An exploration of automation technologies as a driver of strategic performance within the supply network
(2017) An exploration of automation technologies as a driver of strategic performance within the supply network, no. 84.
Purpose: The purpose of this research study is to explore the expediential growth of technology solutions within the supply chain in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry. Primarily to evaluate the impact of automation on both strategic performance and employment although it will also offer significant insights from practitioners in FMCG and of the UK's leading Logistics organisation. Methodology: Primary data for this project was attained through qualitative methods, utilising a set of semi- structured interviews, as this was the most appropriate to secure a real positive base for the informed discussion required to meet the predetermined projects aim and objectives. Interviews were conducted with 5 (senior managers and directors) current practitioners with a demonstrable and wealth of expertise in Logistics and Supply Chain within the FMCG. Findings: The outcomes strongly suggest that technology (via automation) does significantly enhance supply chain operations, providing a complimentary set of benefits in consistency, accuracy and cost reduction. However, the proposition that fully autonomous supply chains (networks) are indeed imminent and human intuition will no longer be required (in the foreseeable future) was both accepted and rejected. Research Limitations: Time constraints during and after the semi-structured interview process did not promote the correct and desired level of analysis and/or further research from the outcomes that were generated to corroborated and investigate further. The pre-set word limit for this dissertation meant only the most highly prominent and relevant outcomes were analysed despite the qualitative method uncovering a wealth of interest. Practical implications & Value: The outcomes were based on the current best thinking and practice gained from leading companies in the Food & Drink sector of Scottish FMCG and a leading UK national Logistics Organisation. The outputs from this research study are designed to provoke thought and promote further research into this fascinating and business changing topic that impacts all our (consumer) lives. Originality: Although there is a great deal of literature on various types of automation in LSCM, it is not as focused on the impact and implications on the FMCG companies in Scotland, this paper tries to fill that gap.