Evaluating the Impact of Strategic Purchasing on Internal Customer Satisfaction in Zimbabwe. The Case of Vubachikwe Mine
(The Research Proposal)
Submitted to the Lupane State University in partial fulfilment of
Bachelor of Commerce honours degree in Purchasing and supply
Mrs R Mashukushe2018
Over the past few decades there has been a growing reliance on supply chain management (SCM) by organizations which has led to an increase in recognition and acceptance of strategic purchasing. Strategic purchasing has since evolved from a mere buying function into a strategic function and thus has been recognized as a main driving force in strategic management of supply chain. This has been accelerated by the rapid increase in globalization which has increased the need for organizational competitiveness. Also the wide and dynamic scope of the external environmental conditions as well as the desire to keep a competitive edge and increase the organizational survival chances, has brought about the importance of customer satisfaction, both external and internal customers (Paulraj, Chenn & Flynn, 2006).
The study will therefore, shade more light on the importance of strategic purchasing and its impact on internal customer satisfaction and also explain the benefits of internal customer satisfaction in an organization especially in a mining environment. The main thrust of the study is to show how organizations have overly underperformed due to haphazard supply and further provide compressive ways in which the purchasing and supply department can be effectively utilized to create organizational competitiveness especially in a gold mining organization. Further the study will utilize Vubachikwe mine as a case study.
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Since the 1980s, the economic situation of Zimbabwe has been going down the spiral. It was further shattered by the 2008 global recession wave which saw many organizations shut down. In that period of crisis, one of the economic sustainers in Zimbabwe has been the mining industry. Most gold mining companies managed to help redeem the economic situation given the poor economy, through employment sustenance regardless of some retrenchments that occurred during the same period and the preceding years. Further, the gold mining industry poorly performed such that the gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 50% in the year 2008. Also in the same year, gold production recorded its lowest of 3.5tonnes. (Metallon Corporation, 2014).
Also Nyarota, Kavila, Mapunga and Ngundu, (2015) argued that that there was a significant decline in productivity and capital stock during the period from 200 to 2008 and capital contribution to economic growth was negative between 1990 and 2008. More so, average economic growth rate averaged 2.2% from 1980 to 2014, weighed down by the decline in economic activity. These subdued growth rates in Zimbabwe are attributed to a decline in capital stock and productivity as well as mismanagement and poor organizational governance. As such to revamp the economy capital and productivity constraints need serious attention and addressing.
Consequently, apart from the underperformance of the sector, during and after the recession period, Zimbabwe has been relying most on the primary commodities such as gold, diamond and platinum. The country’s economy is heavily reliant and supported by the exportation of these products which carry great value in the global market and without these products the economy will be significantly worse and thus the country is highly reliant on these primary commodities. Subsequently, the mining sector has now become the chief contributor of economic betterment, with the mining’s share of GDP growing from an average of 10.2% in the 1990s to an average of 16.9% in 2009 (Kanyenze, Chitambara & Tyson, 2017).
As discussed, the mining industry has become the backbone of the country and any factor that can hinder or accelerate its production is important to explore. One of the main failures and underperformance of the sector is the use of the traditional procurement style which undermines internal customer satisfaction. Howbeit, internal customers are important to set up the production process and achieve desired results.
Vubachikwe mine has not been exempted from these inefficiencies faced by the mining such as fall in gold prices. According to the Herald (January 16 2014), gold price fell by 28 percent in 2013 and this was recorded as the largest single year drop in over 30 years. Thus, gold price instability affects the cash-flow of the company and cash is the lifeblood of any organisation. In January 2014 the company needed an amount of $10m so as to increase production in order to achieve economies of scale and lowering costs. (Herald, January 16 2014). The company has been facing cash-flow problems since then till to date. The company’s Human Resource Manager (2014) told the Herald that “Duration is committed to its employees, shareholders and other stakeholders and is doing its utmost to weather this storm. At our company we are improving efficiencies and cutting costs wherever possible: Duration is committed to its employees, shareholders and other stakeholders and is doing its utmost to weather this storm. At our company we are improving efficiencies and cutting costs wherever possible”. As a cost cut strategy the company focused mainly in the purchasing department. It is so because study has shown that purchasing department uses most of the company’s revenue. Thus, they introduced the critical list, (Vubachikwe mine, monthly journal, 2016) which enables the organisation to purchase products on weekly basis and most of the transactions are cash based. Hence, method does cut costs, however it brings another setback of shortage of material. The critical list cannot cover all the needed materials at the mine; it consists mainly of products which the HODs deem are critical for the operations of the company. Also, any extra material that will be needed is paid on cash and cash payments limit the quantity of products purchased. Therefore, it can be noted that the company cannot afford to have any buffer stocks; it survives on what is known in layman language as food to mouth basis.
