Qualitative assessment of the impact of political disruptions on textiles supply chain performance in Pakistan

Asif, M 2017, Qualitative assessment of the impact of political disruptions on textiles supply chain performance in Pakistan, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Fashion and Textiles, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Qualitative assessment of the impact of political disruptions on textiles supply chain performance in Pakistan
Author(s) Asif, M
Year 2017
Abstract With growing regional competition, burgeoning global demand, increased pressure for service improvement and heavy reliance on the textile industry, it is important to understand the complex relationships between political disruptions and supply chain performance. Political disruptions within or outside the textile production system not only affect the processes of ginning, spinning, and weaving, but also the distribution of goods to the end consumers. For firms it is relatively easy to control the production systems, but it is challenging to manage disruptions that emanates from external stimuli. An improved understanding of this relationship will enable Pakistan to enhance its competiveness in a globalised market.

There are a number of studies that have investigated transportation risks, disruptions associated with systems failure, and the impacts that natural disasters such as flooding and bushfires have on supply chain performance. The impacts of political disruptions on supply chain performance in Pakistan however are rarely examined empirically. In particular, there is a lack of interdisciplinary research that provides a deeper understanding of the role of political structures and processes resulting in a political disruption while linking it to the efficiency of production and distribution systems of the textile industry.

This thesis investigates the complex relationship between political disruptions and the supply chain disruptions that are linked with supply chain performance. This research was conducted using a structuration theory framework, with reference to domination, signification, and legitimation, which collectively provide the basis for exploring the role of agents, the methods they adopt to communicate message and how they used power and resources to fulfil their demand for change through creating disruptions. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with twenty five agents representing textile organisations, third party logistics providers, and interest groups.

An investigation into the role played by agents shows the complexity of the interwoven relationships between political disruptions and supply chain performance. Interviewees have recognised political disruptions as a key threat to the efficiency of textile supply chain. Yet they are inadequately understood and insufficiently managed. They have multiple forms, sources and variegated effects. It is found that they collectively create interlinked and interlocking vicious cycles within which political disruptions across different stages of supply chain are embedded as a repetitive system.

The interpretation of interview data enabled the development of a typology of political disruptions that further indicates external political disruptions to have a much wider impact on external supply chain operations than they do on internal processes. These disruptions can slow down or in some cases stop external supply chain operations such as procurement of materials and distribution of finished goods to markets. External disruptions also have a direct effect on the internal operations in that they cause an interruption in the production process. Internal textile production operational performance is based on external supply chain activities; this is because external disruptions lie outside the direct influence of the textile manufacturers.

The findings of this study indicate that textile supply chain disruptions reflect the multitude of methods used by agents to exchange the messages to bring social and economic change through political resistance. It is often achieve through systematically organised disruptions of the supply chain systems by agents which directly or indirectly interrupt the seamless flow of raw materials between facilities or the distribution of finished goods to end-customers political groups, manufacturers, the labour force, labour unions, supply chain operators, interest groups and customers. The findings from the interview data indicate that, disruptions in the Pakistan textile industry can emanate from internal or external environment, especially when agents are intentionally or unintentionally enabled to allocate resources. Manufacturers exercise their transformative capabilities to bring about desirable changes towards achieving the optimum utilisation of finite resources (raw materials, labour input) through production planning, scheduling, and execution.

With reference to signification, agents can have the most impact on supply chain performance through their interpretive schemes used to plan and deploy different methods of communication to transmit their messages to the targeted audience. It is found that politically motivated strikes are often considered as a means to communicate the messages for change and social transformation to the authorities in power to achieve certain purposes such as a pay rise in case of labour strike or resistance to certain laws by political parties or interest groups. These disruptions, some subtle others extreme, create major transportation bottlenecks, delivery delays, and labour supply issues which in turn have had significant implications on supply chain performance. Lower performance was shown to be attributed to the constant threat of political disruptions that were affecting the efficiency of supply chain operations.

Interview results show that, textile supply chain disruptions are a result of agent’s mismanagement or intentional use of their allocative powers and the methods that they used to communicate the message. The means of communication depends on the agent’s situation and thus the impact occurs accordingly. Results show that, militants groups use extreme methods as a tool to communicate their messages to the targeted audience which in turn create direct effect on the transportation infrastructure and service operations. Pakistan’s political system has been affected as a result of conflicts from both inside and outside the country. These conflicts have included wars with neighbouring countries, a lack of political leadership, internal political conflicts, and interference from non-political agents. The results indicate that, political disruptions are not isolated events but are part of the political processes and institutional structures within which the disruptions germinate and grow. The political disruptions are not just linked to political systems but also the way textile manufacturers organise work within their organisations. This politically organised structure within the production systems has significant impact on supply chain performance.

In this thesis, a supply chain strategic framework was developed to help mitigate the likely impact of political disruptions on textile supply chain performance. This strategic framework can work as a comprehensive guide for textile manufacturing firms to engage in continuous improvement, information sharing, process integration, process synchronisation, and the establishment of mutual trust. Firms can adjust supply chain operations by devising and deploying tactics and strategies to adapt to the potential threat from political disruptions. Further research however is required to evaluate the effectiveness of these strategies to help firms employing politically-engaging practical methods to tackle the threat of political disruptions to textile supply chain. Future research will consider collecting objective data to gather information of the scale and intensity of political disruptions to find ways to enhance textile supply chain performance in Pakistan.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Fashion and Textiles
Subjects Textile Technology
Manufacturing Management
Logistics and Supply Chain Management
Keyword(s) Supply chain performance
Supply chain disruptions
Political disruptions
Lead time
Textiles
Supply chain operators
Labour force
Interest groups
Manufacturers
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Created: Fri, 07 Jul 2017, 15:26:30 EST by Adam Rivett
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