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INTRODUCTION In the current competitive scenario supply chain management assumes a significant importance and calls for serious research attention, as companies are challenged with finding ways to meet ever-rising customer expectations at amanageable cost. To do so, businesses must search out which parts of their supply-chain process are not competitive, understand which customer needs are not being met, establish improvement goals, and rapidly implement necessary improvements. Previously manufacturers were the drivers of the supply chain - managing the pace at which products were manufactured and distributed. Today, customers are calling the shots, and manufacturers are scrambling to meet customer demands for options/styles/ features, quick order fulfillment, and fast delivery. Manufacturing quality - along-time competitive differentiator - is approaching parity across the board, so meeting customers specific demands for product delivery has emerged as the next critical opportunity for competitive advantage. Companies that learn how to improve management of their supply chain will become the new success stories in the global market place. Study on Benchmarking shows significant cost differences between organizations that exhibit best-in-class performance and those with average performance. Traditionally, Supply Chain Management (SCM) has been amelting pot of various aspects, with influences from logistics and transportation, operations management and materials and distribution management, marketing, as well as purchasing and information technology (IT). Ideally, the allencompassing philosophy of SCM embraces each of these functions to produce an overall supply chain strategy that ultimately enhances firm performance (Croom et al. 2000; Wisner and Tan 2000). In actuality, the literature is still very fragmented and although several studies purport to discuss supply chain issues, most of the existing research only examines one link of the chain, or most importantly only focuses on one ingredient in the supply chain performance mix. Six major movements can be observed in the evolution of supply chain management studies. Creation, Integration, Globalization, Specialization Phases One and Two, and SCM 2.0 These phases are given in Table 1. The six stage evolutionary era depicts that in a particular era which strategy was emphasized. For instance in the sixth era information Technology was given priority and IT enabled supply chain was the burning issue. 2. LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 Supply Chain Management definitions SCM has been interpreted by various researchers. Based on the relatively recent development of the supply chain literature, it is not surprising that there has been much debate as to a specific SCM definition. Ganeshan and Harrison (1995) has defined SCM as a network of facilities and distribution options that performs the functions of procurement of materials, transformation of these materials into intermediate and finished products, and the distribution of these finished products to customers. Lee & Corey (1995) stated that SCM consists of the integration activities taking place among a network of facilities that procure raw material, transform them into intermediate goods and then final products, & deliver products to customers through adistribution system. Christopher (1998) defined the supply chain as the network of organizations that are involved, through upstream and downstream linkages, in the different processes and activities that produce value in the form of products and services in the hands of the ultimate customer. SCM is the " strategic and systematic coordination of the traditional business functions and the tactics across these business functions within a particular firm and across businesses within a supply chain, for the purposes of improving the long-term performance of the individual companies and the supply chain as a whole" (Mentzer et al.2001). various connotations of supply chain management given by other researchers are given in Table 2.

The Literature, Theory and Practice of SCM Numerous articles dealing with the theory and practice of SCM have been published over the reviewed period of last 18 years, but the topic is still under considerable development and debate. Richard Lamming (1996) has given a general review on lean supply chain in which Lean supply has been characterized as beyond partnership. Lean supply is the system of purchasing and supply chain management required to underpin lean production. . Ben-Daya et al. (2008) explored the topic in a particular context, i.e. The industrial district (ID), that constitutes a specific production model where complex SC networks can be identified. SCcooperation may take on several forms in IDs and may produce several benefits (e. g. Upgrading quality and reducing costs).

Vaart and Pieter (2003) drawn conclusions on the need for an inter-disciplinary approach, combining the technical and relational aspects from the respective fields of system dynamics and collaboration in order to deliver superior order replenishment performance. Gunasekaran and Ngai (2005) indicated that E-Business, product, and service-quality, all have a significant direct effect on customer behavioral intentions to purchase again. Balakrishnan and Cheng (2005) reviewed and update the methodology based on spreadsheet that provided enhanced solutions in complex environments with multiple products and bottleneck situations. Nagarajan and Sosic (2004) reviewed literature dealing with buyer vendor coordination models that have used quantity discount as coordination mechanism under deterministic environment and classified the various models. Based on this conceptualization of SCM, the existing literature was examined, in an effort to identify the extent to which these underlying elements were present in SCM academic research to date. A review of previous literature studies, as highlighted in Table 3 (Appendix A), provides the basis for how this review extends our understanding of SCM research. Burgess et.al. (2006) reviewed 100 randomly selected articles from 614 usable articles found in the ABI/Inform Database across a 19 year (1985 to 2003) period.. Their sample addressed manufacturing and consumer goods industries, and the research articles reviewed by them focused on a more narrowly defined operations management approach to Supply Chain Management. They classified the articles into four groups, namely (1) Descriptive features of SCM, (2) Definition issues, (3) Theoretical concerns and (4) research methodological issues. They found SCM to be a relatively young field with exponential growth in interest from researchers in the recent past. The importance of this research in contrast to Burgess et al. (2006) is that instead of sampling 100 articles from a pool of 614 over a 5-year period, we examined 588 articles over 18 years. This not only makes for a more in-depth review, but provides a larger base from which to chart the maturation of the SCM field. It also helps to assess gaps in the literature and project future trends, thereby underscoring the importance and robustness of this study. Finally, Burgess et al., include books, manuscripts and conference proceedings while this research focuses solely on published articles in peer reviewed SCM journals. Carter and Ellram (2003) surveyed the articles published in the Journal of Supply Chain Management for the total period of 35 years since its launching i.e. for 1965 to 1999. Their objective was to offer a greater understanding of the evolution of purchasing and supply research over the first 35 years of the Journal of Supply Chains existence, and to provide guidance and prescriptions for future supply management research. They observed that nearly 90% of the journal articles under study consisted of normative literature, methodology reviews, and exploratory studies. They further noted that the use of hypothesis testing had increased significantly over the past 10 years of their review (1989- 1999), yet they consider that a greater use of hypothesis testing and the scientific method is recommended as the Supply Management discipline continued to mature. Carter & Ellram (2003) further recommended more literature reviews leading to the introduction of theoretical frameworks of supply management, and the use of more sophisticated research modeling techniques such as MANOVA/discriminant analysis and inferential statistical techniques. They classified the articles based on a modification of the categories used by ISM, and proposed 32 categories for clear and unambiguous classification, which has proved to be amilestone and has been used in subsequent literature reviews by several researchers. The authors conclude that purchasing and supply management, as a scientific discipline, is maturing. It is interesting to note that the authors have consistently used the terms purchasing and supply management, which speaks a lot about the stage of development of the discipline of Supply Chain Management till 1999. Croom et al. (2000) analyze 84 studies on SCM in terms of level of analysis and research methodologies, but the time period for their data collection is ambiguous. Their study represents an early attempt to categorize the SCM literature. Significant growth has taken place both in the practice and theory of Supply chain Management since this attempt, making it necessary for reviews of current knowledge and literature. Finally they describe and categorize the research methods into two dimensions: theoretical and empirical and do not provide the number of articles associated with each level of analysis. Rungtusanatham et.al. (2003) carried out a comprehensive review of 285 SCM articles published in 6 operations management journals during a period of 21 years from 1980-2000. They noticed the occurrence of major changes in the last 5 years of their sampling period, and that two topics stood out as showing fastest ascendancy to prominenceoperations strategy and supply chain management. They observed that the SCM related articles increased significantly after the first half of 1990s, thereby implying the increased interest of researchers in this field and accelerated growth of this discipline. It shows that SCM is a booming and growing field, and offers plenty opportunities in research.

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