AISCR current research projects are as follows
1. PUBLIC PROCUREMENT MATURITY AND CAPABILITY ASSESSMENT TOWARDS SOCIO-ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION IN AFRICA
This project seeks to examine the maturity of public procurement practices in Africa. Procurement has now become a talking subject and an area across all spheres of government on which citizens are raising major concerns and procurement is perceived as being handled in a way that ﬁnancially beneﬁts a few individuals. Laws and regulations governing are intentionally ignored or ﬂouted by government officials resulting to corruption, fruitless, wasteful and unauthorised expenditures. In many cases, government practitioners’ do not understand the strategic importance of procurement and its link to quality service delivery, socio-economic development, inclusive growth as well as industrialisation. The project involves examining public procurement compliance to policies and regulations, strategic procurement planning methods, procurement methods; use of procurement to promote socio-economic objectives; contract and supplier performance management; the use of e-procurement and ICT; use ethical leadership and governance. The specific objectives of the project are:
- To understand the skills profile of practitioners in various organs of state (government).
- To determine how procurement capacity development strategies are implemented.
- To determine the extent to which practitioners comply with policies and regulations.
- To understand how procurement is perceived as a lever to achieve government’s policy objectives towards service delivery (in respect of enterprise and supplier development; job creation, localisation, economic development, small business development etc).
- To evaluate how strategic sourcing and category management is implemented.
- To determine how the application of E-procurement and ICT systems can improves service delivery.
- To determine the extent to which procurement spend analytics assist officials with informed decisions.
- To determine how contract and supplier performance are managed.
- To determine the levels of procurement governance, monitoring and compliance
- Understanding of the role of the Accounting Officers and the delegation of powers within the public procurement environment.
- To investigate how procurement system conforms to ethical standards.
- To determine the level at which dispute and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms are employed.
The project will be executed by way of case studies and surveys on different organs of states (Local, Provincial, Provincial, Entities etc) across the continent.
The project aims provide executive insights and awareness of public procurement issues in Africa. The recommendations on the specific objectives will assist policy decision makers in addressing socio-economic challenges in the continent. The expected deliverables for the project includes:
- Determining the state of procurement and maturity level for each organ of state and country;
- Identify public procurement knowledge gaps and develop practical solutions to mitigate gaps.
- Develop innovative practical solutions to empower public procurement professionals with relevant knowledge, skills and competencies.
- Create a public procurement professionalisation road map for practitioners in the continent.
Prof IM Ambe
2. THE ARTS AND SCIENCE OF PUBLIC PROCUREMENT: AN AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE
Majority of academic researches on public procurement have focused on high-level procurement approaches prevalent in developed nations. The realities of the rudimentary procurement issues that developing nations in Africa are still grappling with have been scarcely delineated in the literature. Within the last decades, African nations have continued to engage in the reform of public procurement with a view to increasing accountability, competition, transparency and obtain value for money. The extent of the success or failure of these reforms, however, remains a subject of debate with widespread opinions that the public sector has failed to deliver as required. On one hand, there is evidence of the lack in the ‘science side’ of public procurement. This includes deficiencies in technology, analytical skills and quantitative methods. The awareness of this gap orchestrated the prominent ambition to acquire technology related infrastructure to effectively drive public procurement processes in Africa nations. Howbeit, there is evidence on the other hand of the challenges that are less technical/physical. These are intrinsically embedded in a combination of politics, culture and behavioural dynamics and could be categorised as the ‘art side’ of the procurement discipline.
This art side /softer aspects of public procurement are less detectable and often neglected in the management considerations in African nations. There is evidence that the failures in public procurement in African nations are largely because of these less detectable ‘managerial’ components. Research results shows that multiple stakeholders govern public procurement with conflicting objectives relating to economy, society, politics and innovation/ technology. While there is a conscious drive to acquire technology and innovation to enhance public procurement procedures in Africa, the understanding of the conflicting objectives of the stakeholders remains inherently complex and difficult to deal with. Accordingly, the need to gain insight in the humanities and social behavioural sciences is considered critical for public procurement to thrive in Africa.
- Explore the dynamics of the ‘art and science’ of public procurement in the African continent.
- Provide a distinctive explanation of the behavioral/managerial and technological/innovative issues of public procurement in the African continent.
- Outline a clear road map for practitioners, researchers and policy makers on the contextual phenomenon to enhance proper formulation of public procurement policies and strategies in the African continent.
A case study approach would be employed to explore the phenomena in different African nations. Themes would be identified and analysed across the case studies with action research, systems thinking concepts. The reflective, interactive process would facilitate sense making and development of models.
Project Leader: Dr Ehimen
3. AN INTEGRATED TRANSPORT PLANNING APPROACH: A SUSTAINABLE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE FOR THE AFRICAN CONTINENT
Transport remains an indispensable element that links the logistics system with the entire supply chain management. The logistics system is reliant on the cost-effective means of transport that is capable of moving passengers, goods and services from one geographical point to another. For all these to take place throughout the entire continent of Africa, there has to be a solid transport infrastructure in place and should be supported by standard and yet contemporary innovative technology. A world class transport infrastructure is sought to bring about efficiency and effectiveness in the logistics landscape of an enterprise. The logistics industry needs to demonstrate this by constantly minimizing the input costs with a view to optimizing output and thus contributing to a favorable difference between total revenue and total logistics costs. In any supply chain or logistics management setting, the containment of costs would depend on laying down the world class standard transport infrastructure that would enable the efficient operation of the system. An efficient transportation system would be in place when the principles of efficient operations are applied throughout the entire supply chain. A transport system’s reliability is reliant on maintaining the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) throughout the entire transport infrastructure value chain.
