• Developing a conceptual framework for sustainable ‘last-mile’ delivery for Chinese online retailing market

      Zhang, Boyong; Bentley, Yongmei; University of Bedfordshire (Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport UK, 2018-09-03)
      This study aims to develop a conceptual framework for sustainable last-mile delivery for China’s online retailing market via systematic literature review (SLR) and semi-structured interviews. Based on our SLR, European academia is the most productive and creative region regarding last-mile delivery research. Unfortunately, many projects and studies have failed or remained at preliminary stages. Nevertheless, European researchers and practitioners are very vigorous to implement new ideas into operations. They have introduced and developed different models, alternative solutions, new vehicles, regulatory suggestions, along with some inspiring frameworks and reviews. In the Chinese context, last-mile research remained at a theoretical level. Scholars are still trying to explain the relationship between e-commerce and last-mile delivery (Chen and Lin, 2013; Wang and Xiao, 2015), few have entered the innovative stage of research. Chinese scholars rarely mention terminologies such as sustainable last-mile, smart-cities, or smart logistics. They are in dire of need a roadmap which can provide guidance for last-mile decision-making process. ---
    • How correct were they? – a comparison of logistics/supply chain practitioner and educator views of near-term oil price with the actual oil price

      Bentley, Yongmei; Cao, Guangming; Ramanathan, Ramakrishnan; Bentley, Roger; University of Bedfordshire; Petroleum Analysis Centre (Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport UK, 2018-09-10)
      Purpose: Previous research (Bentley et al., 2016 & 2017) investigated the views of logistics and supply chain (SC) managers, and educators teaching these disciplines, about the impact of recent changes in oil price on these industries, and also their expectations of future oil price, and hence anticipated impacts. In this paper we look at how the opinions held by these groups on near-term oil price turned out, when compared to the oil prices that actually occurred. Given that the International Energy Agency (IEA) and others forecast that the oil price will rise significantly in real terms over the coming years, the purpose of this research is to better understand how well professionals associated with these industries are able to anticipate oil price change, and hence correctly plan for likely impacts. Research Approach: The research draws on three main rounds of surveys carried out from early 2016 to the end of 2017 at a range of UK and international logistic and SC events and conferences. The surveys used semi-structured questionnaires issued and collected personally. This adopted the ‘key informant’ approach, ensuring that only the target audience – here, of middle and senior managers in logistics and SC companies, and senior lecturers and above in universities - were surveyed, and that a high response rate - here, >90% - was achieved. The questionnaire was kept short and anonymous to assist this high take-up rate, with some 70 valid questionnaires being analysed by both qualitative and quantitative methods. Findings and Originality: This research is recent and original. Based on our previous findings, we know that these practitioners and educators forecast a surprisingly wide range of oil prices in both the near and medium term; for example, expecting the oil price 10 years from the survey date to range from below $30/bbl  to above $120/bbl; and giving corresponding explanations for this diversity of view. In this paper we find that over the period surveyed the forecasts made by these groups consistently underestimated the oil price rises that actually occurred. The analysis discusses the likely factors driving both the wide divergence of views on future oil price, and also why the forecasts of this price have so far turned out to be too low. These findings are presented in the context of IEA oil price forecasts, and the under-recognised fundamental constraints that drive changes in oil price. Research and Practical Impacts: Such a wide range of views on the likely future price of oil has significant implications in terms of correct planning of future company operational practices, and, importantly, in optimising major long-term investment decisions. Hence improving the understanding of the correctness of expected future oil prices - as analysed in this paper - has the potential to improve decision-making, and hence profitability, across the logistics and SC industries.
    • The impact of Indian SMEs managers/owners on adopting green supply chain practices

      Dhillon, Manpreet Kaur; Bentley, Yongmei; Bukoye, Oyegoke Teslim; University of Bedfordshire (Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport UK, 2016-09-07)
      Purpose: Green supply chain management (GSCM) is an increasingly important aspect in today’s supply chain practices. Meeting environmental concerns in industrial operations has evoked interest among environmentalists, government bodies, academics and business organisations in recent years. However, current research indicates that SMEs are often focusing more on making profits than on saving the environment by adopting GSC practices. The purpose of this research is to investigate the current GSC practices in Indian SMEs, the drivers for SMEs to adopt GSC practices, the barriers faced by the SMEs in implementing such practices, and the impact of Indian SME managers/owners on adopting GSC practices. Research Approach: The investigation used literature review approach to determine the current status of implementation of GSCM in Indian SMEs, and associated aspects of the same. Literature pertaining to the subject in context of Indian SMEs has been studied for the purpose of developing the paper. However, the research will be qualitative in nature using face-to-face interviews to collect the main data. Findings and Originality: The study shows the initial investigation done through secondary data, which involved extensive literature review of the topic area. Since this is a work-in-progress research, the empirical data collection is in process by semi-structured interviews. Initial findings of the study show that in general, Indian SMEs have not done much in the adoption and implementation of GSC practices. Research Impact: The main purpose of the research is to develop a conceptual framework for GSCM with a focus on the adoption of GSC practices of the Indian SME managers/owners in their firms. However this research will help increasing awareness among the Indian SME managers/owners about adopting GSCM practices in their organisations. Practical Impact: Findings from this study could help SME employers not only in India, but also in other countries have a better understanding of the benefits of GSC practices and their impact on the performance of their firms. This paper contributes to the literature by providing empirical evidence on various aspects of GSCM in India.
    • Impact of recent and anticipated change in oil price on global logistics and supply chain activities - a survey of practitioner and educator opinions