Furthermore, the 2008 global recession wave which saw many organisations shut down is yet another setback that has hit the company hard. The manufacturing industry was affected many companies shut down and the few that remained scaled down their operations, thus has led to unavailability of material in the local market. This has forced Vubachikwe mine to source some of its most critical products in line of production from afar and this has resulted in having longer lead times, for instance, leach aid a leaching chemical used in the plant is bought from Britain. (Vubachikwe mine Newsletter, 2017)
It can also be noted that the company uses the Pastel evolution package in its business operation. The package is a good accounting package but does not fully cater for the purchasing needs such as inventory control. For inventory controlling the company uses bin cards which fall under the manually system. This system relies on the stores clerk to pull out the bin cards when a minimum level has been reached. Its sole reliance on clerks is its weakness because if the clerk somehow forgets to pull the card for placing orders the whole system will be compromised. It can lead to serious consequences such production stoppages.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The purchasing department is solely responsible for the acquisition of products and services in an organisation. The acquisition of products and services is an ongoing cycle. Thus, according to, Bailey et al (2005) the purchasing cycle is structured as; recognition of need, specification, purchase decision, source identification, source selection, contracting, contract management, receipt, inspection and need fulfillment. Thus the purchasing cycle basically formulates the duties of the purchasing department.
Furthermore, by carrying out its duties the purchasing department ensures that the five basic rights of purchasing are met, which according to, Lyons et al (2010), are right quality, quantity, place, time and price. Entirely this guarantees customer satisfaction. According to Paulraj, Chen and Flynn, (2006) customer satisfaction refers to a measure of how products and services supplied by a company meet or surpass customer expectations and is the most crucial aspect in company’s overall performance and growth. Material availability is imperative to an organisation because the overall performance of the end users relies heavily on it. (Giese et al 2002). Sound performance departments are an asset to the company because the basic objective of any business organization is to operate efficiently and effectively to obtain the highest possible return using the lowest possible inputs, which is, obtaining the highest return on capital investments. (Callen, 2008).
Therefore, the purchasing department plays a major role in ensuring that its customers achieve their targeted goals in return improving the company’s bottom line.
However, Vubachikwe mine purchasing department is challenged with issues such as, longer lead times, shortages of material, overloading the end user with unnecessary information which according to, Lu, D. (2011) leads to poor service delivery in return neither the mining department, who are stores biggest customer, can mine gold without explosives and drill steels nor can the Engineering department fabricate and put up structures without welding rods, oxy-acetylene gases, steel material and many other needed materials. As a result, once there is lack in the purchasing and supply of an organization, the internal customers are dissatisfied.
Therefore this study seeks to evaluate the impact strategic purchasing can have in satisfying the internal customers of a manufacturing company like mining. It is so because in this day and age, economic upliftment is the song of policy setters and everyone at large. Thus a profitable satisfaction of internal customer’s needs is of paramount importance thereof. Strategic purchasing is a methodology used in many businesses to realize the greatest amount of benefit to the company while still effectively managing the costs associated with the acquisition of raw materials and operational components.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of the study is to evaluate the impact of strategic purchasing on internal customer satisfaction in a mine in Zimbabwe.
The specific objectives include:
To identify the purchasing policies that hinders the implementation of strategic purchasing?
To identify ways of how strategic purchasing can be used to enhance internal customer satisfaction?
To identify the benefits of implementing strategic purchasing as a tool of improve internal customer satisfaction?
To establish the relationship which exists between strategic purchasing and internal customer satisfaction?
The study seeks to answer the following questions:
What are the purchasing policies that hinder the implementation of strategic purchasing?
How can strategic purchasing be used to enhance internal customer satisfaction?
What are the benefits of implementing strategic purchasing as a tool to improve internal customer satisfaction?
Is strategic purchasing an important component to boost internal customer satisfaction?
STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESIS
The hypotheses which the study seeks to test are:
H0: Strategic purchasing negatively impacts internal customer satisfaction in a mine.
H1: Strategic purchasing positively impacts internal customer satisfaction in a mine.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Body of knowledge
This study is the missing piece in literature of the purchasing professionalism. Most studies focused on external customers forgetting the customers that are closer home, that is, internal customers. Therefore, the study added information and showed the level of relationship between strategic purchasing and internal customers.
In order to ensure the survival of the organisation there is need for the organisation to be able to run its operations as smoothly as an oiled machine. Hence, this study showed how best it can do that through the purchasing department. It highlighted how the running of the purchasing department can affect the overall performance of the organisation.
This study highlighted the interrelationship between strategic purchasing and internal customer satisfaction. However, all business management researched seeks to help improve the bottom line of the organisation. With, the mining industry being the backbone of the country, thus a smooth running mine surely be an added gain to the country.
This study is based on the following assumptions:
Vubachikwe mine represents the mining industry in Zimbabwe
Vubachikwe mine is fully operational and is able to provide usable results
The study focused on Vubachikwe mine, which is situated in Gwanda, to represent the mining industry because the researcher is well acquainted with the purchasing and supply mechanism of the company.
The researcher focused on information of the company which happened in the last 10 years, that is, from 2008 to 2018.
The researcher faced problems with the timeline to carry out the research because it was be carried be out between working hours. However, to eliminate this limitation the researcher engaged one person to help in carrying out of the research.
The researcher was hindered by financial constraints such as costs of typing, fees of engaging another person. However, the researcher eliminated this limitation by personal typing and seeking assistance from the company to print out the material that were used in the study.
The researcher faced challenges in getting all the data needed to carry out a research because the study was using the company’s confidential information. Nonetheless, to eliminate the challenge the researcher will assured Vubachikwe mine that the information will not be publicized; that it was strictly for academic purposes. Also the management got the chance to go through the document.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Supply chain Management
Is defined as the flow of goods and services, involving the movement and storage of raw materials, of work-in-process inventory, and of finished goods from point of origin to point of consumption (Lu, 2011).