The purpose of this project is to place the discipline of Transport Economics and Planning as a central link that enables the efficient movement of goods, passengers and services throughout the entire supply chain. The main question is,
- to what extent are Transport Economists and Planners able to unleash their understanding of the discipline and thus demonstrating Africa’s wealth of knowledge in the field of transport planning?
- Is there compatibility between the current transport planning knowledge offered by academic institutions and the real operating turbulent macro-environmental space?
- Transport economics and planning have become much more indispensable topics across all spheres of government on which the travelling public and general citizens are raising concerns with respect to the perceived escalation of generalised costs incurred in the usage of the prevailing transport systems.
- There are laws, regulations and Standard Operating Procedures, governing the transportation of goods, passengers and services, but unfortunately, these are not being applied by transport operating officials and therefore constitutes the root cause of most of fatal accidents.
- In many cases, government practitioners do not understand the strategic importance of instilling safety culture in the transport economics and planning space and its link to quality service delivery.
- This project strives to demonstrate through intensive exploratory research, to justify the positive correlation between transport safety culture and socio-economic development.
Project Leader: Prof Maluleka
4. SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT INTERVENTIONS IN IMPROVING THE PERFORMANCE OF SMALL TO MEDIUM ENTERPRISE IN AFRICA
Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in Africa continue to underperform, with the majority of them collapsing within their first five years of operation. The failures are attributed to numerous internal and external that are well documented in the literature. To assist SMEs, the South African government for example has come up with various support initiatives, which range from policy and legislative instruments to financial support facilities. However, these interventions are yet to yield many positive results, because the failures of SMEs remain unabated. This invokes yet another paradigm in the debate on the survival and success of SMEs and this relates to how management practices, apart from the efforts by the government can be employed to stimulate improved business performance in this sector. This project upholds this paradigm and suggests that research in the management of SMEs should continue as it provides possible solutions to the problems experienced by SMEs. There are numerous management practices that may be applied to this scenario, but this project identifies supply chain management (SCM) as an intervention which could generate a multiplicity of benefits that may promote the success of SMEs in the continent. This project is therefore aimed at investigating the role of SCM interventions in improving performance within South Africa SMEs. To achieve this aim, the following research questions will be tested
- How does relationship management contribute to the performance in South African SMEs?
- What is the role of green supply chain management in improving the performance in South African SMEs?
- How could supply chain technologies be harnessed to increase the performance of South African SMEs?
- How do other SCM best practices such as total quality management, lean manufacturing, strategic sourcing, inventory management, transportation, , influence the performance of South African SMEs?
- Which supply chain practices deserve primary managerial attention within South African SMEs?
The project will be conducted by means of a mixed method approach where both quantitative and quantitative surveys will be conducted. The respondents will be owners, managers and professional employees of participating SMEs as well as professionals drawn from other supporting stakeholder organisations such as government, suppliers and customers. The qualitative part of the study will involves interview schedules while the quantitative study will be through surveys.
This findings of the project will:
- Assist SMEs to adopt and implement SCM-based solutions as part of their survival and success strategies.
- Elicit the support of the parent ministry of SMEs to realise the strategic nature of SCM to such enterprises, hence the need for greater support in this area
- Generate new knowledge that can be used for academic purposes in further developing the discipline of SCM. Results can be published for consumption by the greater SCM fraternity.
Project Leader: Prof C Mafini
5. SUPPLY CHAIN CAREER PREPAREDNESS IN AFRICA: A SUSTAINABLE APPROACH FOR PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE
Supply chain management is the backbone of every business and economic development in all economies. Africa is lagging behind in economic competiveness and public sector delivery due to poor performance by the incumbent supply chain professionals because they have not been well prepared for the supply chain careers. For this reason, those who join the supply chain management profession become vulnerable to all aspects of corruption and poor decision-making. Supply chain career preparedness could be supported from various ways which include clearly delivered and well understood supply chain management knowledge, the supply chain practices at early stages and mentoring and coaching, among others.
The main purpose of this project is to establish ways which can prepare the aspiring supply chain management practitioners to move from classroom to the field, when they are confident to perform their assignments efficiently and effectively. The key questions to be answered are:
- How can supply chain knowledge acquisition and transfer be harmonized across the continent?
- With diminishing opportunities for internships etc., how can students get initial practical experience to enable them attain required expertise?
- What common approaches for mentoring and coaching should be adopted to enhance supply chain career development and advancement in Africa?
The project will entail studies of randomly selected universities and organizations across Africa.
The project will provide insights on how young supply chain professionals should be prepared, developed and retained in supply chain management career.
The deliverables will include the following:
- Preparation of balanced supply chain management curriculum for Africa
- Initiative towards alternative supply chain practical or hands-on experience other than traditional methods for Africa.
- Develop mentoring and coaching programmes for young supply chain management professionals in Africa.
Project Leader: Charles Malack