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Global Supply Chain
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Lean Manufacturing, Basics, Principles, Techniques

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RESEARCH PLAN

This presentation reports an extensive research on global supply chain and information technology with a focus on German industry. This research includes, but is not limited to, the following three items: (1) literature review, (2) Internet research, and (3) onsite interview of prac­titioners. Due to the increasing attention the industry has on informa­tion technology and supply chain management, the body of knowledge has been quite explosive [ref. 1, 4]. There is a need to systematically survey the publications in the literature and then provide a summary report.

Because of the international nature of the research, the author is currently visiting Stuttgart Institute of Management and Technology in Stuttgart, Germany. There are several reasons for this choice of lo­cation. First, Germany has many companies with the most advanced manufacturing technology in the world. Companies such as Mercedes-Benz, Trumpf, and BMW have state-of-the-art global supply chains. Second, many American companies such as IBM, Hewlett Packard, and Ford have active manufacturing operations in Germany. Third, one of the most successful companies in developing software for supply chain management, SAP, originated in Germany.

As a visiting professor at Stuttgart Institute of Management and Technology, the author plans to visit German companies such as Trumpf, Bosch, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Ration, SAP, and BMW. Interview­ing the senior managers of those companies will provide the author with the opportunity of gaining practical information about the ap­proaches German companies use to better manage their global supply chains. To facilitate data collection, a survey instrument similar to those used by LaForge and Craighead [ref. 3] will be developed. The survey will also explore the impact of information technology on managing global supply chain.

SUMMARY

Globalization, supply chain management, and information technology are three important areas in business research. The integration of the three areas has been an underdeveloped and under researched area. This presentation reports a research focusing on German companies' sup­ply chain management. In addition to literature and Internet research, the author will visit German companies to conduct interviews. The main objective of this research is to assess the current status of supply chain management in Germany.


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