Purpose - This paper aims to provide empirical results which suggest that there is a need for more widespread adoption of supply chain management among Irish firms. Design/methodology/approach - The Republic of Ireland is a small, open, trade-dependent economy and is one of the fastest growing economies in the developed world. However, due to rising costs, there is an increasing trend in Ireland to outsource lower function manufacturing processes to lower-cost locations but to retain high-skill functions (such as R&D). This trend, together with other factors such as its peripheral location, suggests that supply chain management is critical from an Irish perspective. In order to gain unique insights of current levels of awareness/adoption of SCM and the potential impact SCM could have on competitiveness, a survey was conducted among 776 Irish firms. Findings - Overall, the findings suggest that many firms in Ireland pay lip-service to the importance of SCM elements and objectives but the majority of firms, about two thirds, have only a passing understanding of what constitutes SCM. Only 25 per cent adopt SCM programmes and only 9 per cent of Irish companies have a specialised SCM or logistics manager. The gaps in their understanding of SCM are matched by the gaps in their awareness of key costs (e.g. 59 per cent of companies do not know their total supply chain costs). While there are supply chain management adopters in Ireland that are already well up the s-curve of innovation transfer, it is the larger group of less aware companies that must become better at how they manage their supply chains. Originality/value - The paper offers a useful insight into supply chain management and its role in Irish industry.
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- supply chain management
- competitive strategy