      Bentley, Yongmei; Bentley, Roger; Cao, Guangming (Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport UK, 2016-09-07)
      Purpose: This research investigated the views of logistics and supply chain (SC) managers, and also those of educators teaching these disciplines, of the impact of the recent fall in oil price, and also anticipated future oil prices, on global logistics and SC activities. In terms of future prices, this work has sought to understand how these professionals see the oil price as evolving in the near term (3-years) and medium term (10-years), and hence understand the impacts they foresee for logistics and SC activities. Research Approach: The research is empirical, with semi-structured questionnaires being handed out and collected at a recent industry logistic and supply chain event in the UK, at a corresponding conference in the UK, and likewise at an international conference in the US. This approach ensured that only the target audience - middle and senior managers in companies, and lecturers and above in universities - were surveyed, and that a high response rate was achieved. The questionnaire was kept short and anonymous to assist this high take-up rate. A total of 31 valid questionnaires were returned, and these were analysed using both qualitative and quantitative (SPSS) methods.   Findings and Originality: This research is recent and original. One key and perhaps surprising finding is that about half of respondents thought that the recent fall in oil price had had no significant impact on logistics and supply chain activities, while the other half thought there had been an impact, classing this as ‘medium’, and identifying the nature of these impacts. A second key finding was the very wide range of expectations, from both managers and educators, of the future price of oil; with estimates for the expected oil price 10 years hence ranging from below $30/bbl to over $120/bbl.   Research and Practical Impacts: The survey showed that the risk of a significant medium-term constraint to global oil supply, sufficient to raise the oil price to above $90/bbl, was thought unlikely by nearly two-thirds of those that responded to the questionnaire. In terms of research impact, it is hoped that this paper will help raise awareness of this future price risk, both for practitioners within the logistics and SC industry, and for those that teach these topics within academia. 
    • The influence of supplier collaboration on green supply chain management practices and sustainable firm performance in UK food supply chain SMEs

      Ali, Abdul; Bentley, Yongmei; Cao, Guangming; University of Bedfordshire (Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport UK, 2016-09-07)
      Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the influence of supplier collaboration on Green Supply Chain Management (GSCM) practices and Sustainable firm performance in UK food supply chain SMEs. Supplier collaboration is the management of collaborative relationship with the key supply chain partners when sourcing products or services. There has been extensive research on SCM, SC collaboration and GSCM practices of large organisations. However, no research has been found on UK SMEs in particular and their performances due to Collaborating with suppliers and GSCM practices. Thus, this study attempts to fill this gap and contributes to the current academic research and practice. Research Approach: A systematic literature review was undertaken to examine articles published in international journals during 2000-2016. SCOPUS database was used to collect information on articles and subsequently they were collected using various sources including EBSCOhost. For this study, supplier collaboration was drawn from previous literature in Supply chain collaboration and GSCM practices while performance measurement was adopted from the Triple Bottom Line Approach. From a comprehensive literature review, a conceptual framework was developed which will subsequently be empirically tested in the UK SMEs perspective.   Findings and Originality: The review of literature suggested that supplier collaboration is crucial for a firm to practice GSCM in their operations especially in SMEs. The literature also suggests that trust, dependence, knowledge and information sharing, risk and reward sharing between the firms are the major determinants of mutual collaboration. This study also suggests that collaborating with suppliers help firms practice GSCM which will bring sustainable firm performance.  However, this is yet to be empirically tested.   Research Impact, Practical Impact and Limitations: This study should help enrich the existing theories on SCM, GSCM, SC collaboration and organisational performance. Furthermore, this study suggests trust, dependence, and sharing of information, knowledge, risk and reward are major determinants of supplier collaboration. As to practical impact, this study should also facilitate SMEs in assessing the necessity for them to collaborate with their suppliers. This study also suggests that for SMEs to practice GSCM, supplier collaboration is essential. Furthermore, it highlights that supplier collaboration affects firm performance. Moreover, as the UK government is campaigning for greener economy, it can only be possible when SMEs, which consists of 99% of UK businesses, are greening their operations for which the collaboration between the buyers and the suppliers are crucial. However, the findings of this study are limited because this is based on literature review and not empirically proved yet. Nevertheless, as this is an initial part of a bigger research project, it should help establish the foundation for further study.