Dynamics of demand order management on the just In Time approach : a case at a stationery distributor.
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The challenges of demand order management on the underlying Just in Time (JIT) approach need a long-term solution in order to reduce expenses and enhance supply chain performance. Demand management is a very important aspect of managing one’s organisation, especially in the presence of a volatile environment, full of competitors, global pressures and sustainability requirements. Thus, organisations are placed in a position where it has become necessary to implement strategies such as the JIT approach to meet demand with minimal resources and costs. Poor demand management decisions taken in forecasting therefore increase business risk and costs. The study aims to establish the effect of information sharing and collaborative forecasting within an organisation. The demand alignment may pose some problems leading to inefficiency in customer service, poor stock rotation and a high obsolescence rate aggravated by the diversity of products. Demand management sought the rapid and appropriate integration of the needs arising from the market in the direction of the suppliers in order to balance and strategically align demand with operational capacity along the supply chain. However, the concept of demand management is not yet understood by supply chain agents as the major cause of failure is accredited to not achieving chain coordination due to the poor understanding of demand leading to inadequate customer service, poor stock rotation and large obsolescence rates. The main aspects underpinning this study are: demand management; JIT; order fulfilment; information sharing; order synchronisation; and demand order variability and flexibility, and forecasting. The objectives of the study are: to determine the challenges of dynamic demand management under the JIT order fulfilment system; to establish the effects of information sharing and collaborative forecasting for efficient operational demand management; to explore the extent of demand order variability and flexibility on the underlying JIT system; and to analyse the role of order synchronisation fulfilment to facilitate the balanced alignment of demand and supply order management. The nature of this study suggests the use of an exploratory case study design to explore the dynamics of demand management with the JIT system employed by the organisation under study. A qualitative research approach was used in this study as it added more value when determining the issues faced in the organisation. The study was conducted in KwaZulu-Natal at the Durban head office. The sampling type employed was purposive sampling. The total sample size is three. Face-to-face semi-structured interviews were used as a means of data collection. Thematic analysis was used to analyse data in the primary qualitative research in this study. The findings of this study suggest that communication and real-time data are matters of concern. These factors contribute to the poor demand management in the organisation. The results indicate that improvements in these aspects are imperative to the success of demand management processes. Effective management of communication between departments is recommended as well as more involvement from top management. Information systems that provide real time data should also be adopted. The managerial implications indicate that demand management does not depend on one specific department and is the responsibility of every supply chain member involved in the supply chain network as synchronisation plays a vital role in the balancing of demand and supply.