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This New Articles Channel contents the latest articles published in Inderscience's distinguished academic, scientific and professional journals.



 



Consumers' perceptions on green and smart furniture innovation
Ecological and intelligent furniture appears to gain popularity since both smart multi-functionality and eco-sensitivity seem to grow. On the other hand, an emergent stream of the entrepreneurship literature regards the involvement of customers in the definition and creation of value to new products and services as vital; value creation strategies focus actually on the location and exploitation of the various dimensions along which customers perceive value. The study investigates the perceptions of consumers of the third age regarding the attractiveness of green smart furniture (GSF) products. The research contains data from a random sample of 399 consumers from different regions of Greece during 2013. The data were recorded, processed and analysed via the statistical package SPSSWIN ver 20.0. According to the findings, third age consumers' everyday living and its difficulties regarding the use of furniture seem to play the most significant role, along with health improvement support and environmental protection. However, price plays also a crucial role.



Classifying customer 'wow', 'aha', and 'cool' affect through arousal: a study on mobile users
The elegance of marketing is administered through fluctuating customer arousal and delight. Present study classifies the customer arousal in three categories of delight into 'wow' (high delight), 'aha' (moderate delight) and 'cool' (low delight). Customer arousal is measured by ten predictor variables. Multiple discriminant analysis is used to classify customer delight. Present study identified that 'wow' customer influenced by need for benefit and customer expertise. The 'aha' and 'cool' are uncertain from 'wow' customers on rest of predictor variables. As perceptual map of categories is created on the basis of vector analysis, the analysis may vary in product category and affective dimension giving opportunity to fellow researchers to explore further. The segmentation of market on behavioural dimension (delight) is pioneer in reflecting the diverse consumer behaviour helping marketers in policy formulation. The vigour assessment of delight is the novelty of present research classifying customer delight on arousal level.



The role of communication channel in delivering service recovery in online shopping environment
This study aims to investigate the effects the communication channels, which deliver service recovery on consumer satisfaction, word-of-mouth and loyalty intention, mediated through perceived quality of service recovery. In addition, this study examines the effect of service failure severity on perceived quality of service recovery. The results reveal that the type of communication channel has no significant effect on perceived quality of service recovery, whereas service recovery quality significantly affects consumer satisfaction and behavioural intentions. In addition, customers' perceived severity of service failure significantly influences the quality of service recovery. The findings provide a considerable clue for managers to reduce expenditure and improve the effectiveness of service recovery activities, enabling companies to focus on the apology message rather than the communication channels. Furthermore, service providers should find a way to assess the degree of customers' perception of service failure severity to enhance the quality of service recovery activities.



Online sales promotion in hedonic versus utilitarian product categories
The current study examines the relationship between hedonic versus utilitarian product categories and the use of sales promotion among online retailers. Results indicate that the online sales promotion mechanisms heavily favoured by hedonic marketers and less common among marketers of utilitarian products include price promotions, free gift promotions, and sweepstakes and contests. The only sales promotion mechanism that appears to be equally favoured by hedonic and utilitarian product marketers alike is the limited hour special. Online sales promotions for hedonic product categories may be more popular because they are more likely to lead to consumer brand buzz and electronic word-of-mouth. The exception, however, may occur when the value of the marketing message is determined by time and immediacy. Therefore, online retailers have learned to utilise the limited hour special sales promotion format not only for hedonic products, but for utilitarian products as well.



Understanding the role of web-benefits in cross-buying
This study seeks to develop and test a framework for understanding the direct and indirect effect of web-benefits derived from bank on cross-buying of financial services. The purpose of this paper further includes exploring the mediating role of switching costs on the inter-relationships between web-benefits, relationship quality, and cross-buying intentions. The theoretical framework is developed on the logic of prior research that technology affects the customer-firm relationships and relationships influence the purchasing intentions of customers. Research data were collected from banking customers in Rajasthan state. Using bank intercept technique, 347 questionnaires were collected. Structural equation modelling was applied to examine the relationships among the constructs. Findings suggest that web-benefits provided by the bank have only indirect effect on the cross-buying intentions through switching costs. Results also revealed that the higher the perceived switching costs and relationship quality, the higher the cross-buying intentions.



