Supply Chain Management: A Profile of Micro Enterprises

By Pearson, Terry R.; Parmenter, David A. | Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal, January 1, 2006 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Supply Chain Management: A Profile of Micro Enterprises

Pearson, Terry R., Parmenter, David A., Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal


Micro enterprises (firms with less than nine employees) represent an increasingly important component of the economy. The United States literature typically defines small businesses as having less than 500 employees, incorporating micro firms into this broader definition. Although there has been a diversity of studies focusing on small and medium sized enterprise supply chain management, there has been insufficient research on micro entities. Thus, little is known about supply chain management in micro ventures. This study develops a profile of micro enterprise supply chain management practices, the factors that encourage or discourage the implementation of supply chain management activities, and the impact of these supply chain activities on firm performance. The findings of this study indicate that micro enterprises tend to implement supply chain management methods and supply chain management appears to increase micro firm performance.


For the last decade many large enterprises (LEs), and to a lesser extent small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), have placed increasing emphasis on the implementation of supply chain management (Chopra & Meindle, 2001; Mentzer, 2000). Supply chain management (SCM) is a philosophy and a set of business practices that allow firms to more closely coordinate their activities with suppliers, distributors, retailers and consumers (Laudon & Laudon, 2001; Simchi-Levi, Kaminsky & Simchi-Levi, 2003). The SCM literature is somewhat inconsistent in its definition of SMEs, but tends to utilize size as the focal point, with LEs characterized as 500 or more employees and SMEs as less than 500 employees, although in some cases no definition is offered at all (Barringer, 1997; Brush, 2001; Committee on Supply Chain Integration, 2000; Larson, 2005). In addition to the number of employees, small firms are also delineated by such factors as finances, sector and ownership, effectuating a universal definition problematic (Curran & Blackburn, 2001; Storey, 1994). Micro enterprises, the focus of this study, are a subset of SMEs, with micro entities defined as those having nine or fewer employees (European Commission, 1996; Fulantelli, Allegra & Vitrano, A.Z.P., 2002). SMEs by definition include micro firms, SMEs can also be referred to as micro, small and medium sized enterprises or MSMEs. Although the literature includes studies of supply chain management in SME's, it does not to date appear to address SCM implementation by micro organizations in particular.

The growth of small business and its impact on the economy and employment has been recognized by both the public and private sectors as well as by academics (Chapman, Ettkin & Helms, 2000; Committee on Supply Chain Integration, 2000; Curran & Blackburn, 2001; Park & Krishnan, 2001; Schwenk & Shrader, 1993; Watkins, 1993). Furthermore, SMEs have become increasingly more important to the United States economy in the 1990's as more employees at LEs have been downsized and the growing attention to core competencies among many companies has evolved to increased outsourcing by LEs to smaller suppliers (Park & Krishman, 2001). SMEs not only comprise the maj ority of the United States manufacturing facilities and employees, but account for much of the innovation (Committee on Supply Chain Integration, 2000).

SCM has taken on critical importance within the context of small business due to its impact on long-term performance, competitive advantage, strategic competence and competitiveness (Cavinato, 1992; Park & Krishnan, 2001). Small businesses are already involved in SCM, whether the owner-managers of those small businesses recognize it or not (Chapman et al. 2000). Successful implementation of SCM can reduce costs, increase revenues, enhance productivity and quality, advance technological innovation and in general allow an organization to be more competitive (Chase, Aquilano & Jacobs, 2000; Christopher, 2000; Fisher, 1997; Gryna, 2001; Huit, Thomas, Nichols & Giunipero 2000; Mainardi, Salva & Sanderson, 1999; Spekman, Kamauff, & Salmond, 1994).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Supply Chain Management: A Profile of Micro Enterprises


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?