Academic journal article Madhya Pradesh Journal of Social Sciences

Integrating Technological Infrastructure for Strengthening Agro Based SMEs: A Case of Jammu Based Units

Academic journal article Madhya Pradesh Journal of Social Sciences

Integrating Technological Infrastructure for Strengthening Agro Based SMEs: A Case of Jammu Based Units

Article excerpt

Introduction

Supply chain is the interrelated collection of processes and associated resources that starts with the acquirement of raw material and extends to the delivery of end items to the customer. It includes suppliers, manufacturers, logistics service providers, warehouses, distributors, wholesalers and all other entities that lead up to delivery to the final customer. In a wider perspective it may also include the suppliers to the vendors and the customers of the immediate customers. For typical marketing and sales operations the supply chain is more restricted and extends from purchasing the finished goods from the manufacturing facilities to supplying to the immediate customer. In more advanced operations it may extend to the customer of the immediate customer. Now in this era of technology and competition the firms need to establish themselves as a strategic entity which is now a necessity. Successful Supply Chain Management (SCM) requires a fully integrative approach: employees, processes, technology, functions and even supply network partners need to be fully aligned and synchronised in order to build capability and thereby gain sustainable competitive advantage. Organisational approaches need to move to where there is north-south goal alignment but a focus on east-west process performance. This research paper tries to address these issues with concentrations on the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) dealing in agro based products.

Review of Literature

Baratt (2004) defines supply chain as a network of facilities and distribution options that performs the functions of procurement of materials, transformations of these materials into intermediate and finished products and distribution of these finished products to the customers. Balsmeier and Voisin (1996) states that supply chains exist in both service and manufacturing organisations, although the complexity of the chain may vary greatly from industry to industry, and from firm to firm.

Technological infrastructure has been emphasised as an important antecedent for knowledge management practices by many researchers. For example, Meso and Smith (2000) viewed knowledge management system as an advanced assembly of software, its associated hardware infrastructures for supporting knowledge work and / or organisational learning through the free access to and increased sharing of knowledge. In the current study, TI is defined as a set of information technology tools supporting collaborative knowledge management practices. At the simplest level this means a capable, networked PC for each knowledge user with standardised personal productivity tools so that people can exchange thoughts and documents easily.

Various studies have attempted to identify the key technological components that are critical to the operations of organisational knowledge management systems. Hibbard (1997) and Chaffey (1998) mentioned messaging, video-conferencing and visualisation, web browsers, document management, groupware, search and retrieval, data mining, push technology, and intelligent agents group decision support,. Meso and Smith (2000) also identified ten similar key technologies: computer-mediated collaboration, electronic task management, messaging, video conferencing and visualisation, group decision support, web browsing, data mining, search and retrieval, intelligent agents, document management. Lin et al (2002) summarised pervious studies and argued that groupware and webbrowser technologies are the most prominent.

Followed the works of Alavi and Tiwana (2003) and Smith (2001), this study approaches the technological infrastructure from the knowledge process perspective, which is based on Nonaka's knowledge creation and transfer model (1998). Knowledge generation, storage, access, dissemination and application are the five essential processes through which new knowledge is created, transferred and utilised in the business context. …

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