Discuss about the Environmental Sustainability Innovations.
With the advancement in technology and information system, many tourism industries have evolved and modernized their infrastructure over the past few years. The competition in the tourism sector is forcing the tourism organization to come up with strategies that give them a competitive advantage over other organization. Like for example, there has been a growth in the other forms of tourism like e-Tourism, e-Guides etc. which are attracting huge numbers of customers worldwide and thus transforming the traditional forms of doing business. In addition to these technological advancements, one strategy that can help the tourism firms to increase their business competitiveness and be more effective is the tourism supply chain management. The main objective of a supply chain management is to help in the establishment of a link between the value chain of the organization such that the end users i.e. customers get the best experiences of services and quality of products. Supply chain management consists of the integration of various business processes from the suppliers to the end users the customers. This work examines the supply chain management employed by Thomas Cook organization.
About the organization
Thomas Cook is a well-known tour and travel organization of the world. The organization was established in the year 1841 with a motivation behind arranging ventures of train journey for entrainment purpose, especially in Sunday schools. In the year 1845, the company gradually developed as a business for tourism by bringing together visits and travel packages. After its 100 years of operation as an organizer of the tours, the organization was privatized by the year 1972.Since its privatization the company undertook key business initiatives and with the support of information technology products, innovation, and new destination management the company became one of the popular tourism organization for the travelers across the globe (Thomas Cook Group plc Sustainability Report, 2012).
By the year 2001 German Company C & T Tourist AG took over the Thomas Cook and formed a new organization named as Thomas Cook AG. Later by the year 2007 Thomas Cook UK Retail network, My Travel plc, and Co-operative group all tighter went to a merger to form Thomas Cook plc of today (Thomas Cook Group plc Sustainability Report, 2012).
The company main motive is to provide world class experiences of tourism to the customers and thus makes use of customer centric policies. With the help of sound business marketing strategies, great punch lines for advertisement, creative destination management and the utilization of information system the organization is able to have a positive growth over its 175 years of establishment and provide memorable tourism experiences to the customers across the globe. Through aggregate endeavors of different divisions, the organization offers alluring visit packages for the clients, which incorporates safari, convenience, flight tickets, marine transportation, entertaining things, and different business administrations. The organization facilitates with another anchor of travel specialists to pull in new customers for the visit packages planned (Thomas Cook Group plc Sustainability Report, 2012).
Supply chain management at Thomas cook
The Thomas cook considers its supply chain management process as an extension of its business. The general framework of the supply chain management at the organization is given below:
The customers comprise of the tourists and the tour operators and are at the end of the supply chain. The retailers comprise of the travel agents and the travel agencies. The partners in the supply chain are the hotels linked up with the organization, the airlines, the cruise ships etc. The suppliers of the supply chain are the direct providers of the goods and services which include food services, accommodation services, transport services, etc. to the customers. Through these array of services the organization and with strong collaboration with the suppliers the company aims to improve sustainability performance in its activities (Thomas Cook Group plc Sustainability Report, 2012).
The working philosophy of the supply chain management at Thomas Cook is to integrate the local business partners, purchase local goods wherever possible and protect the customer, the staff, the supplier and the environment through the best practices of operation. The organization thus takes in an effort to work in collaboration with tour operators, travel agents, and accommodations to ensure that the supply chain value is preserved and the end customers get the best tourism experiences (Thomas Cook Group plc Sustainability Report, 2012).
Thomas Cook with an aim to integrate all the operations of supply chain management for ensuring sustainable tourists development and to have a higher degree of customer satisfaction signed up with the Travellife Sustainability System. Travellife Sustainability system now provides a consistent information technology system which acts as a framework for managing all the activities of the supply chain across all the segments of the company (Thomas Cook Group plc Sustainability Report, 2012).
Travellife is a web based application which allows the tourism industries to monitor their supply chain activities, self-assess their business performances across all the areas and assess the environmental and social impacts the business causes. Thomas Cook subscribed to the Travel life in 2011 and thus through it is able to assess their performance level via the audit, manage the supply chain activities, monitor all the activities, do promotion and ensure that the customers get the best of the services specified by the industry standards (Travelife, 2012).
There are various kinds of services provided by the organization like accommodation services, tour packages, tour advisor, cruise management, etc. Each of these services aims to attract customers and to provide the best kind of services and experiences to the customers. The Thomas Cook makes use of Travellife to assess its current state of art related to any of the services, through its audit reports the company gets information on the drawbacks where there is a need for improvements in the services, it is able to monitor the performances of the suppliers and thus make corrective decision on time. Thus, Travellife gives the organization the vital information which ensures the proper functioning of the supply chain activities across all the segments of the company activities. For example, the cruise management activity of the organization looks into the services of cruise based tours for the customers. The suppliers are monitored and managed by the Travellife system. The Travellife system provides regular audits regarding health and safety issues, the infrastructure and the performance of the supplier for the cruise management. From the supplier, the information flows to the Cruise concept stores. The cruise concept stores are formed through the partnership of various companies like Carnival UK Brands, Royal Caribbean International etc. These stores specialize in cruise products, and thus cruise tours, holiday tours, land based holiday tours etc. (Travelife, 2012). can be booked here at these centers. The Cruise Concept stores are operated by trained employees who have proper experience and information on cruise products, and other tour related products. Thus from the supplier, the information related to each tour etc. is provided to these Cruise Concept Stores which acts like the retailers. These retailer stores are built such that they reflect the adventure and security so as to attract the customers for tourism (Travelife, 2012). These Cruise Concept Stores reflect the company’s commitment to the high level of tailored services it can offer to the cruise and tourism customers. The trained agents at these stores provide the services to the customers who then enroll for some tourist pack. The Cruise management supply chain is given below:
Apart from the Cruise Concept Stores the company has online website portals which contain all the information to the customers like the tour plans, brochure, online planning guide, tour advisors, the contact details, the booking system, online payment system, etc. which provides an integrated platform for the services to be executed from one end (Travelife, 2012).
