, from access to raw materials to the distribution of finished products to consumers. It demonstrates the commitment of suppliers to design and implement supply chains that are economical and effective.
The Concept of Supply Chain Management
Supply chain management refers to producing and delivering products that meet consumer approval. The interaction between marketing and operations involves marketing efforts that stimulate consumers towards value expectations associated with the product. The supply chain includes the factors that result in attaining the expectations of consumers. The aspect of integration is created by the consumer demands to enhance value, get tailored solutions, and activate a rapid response.
The concept of supply-chain integration is fundamental to the resolution of this study. According to Leuschner et al. (2013, p. 42), Enhancing supply chain capacities contribute significantly to the cost reduction that affects price, influences the speed of production and availability for consumers, and diverts consumer preferences. Besides, it is vital to influence the degree of customization of products, draw information and share it with suppliers and consumers, and negotiate the existing aspects of the relationships with suppliers and stakeholders. Existing evidence suggests that the interface between marketing and supply chain is fundamental for optimizing and delivering value that works to influence higher business performance. Lean enterprise and integrated supply chain can transform business practices in diverse industries, such as communication, healthcare, and transport. The aspect of marketing gathers the value expectations of consumers and actions supply-chain systems to produce and meet consumer expectations. Therefore, optimal benefits emerge from integration when strategies to match supply with demand are actioned.
Fig.1: Impact of Supply-Chain Integration on Business Performance in Terms of Benefits.
The migration from functionalized units has given way for an entirely new way of doing business. According to (Vanpoucke et al., 2016, p. 734), the interface between marketing strategies, supply-chain, and supply-chain systems is not merely a one-dimensional approach for actualizing marketing goals through enhanced services and service quality. It involves migrating with new business models that emerge with integrated supply chain designs. Thus, a firm’s ability to produce goods that meet consumer expectations relies on the quality of supply-chain and other logistics systems.
The emergence of seamless integration of sales, marketing, supply chain, logistics, and customer service portrays enhanced capacity to deliver goods where consumers want them and when they need them. While this capacity has been elusive, it has been fundamental to the success of several firms such as Singapore Airlines, Dell computer, Amazon.com, and FedEx (Venkatesh et al., 2019, p. 109). Besides the development in information, technology, and knowledge on cost economics are proving crucial to the evolution of supply-chain management and optimizing the benefits associated.
The supply chain interface has positive outcomes on organizational performance. (Qrunfleh & Tarafdar, 2015, p. 364) notes that a significant source of a firm’s competitive advantage is the combination of supply-chain advantage and marketing advantage. In the business environment, an integrated supply chain translates to competitive prices and product availability. Besides, it influences a firm’s generic position in the telecommunication industry. Thus, a productive inter-functional relationship between marketing and supply chain translates to enhanced business performance. The development in business performance further manifests in the interaction between production and marketing, which underlines the significance of a close connection between critical units of production and marketing. Enhanced communication between marketing and production has the potential to promote consumer satisfaction and grow profits. However, the lack of communication is likely to spur conflict and adversely affect the organization’s performance. Conflicts between the production and distribution unit limit the integration of goals, thus exposing consumers to poor services. Therefore, organizations that manage successful integration are likely to outclass firms where the tension between units thrives.
The methodology selected for this study is secondary research. It involves analyzing different journal articles and research papers to inform the study. Preference for the journals is accorded depending on the empirical credibility it presents compared to journals that challenge the view that integrated supply chains translate to better business performance.
The sample size includes 11 journal articles, and research papers have been selected for analysis and information on the discussion about the impacts of supply-chain integration on business performance. The study targets articles published between 2011 and 2020. These articles are selected from different journals, including:
1. Procedural manufacturing
2. International journal of production economics
3. International journal of operations and production management
4. International journal of engineering and technology
5. Emerging technologies
6. International journal of logistics systems and management
Analysis and Findings
Impacts of Supply Chain Integration on Business Performance
Kumar et al. (2017) sought to ascertain the impacts of supply chain integration on organizations’ performance. They recognize that supply-chain integration has become an integral part of the business world. The study reveals that integrated supply-chain is fundamental to the growing competition in the dynamic sector. The change brought about by increased competition has caused a shift from more than just strategy formulation and implementation to establishing cooperation with other firms to enhance the competitive advantage in the market place. This study reveals that the rapidly changing business environment characterized by diverse consumer demands requires that competing firms collaborate to respond to diverse consumer demands. Such integration ensures the availability of products matching consumer demands. The dynamic market space and changes in the business environment, such as new entrants, international policy, and globalization have made supply-chain integration and vital component for business development.