The determinants and consequences of website credibility in e-retailing: examining the roles of ethical issues
In the e-tailing context, little is known about ethical determinants of consumers' perceptions of the credibility of a retailer's website (i.e., website credibility). Thus, this study examines the impact of ethical issues (i.e., privacy, security, fulfilment, and non-deception) on website credibility and its subsequent influence on consumers' attitudes toward site and behavioural intentions. Results show that fulfilment and non-deception are related positively to website credibility, which ultimately influences consumers' attitudes toward retailer's website. However, security and privacy were not significant predictors of website credibility. Attitude toward the website is significantly related to purchase intent, revisit intent, and positive word-of-mouth.



Load frequency control of multi-area interconnected thermal power system: artificial intelligence-based approach
In the current work, an ant colony optimisation (ACO) optimisation technique for load frequency control was proposed for tuning the performance of the proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller gain values. This led to oscillations suppression in the power system response. A system consisted of three equal thermal generating units equipped with (PID) controller was investigated. The PID controller gain values are obtained by using three different cost functions such as the integral square error (ISE), integral time absolute error (ITAE) and integral absolute error (IAE). Time domain specifications of the settling time and overshoot were considered in the system response analysis.



Adaptive nonlinear observer augmented by radial basis neural network for a nonlinear sensorless control of an induction machine
This paper presents adaptive neural network nonlinear observer associated with a sensor less nonlinear feedback linearisation controller for induction machine. The proposed observer is used to estimate the mechanical speed using the stator currents measurements and the supplied input voltages; whereas the load torque (unknown disturbance) is estimated using online radial basis neural network function approximation. The stability of the proposed controller-observer is achieved using Lyapunov function. Hence, simulation results have been performed under MATLAB/Simulink shows clearly the performance of the proposed algorithm.



Modelling, stability analysis and computational aspects of nonlinear fuzzy PID controllers using Mamdani minimum inference
This paper presents two new mathematical models of the simplest fuzzy PID controller which employ two fuzzy sets (negative and positive) on each of the three input variables (error, change in error and double change in error) and four fuzzy sets (-2, -1, +1, +2) on the output variable (incremental control). L-type, Γ-type and II-type membership functions are considered in fuzzification process of input and output variables. Controller modelling is done via algebraic product AND operation, maximum/bounded sum OR operation, Mamdani minimum inference method, and centre of sums (CoS) defuzzification. The new models obtained in this manner turn out to be nonlinear, and their properties are studied. Since digital controllers are implemented on the digital processors, the computational and memory requirements of the fuzzy controllers and conventional (non-fuzzy) controller are compared. Stability analysis of closed loop systems containing the fuzzy controller models is done using the small gain theorem.



Fuzzy fractional sliding mode observer design for a class of nonlinear dynamics of the cancer disease
The purpose of this paper is designing to optimise controller parameters for improvement of the performances of cancer dynamic by combining both TS fuzzy sliding mode method and fractional variable structure control. The fractional fuzzy controller matched is formulated here. This paper is proven the stability conditions based on linear matrix inequalities (LMIs) where the fractional-order α belongs to 0 < α < 1. Furthermore, this method is investigated TS fuzzy method to design fractional observer to estimate states of the fractional nonlinear dynamic of drug administration in cancer chemotherapy based on the sector nonlinearity method. This approach presented a mathematical model to expand the dynamics between tumour cells, normal cells, immune cells, chemotherapy drug concentration and drug toxicity. The stability of the closed loop system and the convergence of both the observer and the tracking error to zero are the main merits of the proposed method. The simulation results show the promising performance of both the observer and controller scheme.



Discrete-time sliding mode control of a class of linear uncertain saturated systems
This paper proposes a new design approach of discrete-time sliding mode control of a class of linear uncertain systems in presence of saturation constraint. The saturation constraint is reported on inputs vector and it is subject to constant limitations in amplitude. The uncertainty is being norm bounded reported on both dynamic and control matrices. In general, sliding mode control strategy consists on two essential phases. The design of the quasi-sliding surface is the first phase which is formulated as a pole assignment of linear uncertain and saturated system in a specific region through convex optimisation. The solution to this problem is therefore numerically tractable via linear matrix inequalities optimisation. The controller design is the second phase of the sliding mode control design, which leads to the development of a continuous and nonlinear control law. An approximation on the trajectory deviation of the uncertain saturated system compared to the ideal behaviour is proposed to provide robustness of the nonlinear control. Finally, the validity and the applicability of this approach are illustrated by a multivariable numerical example of a robot pick and place.