Linkage of Literature and Travellife
From the existing literature, it is evident that the main objective of the supply chain management is to improve the quality, the efficiency and the profitability of the organization by linking the value chain of the organization. According to Savitz (2012), the when an n organization actively engages itself with the supply chain both at the supplier end and at the customer it the performances of the company enhance and the efficiency of the operation increases. Similarly according to Schaltegger et al. (2011). maintaining a good quality of products and services are the main ingredients of success for the business organization and this is what customer expects the business to do. According to Agus, (2010), an effective supply chain management strategy and practices helps in synchronization of the tasks associated with the supply chain, and when the information system is employed to manage the supply chain then it enables proper information flow, allows real time monitoring of the activities, allows for quick responses to the queries of the customer and quick decision making (Boons et al, 2013). This enhances the quality of the services at each task of the supply chain and thus the overall efficiency of the supply chain enhances. due to such enhancement in the quality of the supply chain the end users i.e. the customers get a better quality of products and services. This results in greater customer satisfaction (Lee et al, 2010; Markus et al, 2017).
Examining the supply chain management practices of the Thomas cook through the line of existing literature it is evident that the company gives utmost importance to its supply chain management practices and considers it to be the main driver for company success. The organization makes use of information systems to properly manage the operations across the supply chain and have real time information related to the activities of the supply chain (Tokman et al, 2011). This is evident from the usage of Travellife suite, a website with customer 24x7 customer support, online tour advisors etc. (Chabowski et al 2011). The Travellife suite engages the tour operator’s accommodation, transport suppliers, cruise management, safety management, and sustainability principles in a single platform. This thus functions like an information system for supply chain management and provides regular audits reports for the organization, review the supplier performances, gives best practices to be incorporated in the supply chain and a framework for effective decision making for the supply chain. Similarly, the organization also makes use of other infrastructures and trained employees for ensuring the quality across the supply chain activities (Sheth et al, 2011).This is evident from the Cruise Concept stores and the trained agents employed by the organization for providing the quality services to the customers.
Generally, the tourism supply chain differs from the manufacturing supply chain management and thus the main activities related to the tour are the demand management, the establishment of a relationship with the partners, supply management like food and other basic amenities, coordination and communication. Travellife thus considers all these issues into a single framework and supports the Thomas Cook in hotel and accommodation management, cruise management demand management sustainable tourism and improve the overall performance in the supply chain of the organization (Moeller et al 2011; Smerecnik et al, 2012).
Due to Travellife, the Thomas Cook is able to maintain best practices in the supply chain. It provides a single integrated platform where the organization management can see how their suppliers are performing, how the contractual requirement is changing and thus can remotely monitor the activities by using online management tools of the Travellife. Through Travellife the company is able to synchronize the task, collaborate and communicate effectively. The audits provided by the Travelife helps in enhancing the quality of the infrastructure and the services (Yeon et al, 2017). For example: reducing the unnecessary backwashing of the pool filters, etc. are highlighted in an audit report through this key finding the company can take proper measures to ensure the quality of the services. Communication is the main key to the success of the supply chain management. There must be a proper information flow in the supply chain and among the various activities of the supply chain (Sloan et al,2013). This keeps the chain effective and keeps the services on. Through Travellife and through online websites portal the organization is able to ensure real time communication so that the services from supplier end to the customer end, services related to customer relationship management and tourism are not affected and are operational without any information break (Travelife, 2012).Thus, through the integration of Travellife, website portals and Cruise Concept Stores the Thomas Cook is able to link up the core activities from the supplier’s end to the customer’s end for sustainable tourism performances.
With the help of supply chain management practices, the Thomas Cook is able to enhance the operational abilities by linking the value chain of the organizations and thereby improving the tourism industry on a large scale such as working quality, profitability, and efficiency etc. The working philosophy of the supply chain management at Thomas Cook is to integrate the local business partners, purchase local goods wherever possible and protect the customer, the staff, the supplier and the environment through the best practices of operation. The organization thus takes in an effort to work in collaboration with tour operators, travel agents, and accommodations to ensure that the supply chain value is preserved and the end customers get the best tourism experiences. Through Travellife and through online websites portal the organization is able to ensure real time communication and effective supply chain management so that the services from supplier end to the customer end, services related to customer relationship management and tourism are not affected and are operational without any information break.
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