Qi, Huo, Wang, and Yeung (2016) investigate the relationship between supply chain strategies, operation strategies, and business performance. This study evaluates 604 Chinese manufacturers to explore the mentioned association. Per the findings, a lean supply-chain is essential for organizations that insist on the cost, quality, and delivery of products for consumers. Moreover, agile supply-chain is crucial for firms competing on flexibility grounds. There is a variation between the roles of operations strategy in supply-chain management, which indicates that appropriate supply-chain design is critical for firms to realize operations objectives.
A study conducted by Jajja, Chatha, and Farooq (2018) presents literature that underlines the agility performance of organizations experiencing supply-chain risks. This research also introduces the need for conducting further research to ascertain the key elements of a supply chain that can enhance agility performance. The study applies the dynamic capabilities concept to explain why risk association motivates firms to integrate the supply-chain for agile performance. A study sample of 770 manufacturing firms provides empirical evidence that risks of supply-chain are positively associated with supplier consumer integration. The research also reveals that suppliers and consumer integration mediate the interaction between internal integration and agility performance. The study emphasizes the need for integrating supply-chain for agility performance.
Yusuf and Shehu (2017) interrogate the impacts of supply chain integration of business performance and efficiency. The study utilizes existing empirical evidence between 2011 and 2015 and reveals that supply chain integration plays a crucial role in influencing organizational performance and efficiency. Besides, it concludes that existing evidence includes a limited scope on manufacturing industries, thus prompting the need for future surveys on service industries.
Kuo and Lii (2016) examine the combined impacts of an innovation-oriented supply-chain integration to produce higher competitiveness and higher firm performance. The study evaluates the role of supply-chain integration and competitive capabilities on business performance. It involves 480 manufacturing companies and concludes that innovation orientation positively influences supply-chain integration, firm performance, and combinative competitive capabilities. The results provide empirical evidence for the importance of innovation orientation in helping firms to integrate their supply-chain to realize the potential of supply-chain management designs. It presents evidence for the interrelatedness of creative innovation, supply-chain integration, and business performance.
The findings of the research indicate that supply-chain integration has become an integral part of business development. Supply chain integration translates to prompt delivery, which results in higher-value production, timely production, and availability when and where needed and that match consumers’ expectations. The adoption of supply-chain integration enhances the deliveries, thus increasing the market share and business performance.
The study results indicate a significant correlation between the integration of supply-chains in producing and delivering value to meet esteemed clients’ expectations. These findings reveal that telecommunication suppliers understand the need for appreciating the adoption of effective and efficient supply-chain integration to address consumer demands when and where they want, a strategy that translates to a more significant market share. Besides, telecommunication services providers comprehend the role of effective and efficient adoption of an integrated supply-chain strategy to achieve sales growth and enhance consumer satisfaction that accompanies the implementation.
On the relationship between integrated supply-chain and business performance of telecommunication, firms have a strong inclination to implement the supply-chain integration strategy. This finding is in line with theoretical perspectives. Besides, the need for integration is dictated by evolving consumer demands for increased value, tailored solutions, and prompt response. The marketing-supply chain interface is vital when resolving the emerging challenges in the business environment. The integration of supply-chain translates to reduced cost of production, increased speed of delivery to consumers, and varying degree of customization, thus influencing consumer preferences while also generating initial negotiations on aspects of engagement with distributors and other stakeholders. Therefore, this strategy interface is fundamental in optimizing the delivery of value that will translate to more exceptional business performance. This benefit is what the Etisalat telecommunication firm managers should take advantage of to design significant modifications on the market share.
