Supply chain fertile ground for innovation

25 Aug 2008
UQ Business School PhD student Maree Storer believes major innovations can come from the unique relationship between companies working together in the supply chain. Storer is investigating competence - an attribute she says is essential if innovation is to be generated from within the supply chain itself. She said, "A recent Norwegian study showed that while companies generally consider supply chain management to be strategically important, a lack of competence and poor understanding of logistics costs often prevented these companies from maximising the value of supply chain relationships." "The study also found that most of companies surveyed did not intend to take action to build competence in the supply chain." Storer said low levels of competence reflected the traditional view of supply chain management as a simple support function. "It is also related to the lack of professional status associated with supply chain management," she said. "Effective supply chain relationships are dependent on the competence levels of the participants to recognise and evolve the benefits." "Supply chain management is no longer just a support function - it can be the spearhead of competitive advantage and a strategic weapon in the marketplace." Storer said the results reflected the initial stage of a joint project between the Logistics Association of Australia, UQ Business School, and Maersk Australia Limited. Storer holds a PhD scholarship from the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Beef Genetics and is supervised jointly by Professor Andrew Griffiths (UQ Business School) and Professor Paul Hyland (Natural and Rural Systems Management, UQ). Storer will look at perishable and non-perishable supply chains in the beef industry to further explore the relationship between strategic intent, competence, and building a supply chain innovation capacity that adds value and a competitive advantage for the Australian industry. Storer is well placed to explore the complexities of supply chain innovation in the Australian beef industry. She previously managed a $1.2 million e-business research project funded jointly through the Queensland Government, Meat and Livestock Australia, and industry partners. Findings from that project are now part of some of the solutions in use in the industry today - including e-waybills, e-communications, and better tracking and trace-back systems within the industry. PhD students at UQ Business School are eligible for up to $30,000 per year in addition to the Australian Postgraduate Award of $20,000.