Is defined as an institutional procurement process that continuously advances and re-evaluates the purchasing activities of a company (Pazirandeh, 2014).
It is a measure of how products and services supplied by a company meet or surpass customer expectation (Giese & Cote, 2002)
Is defined as the total value of goods produced and services provided in a country during a single year (Callen, 2008).
Gold Mining Industry
Is defined as an establishment that is primarily engaged in the extraction of gold.
Strategic purchasing is now the golden print towards customer satisfaction which leads to organizational competitiveness and quality product production in this globalized economy. The study, therefore, will be organized as follows; chapter one will focus on the introduction of the study, chapter two will give a comprehensive overview of the strategic purchasing concept and customer satisfaction, chapter three will give an assessment of empirical literature review in relation to the impact of strategic purchasing on internal customer satisfaction, chapter four will outline the methodology of the study and chapter five will provide the conclusion and policy recommendations for all relevant stakeholders.
This chapter outlines a detailed review of literature. It will lay the foundation for the research. The objective is to put together knowledge and understanding of the topic through determining what experts say about the meaning of customer satisfaction. The successful and implementation of customer satisfaction goals requires an effective management structure and also involves re-looking at articles or research reports similar to one’s study. It is a review of literature which is related to the study, to make the connection between what has been learnt in the past and what this study is all about.
2.1 Concepts and definitions
2.1.1 Key concepts
Carr, (1997) defined strategic purchasing as the process of planning, implementing, evaluating and controlling planned and operating decision for directing all activities of the purchasing function towards opportunities consistent with the firm’s capabilities to achieve long term goals. In simple terms, strategic purchasing can be said to be prudent buying, (Deber and Lewis, 2004), rather than solely responsible for buying orders for other divisions with its main aim to achieve maximum price reductions (Gadde & Håkansson, 1994). Strategic purchasing goes far beyond the formerly short- term orientation of cutting costs (Knoppen& Sáenz, 2015), somewhat covers issues to do with early supplier involvement, and the involvement of logistical activities throughout the value chain (Knoppen& Sáenz, 2015). Certainly, literature has proven that purchasing department has evolved from tactical to strategic.
Source: adapted from A Strategic Purchasing –Global Perspective by Apostolova et al 2015
Internal customer satisfaction
According to, MBA skool.com, internal customers are employees within an organisation who receive and utilize the goods and services produced elsewhere in the same organisation as inputs to their work. Thus, the purchasing department is the service provider of departments within the organisation. Internal customer satisfaction is about making them happy with the service a department is providing. Conseil (2016) reveals that by virtue for its professionalism and its rigor a purchasing department should gain its credibility vis-à-vis its internal customers. This credibility is certainly the basis for a good relationship with its internal customers. He went on further to describe a method, known as Management of Procurement internal customer satisfaction, which can be used to assess internal customer satisfaction in an organisation. The process is illustrated in the diagram below:
Source: adapted from Atlais Conseil, 2016, customer satisfaction
Conseil views are concurred by, Moretti (2016) who states that any Purchasing function wishing to be considered a strategic partner within the company should be concerned about how its internal clients are satisfied with the services provided. These opinions are further supported by, Van Poucke et al (2000) who insist further that purchasing department as a service provider in an organisation must care fanatically about its internal customers as putting a focus on ICS creates a more productive and service oriented environment.
According to, According to Cook (2002:13), customer satisfaction is about customer perceptions, which is often a subjective and intangible experience. The perception of service which customers receive is dependent upon the expectations. If the treatment which the customer receives is better than his or her expectations, this is regarded as excellent and the customer is satisfied. If the treatment which the customer receives is less than his/her expectations, the customer is dissatisfied. Hoffman and Bateson (1997:271) concur with Kotler by saying that customer satisfaction is a comparison of customer expectations to perceptions regarding the actual service encountered. The two definitions given above by authors make it clear that satisfaction is a function of perceived performance and expectations. Kabodian (1996) further postulate that most organizations should not only aim to satisfy their customers and stop there. They should be in a position to move customers from a position of dissatisfaction to a level of delight. The author illustrated this below.
Source: Service quality/satisfaction ladder (adapted from Kabodian (1996)
More will be explained later on in the chapter as each concept will be further elucidated and evaluated in order to bring an understanding on the key concepts.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The specific objectives include:
1.To identify the purchasing policies that hinders the implementation of strategic purchasing?
2.To identify ways of how strategic purchasing can be used to enhance internal customer satisfaction?
3.To identify the benefits of implementing strategic purchasing as a tool of improve internal customer satisfaction?
4.To establish the relationship which exists between strategic purchasing and internal customer satisfaction?
To identify the company policies that hinders the implementation of strategic purchasing?
They are few researches conducted which focused primarily on barriers of strategic purchasing, however many researches focused generally on barriers of strategy implementation. Strategy implementation is a difficult stage because it seeks to connect formulation and control. (Rajasekar, 2014). This thought is concurred by Herbiniak, 2016 when stating that strategy formulation is difficult, making strategy work and executing it is even more difficult. According to, Rajasekar (2014) issues that hinder strategy implementation include leadership style, information availability and accuracy, uncertainty, organizational structure, organizational culture, human resources, and technology.
To identify ways of how strategic purchasing can be used to enhance internal customer satisfaction?
