Title page for ETD etd-05122009-154851


Type of Document Dissertation
Author Espinoza, Omar Alejandro
Author's Email Address oespin04@vt.edu
URN etd-05122009-154851
Title Quality Measurement in the Wood Products Supply Chain
Degree PhD
Department Wood Science and Forest Products
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bond, Brian H. Committee Chair
Araman, Philip A. Committee Member
Cook, Deborah F. Committee Member
Kline, D. Earl Committee Member
Smith, Robert M. Committee Member
Keywords
  • supply chain
  • supply chain management
  • quality
  • performance measurement
  • six sigma
Date of Defense 2009-05-01
Availability restricted
Abstract
The purpose of this research is to learn about quality measurement practices in a wood products supply chain. According to the Supply Chain Management paradigm, companies no longer compete as individual entities, but as part of complex networks of suppliers and customers, linked together by flows of materials and information. Evidence suggests that a high degree of integration between supply chain members is essential to achieve superior market and financial performance. This study investigates the potential benefits from adopting supply chain quality management practices, focusing specifically on quality measurement. A case-study was conducted to accomplish the objectives of the research. An exemplary wood products supply chain was studied in great detail. The current state was compared with best practices, as reported in the literature. Supply chain quality metrics were used to assess current performance and a simulation model was developed to estimate the impact of changes in significant factors affecting quality, such as production volume, on the supply chain’s quality performance.

Quality measurement practices in the supply chain of study are described in detail in this dissertation. A high degree of internal integration was observed in the focal company, attributed in great part to the leadership of management, which formulates comprehensive quality planning, specifying quality measurement practices and goals. These practices provide the company with a competitive advantage, and have undoubtedly contributed to its relatively strong market share and financial performance. Significant improvements in defect rate and on-time performance at all levels in the supply chain have been achieved in great part thanks to current initiatives. There is room for improvement, however, regarding external integration; the supply chain of study could benefit from more information sharing with its external suppliers and increasing its supplier development efforts. There is also a lack of true measures of supply chain quality performance that could facilitate tracing variances back to their origin upstream the supply chain. Supply chain metrics must reflect the contribution of each supply chain member to the overall performance, and span the entire supply chain. This is the first study that looks in depth at quality measurement practices from a supply chain perspective. It is also one of very few studies of supply chain management applied to the wood products industry. Examples are presented of how a supply chain performance measurement system can be developed. Results from this research show that it is important to adopt a supply chain perspective when designing a performance measurement system, not least to avoid sub-optimization. Poor quality at any point in the supply chain eventually translates into higher prices for the final customer, is detrimental to customer dissatisfaction, and hurts profitability; with the end result of declining competitiveness of the entire system.

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