Fundamentals of supply chain management

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Research design is the framework that provides the overall structures for the procedures that a researcher follow the data that the researcher collects and the data analysis the researcher conducts (Leedy and Ormarod, 2010).

Research Methodology

There are different research methodologies that are used, depending on the type of research that are undertaken. In this research descriptive survey research method is used as the researcher wants to identify and explore the correlation among the identified variables with the firms’ competitive position. In this methodology, the researcher poses questions to willing participants, summarized and analyzed them and finally inference is made for the population form the drawn samples (Leedy and Ormarod, 2010).

Population and Sample

by Diamantopoulos & Schlegelmilch (2000), “population is the totality of entities in which we have an interest, i.e. the collection of individuals, objects or events about which we want to make inferences”; “sample is part of the population.”
In this research, the population includes all cement factories operating in Ethiopia. These firms are established in Ethiopia and are involved in the production and distribution of cement in the Ethiopian market. Samples are some of the cement factories selected from all cement factories found and operating in Ethiopia.
There are different sampling methods to be used in different researches. Sampling methods are basically grouped into two; probability sampling and non – probability sampling methods. In the case of the former sample numbers are chosen randomly for inclusion in the sample, with each population having an equal probability of being selected. On the other hand non probability sampling method is where samples are chosen on the basis of their availability or accessibility (Diamantopoulos & Schlegelmilch, 2000).
Diamantopoulos & Schlegelmilch (2000), have further classified non probability sampling method into judgmental, purposive and quota sampling.
The population (Cement industry in Ethiopia) is small and members are definitely known. For this population, the researcher applies simple random sampling method. Under this sampling method every member of the population would have an equal chance of being selected (Leedy and Ormarod, 2010).
As the researcher is going to analyze the challenges that cement industries may face and their relationship on their competitive positioning, all participants are involved and give strategic decisions on supply chain management issues within the organizations. There are 11(eleven) Cement Factories that are operating in Ethiopia. Out of these eleven cement factories, the researcher has randomly selected 7(seven) of them.
As supply chain management is a new conceptual framework and applied at the upper level of management, the researcher has identified those members that will be respondents in every organization. Accordingly, the respondents are identified as: general managers, supply managers, technical managers, production managers, quality managers, sales managers and IT managers. That means seven respondents from every firm would count a total of 77 respondents.

Data Collection and Methods

In a research data addresses three issues; the topic of interest, the respondents and the responses of respondents in relation to the topic of interest (Diamantopoulos & Schlegelmilch, 2000).
Data could be collected in different methods. In survey research the most applicable methods are face-to-face interview, telephone interview or written questionnaire (Leedy and Ormarod, 2010).
In this practical case the researcher applies a written questionnaire and as the case may requires face-to-face briefings. In order to quantify and evaluate data, a rating scale technique what is known as Likert Scales is used for the collection of data (Leedy and Ormarod, 2010).

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Data Analysis and Techniques

The data collected has to give meaning to what it is intended for. As discussed by Diamantopoulos & Schlegelmilch (2000), data analysis begins with doing some data description and followed estimation and/or hypothesis testing. Data description is what is called descriptive statistics that measures the central locations (mode, median and mean) and variability (variance and standard deviation). Inferential statistics helps to analyze how the data collected are related to the hypothesis and how they are generalized to the population.
Accordingly, the researcher first constructs a frequency distribution; present it in the form of different graphical representations, measures the mode, median and mean (measuring the central location) and the variability (variance and standard deviation). Finally the inferences are made based on various methods of hypothesis testing.
As the research deals with more than three variables to test their relationship with the competitive position of cement firms in Ethiopia, the researcher has applied Kendall’s Tue and One-way ANOVA statistical techniques (Diamantopoulos & Schlegelmilch, 2000).
The researcher uses computer software called Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) for entering, analyzing and making inferential decisions of the data.

Reliability and Validity

Reliability refers to the extent to which the instrument measures what is intended to measure and validity refers to the consistency with which a measuring instrument yields a certain result when the entity being measured hasn’t changed (Leedy & Ormrod, 2010). They further categorized into internal and external validity where the former refers to the extent to which its design and the data it yields allow the researcher to draw accurate conclusions about cause-and-effect relationship within the data. The external validity refers to the extent to which the research results apply to situations beyond the study itself.
In this particular research, the respondents were clearly communicated on the contents of the questioner as well as the objectives of the research. The draft research was reviewed by different acknowledged individuals. The research framework is constructed based on acknowledged and published theories. Finally, the respondents selected are the top management groups of every organization that are involved into the day to day supply chain management planning and decisions. Accordingly, the researcher expects that the respondents have given credible answers that would probably be answered to another future independent researcher.

Ethical Issues

Leedy & Ormrod (2010) identified four main ethical issues that need to be addressed in the process of undertaking a research. These are: protection from harm, informed consent, right to privacy, and honesty with professional colleagues.
Accordingly, the researcher:
•Tries to not to expose participants from any physical or psychological harm
•requests their consent and could participate only on a voluntary basis
•Respects the participants right to privacy
•Reports the findings in a complete and honest fashion.

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CHAPTER FOUR Data Presentation and Analysis

The research result is presented in to two parts: the first part covers the descriptive statistics of the supply chain management challenges as experienced in the Ethiopian Cement Industry and the second part includes the testing of the null hypothesis either to accept or reject them.

Data Processing

After data are collected, they need to be cleaned by editing for the possible avoidance of errors in the data matrix questioner both during and immediately after the collection of data (Diamantopoulos & Schlegelmilch, 2000). Accordingly, the researcher cleans the data to avoid any inconsistencies, ambiguous answers and missing information. Following the Data edition and correction, data are coded so that it will be understood and analyzed by a computer software program called SPSS 19. Data analysis is made into two forms, descriptive statistics and hypothesis testing.
Respondents’ Profile and Descriptive Statistics 2.1 Response Rate
The list of cement factories as obtained from Ministry of Industry is the basis for the sample framework. Out of the 11 cement factories that are currently operating in the country, 7 firms were randomly selected for this particular case. Selected respondents are general managers, supplymanagers, techn ical managers, production managers, quality managers, sales managers and IT managers. A total of 77 questioners were disseminated in person to factories residing in Addis Ababa and its surroundings while for those found at a distant places questioners were emailed, faxed and mailed to the respondents. A continuous telephone, email and visit re minders were forwarded to the respondents. Some of the respondents con tacted complained that they are so bu sy, and some of them were considering the response as a disclosure of company internal information to competitors. The researcher has done his level best effort to convince them b y enhancing their level of understandin gs and informing them the mutual benefits that would be gained as a result of this study. With all these challenges and level of efforts 50 respondents returned, out of the 77 questioners distributed.

1. Statement of the problem
2. Research objectives
3. Research hypothesis
4. Scope of the study
5. Significance of the study
6. Conceptual framework of the research
1. Fundamentals of supply chain management
1.3. Supply Chain Processes
1.4. Supply Chain Management Issues
2. Overview of Cement Industry
3. Cement Industry in Ethiopia
1. Research Methodology
2. Population and Sample
3. Data collection and Methods
4. Data analysis and Techniques
5. Reliability and Validity
6. Ethical Issues
1. Data Processing
2. Respondents Profile & Descriptive Statistics
1. Discussion on the Findings of the Research
2. Conclusion and Recommendation
3. Direction for the Future Research

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