Brookshaw and Terziovski, (1997); Mbiege and Okoye, (2007) and Nyambi, (2013), concur that internal customer satisfaction is an important component in improving the company’s efficiency and effectiveness. Also strategic purchasing is shown to play a positive role in customer satisfaction and how strategic purchasing affects internal customers positively and the effect further translates to an organization’s improved performance. Moreover, research work done by Suchanek, Pitcher and Kralova, (2014) on customer satisfaction, product quality and performance of companies proved a positive correlation between customer satisfaction, company performance and competitiveness. Customer satisfaction led to the production of quality products which further led to the competitiveness of the organization and an increment in performance.
To establish the relationship which exists between strategic purchasing and internal customer satisfactionConsequently in their study (Chen, Paulray and Lado, 2004), examined the link among strategic purchasing, supply management and firm performance. They argue that strategic purchasing can engender sustainable competitive advantage by enabling firms to foster close working relationships with a limited number of suppliers, promote open communication among supply chain partners and develop long term strategic relationship orientation to achieve mutual gains. Further, obtained results provide robust support for the links between strategic purchasing, supply management, customer responsiveness and financial performance of an organization. The results are concurred by Ubeda, Alsua and Carrasco, (2015) who support the notion that as an organizational purchasing maturity increase, company performance increases
Strategic purchasing is an approach used in businesses to realize the greatest amount of benefit to the company while still effectively managing the costs associated with the acquisition of raw materials and operational components. Strategic purchasing has increasingly assumed a pivotal role in supply chain management, whilst customer satisfaction is argued to be the key towards sustainable growth. Paulraj, Chen and Flynn, (2006) conducted a study on the level of strategic purchasing (its impact on supply integration and importance) and their study provide strong empirical support for the importance of strategic purchasing by showing that by moving towards the more advanced stages, firms at the nascent stage of strategic purchasing can achieve better supply. It further revealed that strategic purchasing can have a profound impact on supply chain performance for both buyer and supplier. These results are supported by Stefanov and Blanco, (2006), who conducted a study on supply chain strategy as part of customer satisfaction. Obtained results prove that strategic supply leads to customer satisfaction and that it is both beneficial to the organization and the customers.
As discussed, most studies focused on the importance of strategic purchasing to organizational performance, and quite a number focused on the external customer satisfaction towards organization’s performance. However, very few of the studies have intertwined strategic purchasing and internal customer satisfaction. This makes it an interesting line of thought to explore given the fact that both components are essential to growth, and how these component impact each other is of importance.
This section will serve to review the theories on the ground and will link the theories to the objectives of the study.
Source: adapted from www. Marketingstudyguide.com
The disconfirmation theory was first proposed by an American social psychologist Leon Festinger in 1956. This theory was based more on social life, as it was illustrated in the 1956 book titled “when prophecy fails’. (Wikipedia). Festinger et al theorized that some conditions must be present for this to occur. In 1963 Carlsmith and Aronson extrapolated, it follows that this discomfort puts the individual in a negative hedonic state. (Wikipedia). In 1977 Anderson suggested an assimilation contrast model that combines the two mo.
In 1977, Richard Oliver developed the Expectation Confirmation Theory. It is a theory of consumer behavior that seeks to explain consumer satisfaction based on the gap between some performance standard and the actual performance of a product or service as perceived by tis consumer.
Source: adapted from
Expectation Confirmation Theory has four main constructs in the model which include: expectation, performance, disconfirmation, and satisfaction. Expectations serve as the comparison anchor in the theory– what consumers use to evaluate performance and form a disconfirmation judgment (Halstead, 1999). Expectations reflect anticipation (Churchill & Suprenant, 1982). They are predictive over product attributes at some point in the future (Spreng, MacKenzie & Olshavsky, 1996). Performance is an evaluation by the individual after the event, such as a perception of product quality. If a product meets or outperforms expectations (confirmation) post-purchase satisfaction will result. If a product falls short of expectations (disconfirmation) the consumer is likely to be dissatisfied (Spreng, et al., 1996). Typically, disconfirmation is often measured directly, or as a difference score between expectation and performance components.
Many studies have been conducted based on strategic purchasing and internal customer satisfaction but the actual impact of strategic purchasing on internal customer satisfaction has been neither empirically verified nor rigorously examined.
In 1997, Terry Brookshaw and Mile Terziovski assessed the relationship between strategic purchasing and customer satisfaction within a total quality management environment. Eline Van Pouckea, Arjan J. van Weeleb, Paul Matthyssensa, assessed the interrelationship between purchasing maturity, internal customer satisfaction and purchasing performance.
4657725354330Internal customer satisfaction
0Internal customer satisfaction
Variable main variable dependent variable
Concept of purchasing
Purchasing is defined as to buy materials of the right quality, in the right quantity form the right source delivered to the right place at the right time at the right price. (Lysons et al, 2006). Purchasing department has evolved over the years, it has moved from being a mere administrative work to strategic. In this day of age purchasing now demands a sit on the table and contributes strategically to an organisation. According to, Carter and Narasimhan, purchasing does have a role in corporate strategy. For purchasing to have a role in corporate strategy it must have a high status, (Lysons et al, 2002). However the image and status of purchasing is driven by the contribution of the purchasing function to overall corporate performance and to the performance of other functions. (Carter and Narasimhan, 1996).
