The concept of supply chain management includes the entire process followed by the organizations from production to delivery to the customers (Christopher, 2016). Therefore, supply chain management includes procurement of raw materials, manufacturing and distribution of the finished products to the customers. Supply chain management is essential as the process helps in optimization of the procedure in order to maximize both efficacy and speed.
This assignment emphasizes on the supply chain management of Trip Advisor, a tourism organization offering a wide range of services including hotel booking, flights, cruise packages and other forums. However, for this essay, the supply chain management of travel planning by Trip Advisor is discussed along with linking the activities of the company with various theories and sustainability throughout the value chain.
Trip Advisor is a travel company with business spread at a worldwide scale offering various services to the customers including hotel bookings, flight bookings, cruise services and interactive travel forums ("TripAdvisor: Read Reviews, Compare Prices & Book", 2017). The company was established in 2000 and has earned great reputation and acknowledgement for the services and facilities provided by them. The organization was first of its kind to undertake user generated content for the business. Trip Advisor is accessible to customers globally and is highly facilitated by the customers. The customers for planning their travel extensively use the facility of Trip Advisor provided by the company.
However, the company has encountered controversy, as anonymous reviews were posted about the hotels listed with the organization. As a result, 30 hotels were blacklisted due to the suspicious reviews posted on the website. The matter was resolved by thorough investigation and the company came out clean (Cochrane, 2017). In spite of the controversies encountered by the company, the hotel booking facility offered by the organization is highly used and rated among the customers.
Supply Chain Management of the organization
The tour operators, travel agencies, suppliers and customers are the main factors that form the supply chain of the tourism service industry (Stadtler, 2015). Supply chain management of the tourism industry includes basic services such as transport, accommodation, entertainment and restaurants. Trip Advisor is one of the largest travel sites with 1.8 million businesses across the world. The organization offers travel-planning facilities for more than 655,000 hotels and flights globally.
Noticeable differences are indentified between the manufacturing and service supply chain management. Though the components of both the supply chain management include production system, logistics system, finished goods inventory, suppliers and customer relations, the features are different. As mentioned by Seuring (2013), features of the service supply chain management include a pull that is initiated according to the demand of the customers, customization, responsive and critical evaluation of the overall success.
The success of the service industry is greatly facilitated by the demand of the customers. Trip Advisor is a tourism company that offers travel-planning facility for the customers. Therefore, the customer demands needs to be used as the ground of developing and designing the supply chain for the service industries. For example, if the offers provided to the customers are not according to the demand of the customers, it will be wasted. Initially, the company needs to evaluate the current market situation in order to know the preferable travel destinations by the customers. This is because the objective of the company is to satisfy the tourists by offering them appropriate travel planning of the most preferred tourist destinations.
As demonstrated in the figure, the main objective of Trip Advisor is to improve satisfaction level of the tourists that plans travel through their website. This can be measured by evaluating the market as a whole and by its components. After, knowing the demands of the customers in terms of the preferred tourist destinations that include accommodation, entertainment, flights, sightseeing and restaurant, Trip Advisor advertises the name and offer of destinations for the customers.
Linking company activities and theories
As mentioned by Ahi & Searcy (2013), supply chain management is defined as the flow of information and services across a network of customers, enterprises and supply chain collaborates from the service industry perspectives. According to the business nature of Trip Advisor, services include accommodation, entertainment, flights and restaurant in terms of the supply chain management. The company needs to advertise the list of hotels that can be booked through their website. The advertisement needs to include the rates of the hotels, the location along with rates of the food and services. The offers advertised by the Trip Advisor need to be according to the income of the target customers. For example, the company offers hotel booking for both premium and normal customers. The company also needs to advertise the list of probable flights, hotels, entertainment, accommodation, and restaurant and sightseeing that are important for planning a travel or trip.
As commented by Chen et al., (2012), the keys of effective supply chain management for service industry are information, communication, cooperation and trust. Trip Advisor needs to establish effective communication with the customers and the hotels. Effective communication with the hotels will allow the company to understand the capability of the hotels providing offers and communicate those offers through advertisement with the customers. This will allow Trip Advisor to prevent falsification of information from both ends. According to Dekker et al., (2013), procurement is defined as the direct purchase from suppliers over the internet. E-procurement is important for Trip Advisor, as this will allow the company to conduct business-to-business and business-to-customer activities. The spending analysis will enable Trip Advisor to improve the procurement process by reducing costs and the number of suppliers.
