Original Research

The bullwhip effect phenomenon in automotive supply chains in South Africa

M. J. Naude, J. A. Badenhorst-Weiss
Acta Commercii | Vol 11, No 1 | a161 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v11i1.161 | © 2011 M. J. Naude, J. A. Badenhorst-Weiss | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 December 2011 | Published: 06 December 2011

About the author(s)

M. J. Naude, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
J. A. Badenhorst-Weiss, University of South Africa, South Africa

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Purpose: The purpose of the article is to report on research that was completed to explore the concept of the bullwhip effect in supply chains and to illustrate empirically the presence of the bullwhip effect in automotive supply chains in South Africa.

Problem Investigated: This article investigates the presence of the bullwhip effect - which was identified through an empirical study - and its causes and implications for supply chain management in the South African automotive component industry.

Methodology: A literature study was conducted on the causes and implications of the bullwhip effect phenomenon. This was followed by an empirical study in the form of a survey among South African automotive component manufacturers. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to determine the significant supply chain problems relating to the bullwhip effect in automotive supply chains.

Findings and Implications: The results indicate that automotive component manufacturers are dependent on demand-forecasting information from their customers. They experience long lead times, fluctuating orders, cancellation of orders, excess and slow moving inventory and a lack of integration with suppliers and customers. There are also signs of relationship problems and a possible silo mentality. The mentioned results indicate the presence of the bullwhip effect in South African automotive supply chains. Since the bullwhip effect can have a major impact on organisations' costs, knowing where to invest effort and resources should be a high priority for supply chain managers.

Value of the Research: Since the field of supply chain management is extremely dynamic, this article contributes to the body of knowledge and provides new insight into the bullwhip effect phenomenon. The results included in this article could assist parties in automotive supply chains to focus their attention on problems that might be within their control and if solved could lead to improved competitiveness. Furthermore, there is little empirical research on this topic in the South African automotive component industry.

Conclusion: It is possible that the bullwhip effect is responsible for inefficiencies in automotive supply chains. Knowledge of the indicators of the bullwhip effect can enable supply chain managers to identify it at an early stage and thus be proactive in preventing its costly influence on the efficiency of the supply chain. The bullwhip effect can be experienced by any industry. This is possibly the case in the automotive component industry in South Africa.


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