A performance improvement framework for industrial value chains
In response to the factual gaps in literature regarding performance improvement in industrial value chains, this study proposes a performance improvement framework specific to industrial value chains by attending to three specific objectives, namely, identifying the crucial tenets for highly performing value chains, identifying the latent factors influencing performance in value chains and lastly, identifying the key components for a performance improvement framework in value chains. A three phase sequential mixed method approach was employed to meet these demands. Firstly, documentary content analysis established policy and regulatory certainty, a common frame of reference, presence of core competencies, government involvement and initiative, protection of property rights, quality logistical services, cluster development and a trusting culture are the core tenets required to ensure a high performance value chain. Secondly, a survey on 233 value chain experts from the cotton value chain in Zimbabwe with both exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses used to discover and confirm value chain linkages, internal rivalry, diversity, and value chain governance, solution to collective action problems, collective action regimes, governance goals, and value chain competitiveness as the underlying performance factors in value chains. Lastly, a grounded theory approach using five focus groups identified transformational leadership teams, productive relationships, effective learning environment, cultural change, strategic fit, performance measurement systems, value chain information systems, capacity alignment systems, and effective logistics systems as key components for performance improvement which should be implemented in three phases, namely, establishing a performance improvement foundation, implementing the improvement processes and realigning capacities and material flows in the value chain. The study recommends a need for government involvement in value chain initiatives, improved knowledge and skills, sector specific training institutions, property rights protection, collective planning and governance in the value chain to stimulate the effectiveness and efficiency of the value chain operations. The study contributes to the theoretical aspects of the business management body of knowledge by way of the performance improvement framework that specifically addresses the needs of industrial value chains. From a practical point of view, this study thus provides a decision platform from which policymakers and managers can formulate and execute cogent mechanisms that sustain performance in industrial value chains. Lastly, the proposed performance improvement framework (PIF) acts as a major step forward in guiding further research in terms of closing the gaps on value chain performance in extant literature.