Source: adapted from A Strategic Purchasing –Global Perspective by Apostolova et al 2015
According to, Henry Mintzberg, a strategy is a noticeable pattern overtime in a stream of corporate decisions. There are three strategy levels that purchasing can use to enhance the chances for firm success (Carter and Narasimhan, 1996), that is, the corporate, business and functional.
Corporate strategy Tactical level functional
Purchasing research Buying methods Expediting
Long range planning negotiations Records and systems maintenance
Predicting availability contracts Invoice clearance
Policy determination etc. Cost reduction techniques Requisitions handling
Source: Figure 1.2 Purchasing Roles (adapted from Bailey et al., 2008)CHAPTER THREERESEARCH METHODOLOGY3.0 Introduction
This chapter will serve to bring insight into the methodology adopted in data collection, analysis and interpretation of the data collected for the study.It will attempt to provide a detailed analysis of the research plan and tools utilized in the actualization of this study. It will elucidate the techniques used in conducting the research, the logic behind the methods employed, and justifications for each of the techniques. The literature review formed the basis on which research methods were chosen. Research methodology will discuss the research design, research instruments and data collection instruments, population, sampling methods, measuring instruments and statistical techniques used to analyse data. It further encompassed discussing research validity and reliability. More also this research project will employ qualitative methods for data collection, with some supporting quantitative data also being collected. This approach is used so that there is room for the researcher to explore the richness and depth of explorations and description.Self administered questionnaire was used to source the primary data with regards of the impact of strategic purchasing on internal customer satisfaction.
According to Leedy and Ormrod (2001:4) research defined as a systematic process of collecting and analysing information (data), in order to increase understanding of the phenomenon in which the researcher is interested.
3.2 Research approach
3.2.1 Qualitative Research
Qualitative research is a methodological approach that examine the why and the how of a decision making not just the where, when, or who and have a strong basis in the field of sociology.Research which attempts to increase understanding of why things are the way they are in social world and why people act the way they do is called “qualitative research” (Marshall & Rossman, 1999). A qualitative approach is used as a vehicle for studying the empirical world from the perspective of the subject, not the researcher (Duffy, 1987).
Qualitative approach has many methods and one of the popular methods is the case study which examines the purposive samples. The researcher used a case study approach. Another form of qualitative research is called cognitive testing or pilot testing which is used in the development of quantitative survey items. Survey items are piloted on study participants to test the reliability and validity of the items (Denzin et al; 2005). According to Jones (2017) qualitative research is concerned about complete and detailed descriptions of events.
The researcher used this approach in carrying out this study because the aim of qualitative research is to describe certain aspects of a phenomenon, with a view to explaining the subject of study (Cormack, 1991). The methodology itself is also described as phenomenology (Duffy, 1985), or as a humanistic and idealistic approach (Leach, 1990), with itself its origins lying in the disciplines of history, philosophy, anthropology, sociology and psychology (Cormack, 1991).This historical foundation, which is not that of the physical science domain, has been cited as one of the great weaknesses of qualitative research.
184.108.40.206 Advantages of qualitative research
It does not need strict design plan before it begins. This gives the researcher the freedom to let the study unfold naturally.
The researcher is able to get more detailed rich data in the form of written descriptions or visual evidence such as photographs.
Qualitative research looks at the context and social effects and how it affects individuals.
More also qualitative research is useful during the early stages of the study when the researcher is no sure of what exactly will be studied or what to focus on.
220.127.116.11 Disadvantages of qualitative research
The researcher will be heavily involved in the process his gives him or her a subjective view of the study and its participants.
The interpretations may be biased as the researcher may interpret the research according to his or her own view.
This research method is time consuming.
3.2.2 Quantitative research
Jones (2017) states that quantitative research emphasizes on the objectivity and the use of statistics. Zappia (2017) stresses that ‘with quantitative research methods, numerical data are gathered and then generalized across groups of people to explain trends or phenomena’. These methods begin from questions such as “how many?” “how often?” “when?” and “where? The following are the advantages and disadvantages of quantitative research according to Zappia (2017). In data analysis and presentation the researcher used quantitative methods.
18.104.22.168 Advantages of quantitative research
Personal bias can be avoided
It is easier to generalize the result and to study broadly.
Quantitative approaches are best when the need is to compare data systematically, such as a comparison between groups or countries.
22.214.171.124 Disadvantages of quantitative research
Quantitative research methods produce primarily numerical descriptions, they don’t yield rich details about behavior, attitudes or emotions.
Because the research is carried out in sterile or artificial environments such as labs, the results don’t accurately reflect real-world situations.
The data for a quantitative study are usually gathered in a fairly rigid way and therefore don’t inspire discovery
It is not suitable in situations where people need to be observed in their daily routines.
3.3 Research designCooper and Schindler (2006:138) stress that research design constitutes a blueprint for the collection, measurement, and analysis of data. Itis the plan and structure of investigation so conceived as to obtain answers to research questions. Research design refers to the overall strategy that you choose to integrate the different components of the study in a coherent and logical way, thereby, ensuring effectiveness in addressing the research problem; it constitutes the blueprint for the collection, measurement and analysis of data. Leedy and Ormrod (2001:91) argues that it is the complete strategy of tackling on the central research problem and it provides the overall structure for the procedures, the data and the data analysis methods that the researcher employs.
According to Sekaran (2000) there are three main types of research designs namely causal research design, descriptive research design and exploratory research design. However the researcher used the descriptive research design.