This study presents evidence integrated supply-chain translates to greater consumer satisfaction and higher profitability. In the context of Etisalat, the adoption of supply-chain integration allows for easier collaboration between the firm and its suppliers and consumers. The study indicates that the integration of supply chains is crucial to inspire positive outcomes and higher company performance. From these studies, it is vital to integrate supply-chains to avoid conflicts in the system by providing an interface for marketing, manufacturing and logistics. Besides, integrated supply-chain translates to lean production that allows the company to cut on costs, reduce waste, and enhances transparency in its processes. The integration of supply-chains will enable the firm to strategically position itself to enhance risk management and attend to consumer demands satisfactorily while also maintaining a reputable market share.
This study’s main objective is to reveal the empirical association between supply-chain integration and business performance in UAE telecommunication with a focus on Etisalat Company. According to this study, the data was appropriately collected, the hypothesis tested, and findings made to inform the conclusion. Based on these findings, this study recommends that the management of Etisalat should focus on enhancing supply-chain integration strategies to facilitate the paradigm shift from the isolated functionalized units. The marketing-sales interface provides for the inclusion of business performance metrics. Finally, this study can be used to inform other studies in different industries and cultures to determine whether the same, like or contrary outcomes, can be attained.
Alzoubi, H. M., Ahmed, G., Al-Gasaymeh, A., & Al Kurdi, B. (2020). Empirical study on sustainable supply chain strategies and its impact on competitive priorities: The mediating role of supply chain collaboration. Management Science Letters, 703-708. https://doi.org/10.5267/j.msl.2019.9.008
Jajja, M. S., Chatha, K. A., & Farooq, S. (2018). Impact of supply chain risk on agility performance: Mediating role of supply chain integration. International Journal of Production Economics, 205, 118-138. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpe.2018.08.032
Kumar, V., Chibuzo, E. N., Garza-Reyes, J. A., Kumari, A., Rocha-Lona, L., & Lopez-Torres, G. C. (2017). The impact of supply chain integration on performance: Evidence from the UK food sector. Procedia Manufacturing, 11, 814-821. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.promfg.2017.07.183
Leuschner, R., Rogers, D. S., & Charvet, F. F. (2013). A meta-analysis of supply chain integration and firm performance. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 49(2), 34-57. https://doi.org/10.1111/jscm.12013
Lii, P., & Kuo, F. (2016). Innovation-oriented supply chain integration for combined competitiveness and firm performance. International Journal of Production Economics, 174, 142-155. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpe.2016.01.018
Qi, Y., Huo, B., Wang, Z., & Yeung, H. Y. (2017). The impact of operations and supply chain strategies on integration and performance. International Journal of Production Economics, 185, 162-174. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpe.2016.12.028
Qrunfleh, S., & Tarafdar, M. (2015). Supply chain management practices – IT utilisation alignment: Impact on supply chain performance and firm performance. International Journal of Business Information Systems, 18(4), 364. https://doi.org/10.1504/ijbis.2015.068476
Vanpoucke, E., Quintens, L., & Van Engelshoven, M. (2016). undefined. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 21(6), 732-742. https://doi.org/10.1108/scm-05-2016-0143
Venkatesh, R., Mathew, L., & Singhal, T. K. (2019). Imperatives of business models and digital transformation for digital services providers. International Journal of Business Data Communications and Networking, 15(1), 105-124. https://doi.org/10.4018/ijbdcn.2019010107
Yusuf, R., & Shehu, A. U. (2017). The review of supply chain management systems and firm performance. International Journal of Management Research and Reviews, 7(2), 113. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Aliyu_Usman_Shehu4/publication/328228504_THE_REVIEW_OF_SUPPLY_CHAIN_MANAGEMENT_SYSTEMS_AND_FIRM_PERFORMANCE/links/5bbfacc0458515a7a9e29809/THE-REVIEW-OF-SUPPLY-CHAIN-MANAGEMENT-SYSTEMS-AND-FIRM-PERFORMANCE.pdf