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What happens when a company explores new markets?

When a company goes off to conquer new markets, it needs to change its own culture. And this means it must change the way its work is organised, the way it takes decisions, and the eyes with which it looks at itself and at the world. This is no easy matter, especially when it is people and processes that need to change. It is therefore important to understand how to do it and when to do it. What is ultimately at stake is the fate of the company itself and of those who work in it. “Quality Management and Supply Chain Management Integration: A Conceptual Model” by Ana Cristina Fernandes, Paulo Sampaio and Maria do Sameiro Carvalho (of the Systems and Production Department, University of Minho, Portugal), which was published a few weeks ago in the Proceedings of the 2014 International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Operations Management (Bali, Indonesia), responds to these issues.

“Recent trends in the business world”, explain the three researchers “have forced companies to expand their activities into new regions where they can find qualified manpower, lower production costs, high availability of raw materials.” However, all this gives “rise to wider and more complex supply chains but also [brings] in new opportunities to leverage their competitive advantages.”

New organisational models are needed, both inside and outside the company. This means changing the mentality, the approach to production, and the vision of the market. The goal to to be reached, explain the authors, is that of providing “a service of excellence to satisfy customers” and then to “produce value and optimize profitability,” but in what now needs to be a new environment.

To reach this objective, it is possible to start by using two instruments: “total quality management” and “supply chain management”. What is required is greater quality of management, right across the board, as well as coordination of the production flow from the arrival of raw materials through to the final product. And yet, even with all this, the company may still not make it.

What is needed, say Cristina Fernandes and her team, is integration between these two methods. And to explain the matter better, the Portuguese researchers use a large diagram that shows the combination of management methods and production organisation in a single process that brings together external influences and pressures, and internal opportunities and resistance. What emerges is a model in six dimensions, which take into account management and strategy and planning, and then the involvement and commitment of stakeholders and employees, levels of information and integration, relationships with suppliers, management leadership, and continuous improvement and innovation.

The model that the new corporate culture the company needs will take shape at the heart of this model. This culture will be open to exploring new markets and to experimenting with new production and management solutions.

In just a few pages, the study published by Fernandes, Sampaio and Sameiro Carvalho manages to provide a clear idea of where we need to look if we want to have a better understanding of what a company does when it conquers new markets. And what culture comes out of it all.

Quality Management and Supply Chain Management Integration: A Conceptual Model

Ana Cristina Fernandes, Paulo Sampaio, Maria do Sameiro Carvalho

Systems and Production Department, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal

In Proceedings of the 2014 International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Operations Management, Bali, Indonesia, 7-9 January 2014