3.3.3 Descriptive research
Saunders et al (2007) stresses that descriptive research is carried out when there is need to get information on the current status of a person or object. It is a type of research that is undertaken to be able to describe the characteristics of the variables in a situation. This study was conducted using the descriptive survey approach. The method was chosen because it is more precise and accurate since it involves description of events in a carefully planned way (Flyvbierg, 2006). Furthermore, descriptive survey design allows observation of subjects in a completely natural setting and produces rich data that leads to significant recommendations.
3.4 Data collection
Leedy (2001) stresses that the researcher must decide on how the required data will be collected and interpreted before the research proposal is written. According to Greenfield (1996) the mode of data collection is the means by which information is produced and recorded. This includes, inter-alia, face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews, observation of behavior, postal or other self-completion questionnaire etc. Various modes of data collection differ in terms of costs and resources required for gathering data and in terms of the level of detail and complexity of data. According to Babbie (1990) data collection is the process of gathering and measuring information on variables of interest, in an established systematic fashion that enables one to answer stated research questions, test hypothesis, and evaluate outcomes.
3.5.1 Secondary dataAccording to Babbie (1990) secondary data, as the term implies, is essentially ‘second-hand’ in as much as it is not new data collected specifically and primarily for the purpose of the consultancy being conducted. Secondary data should be examined before any data is collected for the first time by the researcher. Secondary data tends to be readily available and inexpensive to obtain. In addition, secondary data can be examined over a longer period of time. For instance, the researcher made use of Delta Beverages financial reports which were derived from the company official website. Cohen and Manion (1980) stress that Secondary data may include a variety of publications, newspapers, journals, text books, economic updates from financial institutions and insurance journals and reports. In literature review the researcher made use of the text books, journals and other publications to asses what other scholars and researchers were saying about the research topic there by enabling the researcher to build the conceptual and theoretical framework. The following are the benefits of using secondary data sources.
126.96.36.199 Advantages of secondary data
It is inexpensive to collect and readily available.
It is not time consuming. Some secondary data can be attained from the internet; by just a few clicks on the computer the researcher can get all the information needed.
Secondary data helps the researcher to understand and get appreciation on the subject matter.
The researcher can compare the data he or she attained and what other researchers have found on the subject matter.
188.8.131.52 Disadvantages of secondary data
Data may be out dated – with the passage of time the data becomes obsolete and very old.
Variation in environment must be considered as data collected in one location may not be suitable or applicable in another.
It can also raise issues of authenticity and copy right.
3.5.2 Primary dataAccording to Hairston and Ruszkiewicz (1996), primary sources are the materials on a topic upon which consequent interpretations or studies are based. Pasuraman (1991) argues that primary data are data collected specifically for the project at hand. The researcher used primary data sources to get relevant information on the study. This was because primary data have greater relevance to the study than secondary data given that the parameters for collecting it will be set by the researcher. In addition this data also have relevance to the study as it is current. Primary sources are records of actions as they are first described, without any interpretation or commentary. They include anything from first hand documents such as poems, diaries and interviews to research results generated by experiments. Iyade (2006) stress that they may also be sets of data, such as census statistics, which have been tabulated, but not interpreted. Primary data is advantageous in that it gives the researcher the chance to conduct an unbiased and extensive study on the research problem set out to solve.However the major challenge associated with primary data is that it has costs associated with collecting it. The researcher made use of the structured questionnaire and interviews to collect primary data from employees.
184.108.40.206 Advantages of primary data
The data is up to date and relevant and the degree of accuracy is high and thus can give the researcher a realistic view about the topic under consideration.
Primary data is more reliable because it is collected by the concerned and reliable party.
220.127.116.11 Disadvantages of primary data
Sometimes researchers may give fake and socially acceptable or incomplete data responses which may be wrong and biased.
High costs- with more people, time and efforts involved the costs become high.
The questionnaires were manually distributed to all the respondents by the researcher According to Kombo (2006), a questionnaire enables regulation of responses, enhancing objectivity and reduces bias. Questionnaires are also familiar to most people, are less costly, and easier to analyse.
3.5Data collection tools
Nachmias (1997:103) defines a questionnaire as ‘a list of questions that must be formulated, constructed and sequenced to produce the most constructive data in the most effective manner. De Vos, et al (2004) state that a questionnaire can be open where by it requests one to reveal his or her opinion on the subject matter or closed, where it requires the responded to respond with a yes or a no. There are two types of questionnaire, namely self-administered, which is completed by respondents themselves, without the assistance of an interviewer. This is done either by distributing the questionnaires and collecting them once they have been completed. Secondly there is the mail questionnaire, which is sent by mail, with the hope that the respondents will complete and return it. As the researcher conducted the research which was qualitative in nature, the researcher preferred the self-administered questionnaire as the best data collection instrument and is the type that the researcher used to get information.
18.104.22.168 Questionnaire administration
The researcher administered the questionnaires to the respondents personally so as to encourage them to quickly respond as most of the times the response rate is very low. A period of seven days was given to the respondents and follow up was made via telephone and emails to check whether the questionnaires were ready for collection.
22.214.171.124 Questionnaire design
According to Greenfield (1996:21) a questionnaire should be short and understandable so that it can be easily answered by the respondent and this ensures that the right answers are elicited for the questions posed. However Leedy and Omrod (2001) stress that the simplicity of the questionnaire is determined by the nature of the research problem. De Vos et al (2004) stresses that a clear questionnaire that has more pages but have clear and user friendly design is better than one with crowded and unfriendly layout.