Adaptive fuzzy control strategy for greenhouse micro-climate
This paper describes a model predictive controller design to regulate the greenhouse micro-climate, where the controller outputs are computed to optimise the future behaviour of the greenhouse's environment, concerning the setpoint accuracy of the internal temperature and humidity described by Takagi-Sugeno (T-S) model. Modelling procedure is based on two steps. First, the identification of the antecedent part where local linear models are valid using the well-known fuzzy C-means clustering algorithm. Then, recursive least squares (RLS) algorithm is used for consequent part parameters adaptation. An adaptive T-S fuzzy model is considered within the control scheme for prediction of the future greenhouse behaviour. The main way of controlling the greenhouse micro-climate is to use heating and ventilation to regulate both internal temperature and humidity. The simulation results show that the proposed approach maintains successfully both temperature and humidity within the greenhouse around the desired set points in the presence of disturbances. The simulation results are compared between MPC controller based on T-S fuzzy model and MPC based on a single linear model.



A Takagi-Sugeno fuzzy control of induction motor drive: experimental results
This paper studies an observer-based H∞ tracking control problem for induction motor in order to guarantee the field-oriented control (FOC) performances. Firstly, the physical model of the induction motor is approximated by the T-S fuzzy technique in the synchronous d-q frame rotating. Then, a fuzzy observer-based feedback control is synthesised to guarantee the control performances. The proposed controller is based on a T-S reference model in which a desired trajectory has been specified. The performances of the trajectory tracking are analysed using the Lyapunov theory and the L2 optimisation. The gains of the observer and the controller are obtained by solving a set of LMIs constraint in a single step. To highlight the effectiveness of the proposed strategy experimental results are presented for a 1.5 KW induction motor.



A novel 4-D hyperchaotic system with two quadratic nonlinearities and its adaptive synchronisation
This work announces an eleven-term novel 4-D hyperchaotic system with two quadratic nonlinearities. A qualitative analysis of the properties of the novel 4-D hyperchaotic system is presented. A special feature of our novel hyperchaotic system is that it has three equilibrium points of which two are unstable and one is locally asymptotically stable. The Lyapunov exponents of the novel hyperchaotic system are obtained as L1 = 1.5146, L2 = 0.2527, L3 = 0 and L4 = -12.7626. The Kaplan-Yorke dimension of the novel hyperchaotic system is derived as DKY. = 3.1385. Next, this work describes the design of an adaptive controller for the global hyperchaos synchronisation of identical novel hyperchaotic systems with unknown parameters. MATLAB simulations are shown to describe all the main results derived in this work.



Assessing the logistics activities aspect of economic and social development
Logistics is concerned with the coordination and planning of products, services and information flow between the points of production and consumption. The logistics sector, contributes directly to production and consumption activities, has a critical importance for social and economic development. In this study, Turkey's logistics map was created in order to distribute the logistics burden in the cities which have intensive logistics activities and improve logistics ability in the cities which have poor logistics activities. Firstly, social and economic variables that affect the logistics operations of cities of Turkey were investigated. The identified variables were reduced to a single factor which is called logistics via factor analysis and the clustering analysis was performed by using the logistics factor. In clustering analysis, k-means method was used and the cities of Turkey clustered from strong to weak according to logistics activities. The obtained results were analysed and interpreted.



Robust bi-objective cost-effective, multi-period, location-allocation organ transplant supply chain
This paper proposes a new multi-objective model for organ transplant supply chain under uncertainty conditions. Previous models have focused on time, location and allocations separately, and have not considered some important aspects in locating healthcare units. Because of the vital role of these parameters in decision-making about locating organ transplant supply chain, this new model compensates for and covers this shortcoming. These significant parameters include: 1) expected number of organs donors; 2) coverage rate of other zones for the selected locations based on cold ischemia time for each organ (cold ischemia time is the maximum time each organ can bear outside the body); 3) safety index based on earthquakes and other natural or unnatural events. The model consists of three objective functions: the first objective function reduces the costs of the active working centres. Transportations and allocations of units and organs, and the second objective function consider the mentioned parameters too. These objective functions are likely to face conflicts based on the input data. Finally, some statistics-based experiments have been conducted on the problem under study, and it has been solved using GAMS optimisation software (ver. 23.5).



Towards a cloud computing in the service of green logistics
The development of cloud computing solutions for logistics offers new benefits to companies, such as access to resources on demand, elasticity and usage billing. In this paper, we propose a multi-agent system based on a cloud computing platform called system agent cloud logistics (SACL), which aims to measure the economic, environmental and social performances of a logistic process and to help a company to make the right decision. For achieving this goal, our proposed system integrates: cloud computing technology, web services techniques, multi-agent approach, and simulation model. As a scenario, we've chosen the case of a virtual pharmaceutical wholesaler, and we have formulated the problem for command preparation process. The results show that our proposed system helps the decision maker to estimate the economic, environmental and social costs of a logistic process and to know the impact of a new strategic solution and its cost before retaining it.



