Assessment of environmental requirements in supplier selection as per-requisite for total quality management: a case of selected manufacturing firms in Nairobi, Kenya
Onserio, Thomas B.
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Reports and awareness by international stakeholders that environmental tragedies like oil spills from manufacturing firms that contaminate our shores leading to the deterioration of the eco-system, the growing ozone “hole” in the atmosphere and the general human activities that are contributing to environmental degradation and depleting limited resources as a result of global warming serve as an eye-opener towards tackling issues afflicting the physical environment. However, reporting and creating awareness alone fall short of articulating the practical issues that need to be put into place in the manufacturing sector especially in developing countries in order to arrest environmental degradation issues. This study sought to investigate whether environmental requirements are being included, in practice, by manufacturing firms in Kenya in the area of supplier selection as the source of raw materials into the supply chain in an effort to ensure total quality management in order to achieve customer satisfaction and achieve sustainable competitive advantage. It also highlighted how the selected manufacturing firms that are ISO 14001 environmentally certified inculcated green issues in their products and production processes so that those firms that are yet to embrace environmental issues can borrow leaf and start going green as well. Thestudy also sought to highlight the benefits to those firms that implement green issues the supplier selection process, and recommend best practices that can be applied by firms in Kenya in order for them to be able to compete successfully in this dynamic global business environment. A descriptive research design was employed focusing on the three certified manufacturing firms on ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems in Nairobi and its environs (KEBS-2013). Purposive sampling was used to select a sample size of 60 participants. Data was collected by administering questionnaires that mainly consist of rating scales to a selected sample of respondents from Purchasing, Production, and Sales/Marketing departments of the firms. Quantitative method of data analysis that employed descriptive statistics was used to facilitate examination of the situation in the firms in relation to environmental requirements and data was then analysed using SPSS. The study established that consideration of environmental requirements in supplier selection was at the preliminary stages of implementation and there were major gaps that are yet to be filled in. It also emerged that the supplier selection criteria adopted by the firms studied were not adequate to achieve TQM. The study also established that the environmental management systems in the firms were not well integrated and balanced in their implementation in order to achieve TQM. From the study, it also emerged that supplier relationship management was not done in a way that would enable the firms studied to achieve the objectives of TQM. However, the study established that the firms were in the process of inculcating environmental issues in their business processes and the respondents were found to be aware of the benefits of including environmental issues in the supplier selection criteria for example increased customer satisfaction.