In this study the researcher used simple questionnaires with short questions and statements. They were understandable and in plain, simple English. The questionnaire design also contained closed questions with a five point scale (Likert scale). The following is the example of the format in accordance with the Likert scale. Some questions required the respondent to give a brief explanation and some demanded a yes or no answer.
Strongly agree Agree Uncertain Strongly disagree Disagree
TABLE 3. SEQ TABLE_3. * ARABIC 1 Lirket scale126.96.36.199 Advantages of questionnaires
According to DeVos et al (2005) the following are the advantages of questionnaires:
High degree of freedom for the respondents in completing the questionnaire and the ability to reach a large number of respondents; the researcher can just distribute the questionnaires to a large number of respondent and collect them after some period of time.
The respondents can answer the questionnaires in the time convenient to them and this ensures and guarantees quality of the responses.
Questionnaires are one of the best research instruments because of their versatility, and simplicity. More also they are easily understandable.
Uniformity of questions – It allows the researcher to get different views on the subject matters that is what people think on a particular matter and therefore enables the researcher to compare the information attained.
188.8.131.52 Disadvantages of questionnaires
High non response rate
Answers may be left out- if the respondent is not sure of the answer or does not fully understand the questions.
Questions wrongly interpreted – this may affect the validity of the response. More also respondents may answer superficially if the questionnaires takes a long time to complete.
Open ended questions can generate large amounts of data that may be cumbersome to interpret. According to De Vos et al (2004) this can be solved by elucidating the scope of the question so that the responses are precise.
Leedy and Ormrod (2001:31) define validity of a measurement instrument as the extent to which the instrument measures what it is supposed to measure. More also, Kerlinger (1992:171) indicates that a valid measuring instrument does what it is intended to do, measure what it is supposed to measure, and yields scores whose differences reflect the true differences of the variable being measured, rather than random or constant errors. The research instrument must be selected or developed carefully to fit the design and the plan for data analysis so that data collected will be useful for answering the research questions. Good research instruments produce valid and reliable results and questionnaires are the right instruments.
According to Miller and Wilson (1983) there are 4 types of validity:
Content validity –Leedy and Omrod (2001) stress that content validity ‘is the extent to which a measuring instrument is a representative sample of the content area (domain) being measured’.
Criterion validity- according to DeVos et al (2004) criterion validity involves multiple measurement and is established by comparing scores on an instrument with an external criterion known, or believed to measure the concept, trait or behaviour being studied.
Construct validity-According to Leedy and Ormrod (2001:78) construct validity is the extent to which an instrument measures a characteristic that cannot be directly observed, but must instead be inferred from patterns in peoples? behaviour. Motivation, creativity, racial bias and stress (the focus of this study) all can be directly observed and measured.
It is the accuracy or precision of the research instrument. It is the extent to which the test would give consistent results if applied more than once to the same people under standard conditions (DeVos; 2004). Godwin (2002) defines reliability as the extent to which events of the same phenomenon are consistent and repeated. He further argues that measures high in reliability contain minimum measurement mistakes.
Managers, support staff and other employees at the company under study were consulted and requested to read and provide ideas for the questionnaire to ensure validity.
The researcher also conducted a pilot study to ensure validity and reliability.
184.108.40.206 Pilot study
Coolican (1999) stresses that piloting involves trying out a questionnaire on a small number of people and thereafter identifying any ambiguities and if necessary adjusting the questionnaire so that it can be clearer before the actual gathering of data. This was done to improve the questionnaire and to make it more clear and understandable so as to ensure that accurate data is collected. It also ensured that the actual respondents have no problem in answering the questions. Saunders et al (2000:305) states that pilot study helps one to “refine the questionnaire so that respondents will have no problems in answering the questions and there will be no problem in recording the data Saunders et al. (2000:308) argues that the number of people on whom one pilots his or her questionnaire depends on the research questions, objectives, the time and financial resources that are available as well as how well one has initially designed the questionnaire.
Another instrument that the researcher used to get primary data is the interviews. According to Cooper and Schidler (2006) a personal interview is a one on one and two way conversation between the interviewee and the interviewer. This research instrument enabled the researcher to get in depth information from the experts and relied on open ended questions. Structured interviews were used.
The use of open ended questions generates detailed information as the respondent is given a chance to elucidate on the subject matter and to reveal his or her opinions.
Unclear questions can also be clarified during the interview- interviews make it easier for the interviewer to clarify or rephrase the questions if the respondent does not understand.
The researcher can get more complete information as the interviewer can probe further when the answers are not clear.
It is inexpensive.
With this instrument it is difficult to reach widely geographically dispersed population.
People may be less likely to provide sensitive information on face to face conversation.
This method is time consuming as the interviewer can only interview one person at a time.
Interviews can be subject to biasness as during the interview the interviewer can approve or disapprove the responses and this can be shown by body language which may encourage or discourage the respondent to make certain responses.
Therefore the researcher used two types of research instruments that are: i. Questionnaires
Singleton et al (1998) defines population as the total collection of elements about which the researcher wishes to make some inferences. It consists of the entire set of objects or people which is the focus of the researcher and about which the researcher wants to determine the characteristics.McClendon (2004:131) stresses that the population of the study is the total number of possible units that are included in the study. It is the total of all units that have a chance of being included in the sample to be studied. The population of Delta Beverages Company is 250 employees which includes contract workers and permanent workers.
