Developing hospitality innovation through Supply Chain Collaboration

O'Brien, Darren (2009) Developing hospitality innovation through Supply Chain Collaboration. Masters thesis, Waterford Institute of Technology.

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As economic clouds darken and the pressure on hospitality providers to cut costs and maintain competitiveness grows, the requirement for innovation and product development in the tourism sector continues to be of critical importance. The important question for the next decade is not whether hospitality organisations should innovate but rather how can they develop their innovative capability and what steps should they be taking to improve the likelihood of success in their innovation activities. Despite ongoing academic and practitioner research the answer to these important questions remains largely unanswered; as highlighted by Ottenbacher & Gnoth (2005) research on how to innovate in tourism and hospitality is not always clear. Recognising the significant gap in the innovation and business strategy literature this paper seeks to address a single aspect of these complex questions by empirically investigating whether one organisational activity, that of supply chain collaboration, plays a role in facilitating innovation in Irish hospitality. Integrating suppliers into new product development has been found to be successful in improving the innovative capability of manufacturing organisations (Petersen, Handfield & Ragatz, 2005). However, some debate centres on whether techniques used by the manufacturing sector to enhance integration, such as supply chain management, can be applied to the service sector (Smith & Xiao, 2007; Murphy & Smith, 2009). Given that many hospitality operators do not have specific R&D departments, partnerships with suppliers are a potentially valuable way to support new product development (Jones, 1996), yet there is evidence to suggest that because of the ease by which service innovations can be imitated, service firms are often loath to share information and are less inclined to participate in collaborative networks (Sundbo, Orfila-Sintes & Sorenson, 2007). The research conducted involved a postal survey of 300 hospitality businesses and a number of interviews with case examples. The objective of which is to identify the extent to which supplier collaboration is practiced by hospitality organisations and to -ascertain if high levels of supply chain collaboration impact upon innovative capability. The findings of the research indicate that whilst levels of trust and loyalty to suppliers are high, hospitality firms can certainly do more to proactively facilitate the deepening of their supply chain relationships. Organisations that go that extra mile and have entered into partnerships, involving the sharing of costs and resources with suppliers, have found it possible to develop unique selling points not available to competitors. The findings of the research point to a clear inter-dependency between the level of collaboration, information exchange, and risk sharing which in turn collectively impact upon an organisation‟s innovative capability. The research findings provide empirical support of the author‟s assertion that increased supplier involvement can be of benefit to the development of an innovative capability in hospitality organisations. The implications of the study being that, for both practitioners and policy makers, links with suppliers should be encouraged in order to facilitate the development of an innovative capability. The findings are of great importance, particularly for the Irish tourism sector dominated by small to medium enterprises (SME‟s) which may lack the individual resources to invest in research and development activities alone.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Supply chain management, hospitality industry
Departments or Groups: *NONE OF THESE*
Divisions: School of Humanities > Department of Languages, Tourism and Hostpitality
Depositing User: Derek Langford
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2009 16:27
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2016 10:26

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