Building Interdisciplinary Approaches within Management : The Case of Quality and Logistics

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Institutionen för ekonomisk och industriell utveckling


This research attempt, as its title witnesses, aims to build interdisciplinary approaches and to bridge gaps within management. Management and more specific, management of industrial organizations is a scientific discipline that consists of many different fields of interest. In industrial organizations, different parties of people, such as managers, engineers and workers are asked to communicate and collaborate towards common organizational targets and goals. This is were this research finds fertile ground, and tries to bridge the gaps between the quality management philosophy and corporate culture and the evolving, value adding functions and processes of logistics.

In particular, the gaps between quality management and logistics were bridged by a demonstration of the applicability of quality management practices –tools and methodologies- in a logistics context. This was conducted by an extensive exploratory research by means literature analysis of both management disciplines. The present situation, put in academic literature, was investigated and thoughtful reflections and suggestions for further use of quality management practices within logistics were provided.

All the quality management tools and methodologies examined were found, with one or another way, to be employed in logistics processes. Numerous examples demonstrating the universality of quality management concepts and techniques were identified. When it comes to the specific management area of logistics, eight quality management practices were found particularly useful, with three of them, namely Service Quality, SPC and Benchmarking to be well known, and to some extent, mature within logistics. However, empirical research, of qualitative and quantitative nature, is needed to confirm the trends recognized here.

The suggestions and reflections provided throughout this work indicate actions to be taken by logistics managers, in order to apply well known and widely accepted, cost saving and quality improvement, practices to their operations. In addition, these suggestions and their potential, constitute a challenging field for further research were new, applicable to logistics, quality management tools and methodologies can be found and ones that already exist can be enhanced.

The originality of this work can be found in that it thesis tries to bring conceptually closer two management areas that although have many values in common are not perceived as working on the same track, towards the same goals. This research adds value in the way that illustrates, in an extensive and formal way, that there should be no barriers within management.

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