3.7.1 Target Population
Borg and Gall (1989) describe target population as all members of a real or hypothetical set of people to which research results are generalised. It is important to distinguish the desired target population and the defined target population. The desired target population is the population of interest to the research. The researcher targeted the IT, Sales, Production Buying and Warehouse departments.
McClendon (2004:5) defines sampling as the process of selecting a subset of units to be studied from a large total called the population. Frey et al (1999) defines a sample as a “subgroup of a targeted population”. It has also been described as a representative “taste” of a group by Berinstein(2001). Kumar (2005:169) argues that the main aim in selecting a sample is to attain maximum accuracy in your estimations within a given sample size and to avoid prejudice in the selection of your sample size. According to Cohen and Manion (1980) there are two methodologies of sampling that are probability sampling and non probability sampling.
The researcher did a study based on the four departments that are mining (production), reduction, engineering and technical service and the sample size of the researcher was 35 respondents taken from these departments at Vubachikwe mine. The following table shows the breakdown of the number of respondents selected from each department.
Department Number of employees
Production (mining) 10
Technical service 7
TABLE 3. SEQ TABLE_3. * ARABIC 2 Breakdown of respondents from each department220.127.116.11 Probability sampling
In this method there is a possibility of selecting each member in the population. This means that the members of the population have a chance to be selected and the researcher knows it. However, probability samples are the only type of samples where the results can be generalized from the sample to the population. In addition, probability samples allow the researcher to calculate the precision of the estimates obtained from the sample and to specifythe sampling error. Birley and Moreland (1998: 45) identify three types of probability sampling that a researcher may choose from, namely, random, stratified and cluster. Sampling involves taking a representative range of the population and using the data collected as research evidence. The sample should be representative, meaning that each sampled unit will represent the characteristics of a known number of units in the population (Lohr, 2000).
18.104.22.168 Non probability sampling
In this type the chances of being included in the sample are unknown. Non probability sampling does not allow the study’s findings to be generalised. When discussing the results of a nonprobability sample, the researcher must limit his/her findings to the persons or elements sampled. This procedure also does not allow the researcher to calculate sampling statistics that provide information about the precision of the results. The advantage of nonprobability sampling is the ease in which it can be administered. Non probability samples tend to be less. Black (1999; 118) stresses the types of non probability sampling are stage, purposive, quota, snowball and volunteer or accidental or convenience sampling. However Fog (2008) stresses that of these the three common types of non probability samples are convenience sampling, quota sampling, and judgmental sampling.
22.214.171.124 Judgmental sampling
This sampling technique was used by the researcher in this study. It allowed the researcher to choose who to include in the sample. Cohen and Manion (1980) stress that in this technique the researcher ’employs her own expert judgment about who to include in the sample. Babbie, (1990) argues that purposive or judgmental sampling is selecting a sample “on the basis of your own knowledge of the population, its elements, and the nature of your research aims”.This means that, the population that is “non-randomly selected based on a particular characteristic” (Frey, 2000). This technique was used from the onset that is in selecting the company to research on Delta Beverages was selected as the organization convenient for the study as it is facing competition and is striving to cut the costs through the utilization of supply chain management information systems. It was also used in the distribution of questionnaires and the carrying out of interviews.
The researcher used judgmental sampling and convenience/ accidental sampling
During the study, confidential information was collected and due to the nature and sensitivity of the information the researcher adhered to a strict confidentiality code in order to protect the privacy of organisations.
According to Cooper and Schindler (2003:16) “A research design should not cause mental or physical harm to participants and should make data integrity a first priority”. Goche (2012) stresses that ethical concerns in research reflect vital moral issues about the practice of responsible behaviors in society. Some unethical activities include violating non-disclosure agreements, breaking respondent confidentiality, misrepresenting results, deceiving people, and invoicing irregularities (Saunders et al; 2007).
3.9 Data analysis
According to Kerlinger (1992) data analysis is whereby the analyst or the researcher breaks down data into constituent parts to obtain answers to research questions. Data analysis involves breaking up data into manageable themes, patterns, trends and relationships. The aim of analysis is to understand the different constitutive elements of the data through the assessment of the variables that is how does the use of supply chain management information systems in managing supply chains help the company to attain competitive advantage.
This research project therefore explored how supply chain information systems can be enhanced in supply chain management and how consequently can be enhanced to ensure that the supply chain is efficient and effective; this used as a competitive strategy. The researcher used pie charts, tables and graphs to present the collected information. Information was then interpreted and descriptive analysis was used to analyse data and findings were stated on the basis of quantitative analysis; this helped the researcher to detect the errors, bias and mistakes.
3.10 Chapter summary
This chapter served to elucidate the data collection techniques that were utilized citing the validity and the reliability of each and how data was to be analyzed. The methodology was based on primary data based on interviews and questionnaires. The sampling unit included 30 employees of Delta Beverages Company from 5 departments that are buying, stores, sales, production and IT. The researcher also eluded the different sampling techniques and chose two under non probability sampling that is judgmental and convenience or accidental sampling. The next chapter will dwell on the analysis and interpretation of the research findings.
DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
The previous chapter looked at research methodology and how data was collected to answer research problems. This chapter highlights and discusses research findings that were relevant to sub problems
ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF RESULTS