According to Wisner, Tan & Leong (2014), the concept of forecasting highlights the ability of the company to forecast the demands and expectations of the customers and provide offers accordingly. Accurate forecasting provides an opportunity for Trip Advisor to keep both the suppliers and the customers updated. For example, if there is any sudden modification in the hotels and flights booked by the customer for their travel, Trip Advisor notifies the customers accordingly. This helps both the suppliers and the customers to pre-plan accordingly and avoid any embarrassments. This will allow Trip Advisor manage the travel planning by reducing the inventory for the company and increasing the speed of the customer delivery.
Sustainability through the value chain
Improving the quality, profitability and efficiency by relating with the value chain of the organization is the main objective of the supply chain management. According to Ahi & Searcy (2013), active engagement of the organization with the supply chain management increases the performance and efficiency of the operations for both the company and the customers. The customers of the company are only satisfied if they receive high-quality services (Chen et al., 2012). Therefore, the success of the organization is highly dependent on the quality of the service provided by the organization to the customers. According to Dekker et al., (2013), the strategies undertaken by the organization for continuing supply chain management effectively enables the company to perform the tasks in accordance with the supply chain. Additionally, the relevant information gathered is also included with the supply chain so that the information flows smoothly throughout the company. This allows the organization to monitor effectively the activities of the organization by following the responses of the feedbacks and responses received by the customers. Considering the feedbacks of the customers thereby, helps in accurate and instant decision-making by the organization. Therefore, the qualities of the services of each task of the supply chain management are enhanced along with increasing the overall efficiency of the value chain. The customers get high quality products and services due to enhanced supply chain management thereby, resulting in increased satisfaction of the customers (Wisner, Tan & Leong, 2014).
Based on the information gathered about Trip Advisor, it can be suggested that the organization considers the supply chain management extremely significant and also considers it as the main driver for the success of the company. In order to manage the supply chain appropriately, Trip Advisor uses the information system accurately. This allows the organization to include the real time information to the supply chain activities. The aforementioned points can be proven with the help of an online website that is used by the organization. The online application used by Trip Advisor helps in operating the entire tour that includes transport, accommodation, safety and sustainability. The online application serves as an information system for the supply chain management by providing audit reports for the organization. The audit reports include reviewing the performance of the suppliers along with incorporating the best services within the supply chain management. This enables the organization to make decisions accurately and enhance the supply chain management. In order to ensure quality within the activities of the supply chain, Trip Advisor also involves their employees and infrastructures. The trained employees those are a part of the organization and serve the customers prove this (Lavastre, Gunasekaran & Spalanzani, 2012).
As commented by Wilkinson (2013), the supply chain management of the product and the service industry are distinct from each other largely. The supply chain management of the service industry or the tourism industry mainly emphasizes on demand management, establishing effective relationship with the partners, managing the supply of food and other basic requirements to the customers. It also includes appropriate coordination and cooperation. The online application used by Trip Advisor considers all the aforementioned factors within a particular framework thereby, supporting Trip Advisor to plan and conduct tour accordingly. This allows undertaking a sustainable approach towards the supply chain management of the organization.
Due to the use of the online application, Trip Advisor is able to obtain the best prices within their supply chain. This is because the online application acts as a single platform that allows the management of the organizations to monitor the performance of their suppliers, the changing demands of the supply chain. Moreover, the use of the application allows Trip Advisor to monitor the actions of the supply chain online. Therefore, without being present physically, Trip Advisor is able to synchronize the tasks, communicate effectively and work with collaboration. Trip Advisor is also able to enhance the quality of their services by taking into account the audits they receive through online platform. Supposedly, the audit report might enlighten the unnecessary backwashing of the filter pools (Barney, 2012). Therefore, Trip Advisor can use the audit report received online for enhancing the quality of their services by undertaking suitable measures. As mentioned by Krajewski, Ritzman & Malhotra (2013), the main reason of success for supply chain management is effective communication. Communication allows clear and smooth of information throughout the supply chain management thereby, making it easy for the various activities to be completed. Therefore, communication helps in maintaining supply chain effectively and smooth running of the services. The use of the online application by Trip Advisor allows the organization to establish and continue real time communication. This allows the organization to ensure that the service from the supplier’s end is passed to the customers’ end effectively and appropriately without any hindrances. Therefore, the use of online application by Trip Advisor allows the organization to monitor and manage the services from the supplier’s to the customers and helps in maintaining a sustainable tourism for the organization (Waller & Fawcett, 2013).
In this assignment, it can be concluded that supply chain management plays a significant role for business organizations as this helps in maximizing overall productivity. Trip Advisor is one of the largest online tourism company that offers variety tourism services that includes hotel booking, flight booking and travel planning. Trip Advisor can maintain sustainability by reducing the seasonality demand of tourism, reducing the impact of transport caused by tourism transport and by making tourism for all tourists that includes both physically and economically challenged individuals. Trip Advisor can also ensure sustainability by informing the tourist from before the environmental aspect of the destination community.
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