Nobody wants to buy sour milk: supply chain performance measure matters
In the increasingly competitive manufacturing landscape, the key to thriving is in managing the supply chain. Supply chain performance measurement systems, which gauge the performance of a supply chain on different metrics, are indispensable tools for supply chain management. By introducing a weighted and industry-independent performance measure and incorporating it in a questionnaire distributed to manufacturing companies, we were able to compare supply chain performance between different categories of manufacturers. We identified management as the biggest impediment towards implementation of supply chain performance measures. The results also show that supply chains in light industry are flexible but members of each supply chain interact poorly. Heavy industry supply chains suffer from inflexibility but have good interactions between members within each supply chain. Despite international supply chains having many advantages over domestic supply chains, our survey respondents indicated that global supply chains perform better than local supply chains. And, supply chains which have members who are actively cooperating, whether in the form of a pact, partnership, or alliance, perform better than supply chains where such cooperation does not exist. Finally, our study found that the performance of supply chains with performance measurement systems in place trumps the performance of supply chains without them.



The mediation role of social capital in relationship between buyer-supplier relationship with green supply chain collaboration
The main aim of this study is to understand how buyer-supplier relationship and social capital influence green supply chain collaboration in manufacturing companies. Also, the mediating role of social capital between buyer-supplier relationship and green supply chain collaboration was examined. Because of that, a sample of 70 from logistic and middle levels' managers were chosen for distributing questionnaires. Collected data were analysed by partial least square method of structural equation modelling. The results indicated that there are positive relationships among buyer-supplier relationship (asset specificity, transaction frequency and competitive environment), social capital and green supply chain collaboration. Also, the mediating role of social capital are confirmed. But two hypotheses which are related to volume uncertainty are rejected. These findings provide considerable insights to managers and marketers of green supply chains that seek to respond to a growing interest of environmental performance of supply chain.



Time taken to complete a meal: a distinctive study of full-service restaurants in India
The present study aims to investigate the relationship between the number of people dining in a table and time taken to complete the meal in three different dinner settings in five-star hotel restaurants. For the purpose of the study, two five-star hotels which has a dinner setting with an all-day dining restaurant, speciality restaurant, and a rooftop restaurant were selected for the study. The customers of the selected restaurant were unobtrusively observed by the experts. Age and sex of the restaurant customers were not recorded. A significant positive relationship associated with the number of people dining in a table and the time taken to complete the meal in all the dinner setting. The time taken to complete the meal was longer in the rooftop restaurant and moderate in the speciality restaurant, whereas in all-day dining restaurant was a shorter one. The serving style of the food, ambience of the restaurant had an influence on the time taken to complete the meal. The results will enlighten the restaurant managers to understand the dining time relationship and the associated factors. The study results will help the waiters in planning up the service time of the food and beverage served in the restaurant. This is the first study conducted in the Indian context particularly in the five-star hotel restaurants. The valuable findings will help to formulate and to amend the existing meal serving technique to ensure the promptness of the service and to maximise the revenue generation.



Perception and switch intention of rural customers towards organised retail
With the opening of retail sector for corporate investment, Indian markets saw the emergence of organised retail formats. While urban customers exhibited immediate interest in this newer shopping experience, their rural counterparts were slower in switching over to the organised retail. In addition to the economic considerations, the reasons behind slower adaptation of the organised retail entailed cognitive and perceptual aspects as well. The paper identifies the perceptual aspects of the rural customers on switching towards the organised retail. Data has collected from 537 rural customers to study their perceptions and switch intentions towards organised retail. The study finds that the rural customers are showing preference to go to organised retail outlets to purchase products and services that offer higher value. Findings of the survey show that 'core value delivery' is the most significant predictor of purchase intention in rural market. Pre-purchase inducement and value enhancement are also other significant predictors of purchase intention.



Brand passion and its implication on consumer behaviour
This paper tries to investigate the passion in literature and drives its way through theory where passion is a component of love and moves on to passion being a component of consumer behaviour in marketing, i.e., brand passion. Passion has been studied with regard to the intensity to love. This paper picks up the triangular theory of love by Sternberg (1986, 1997) to probe into the meaning of passion. While tracing this component the paper gradually progresses to how passion becomes a part of consumer behaviour and hence the passion extended to the brand. Thus, brand passion tantamount to the keenness, the fascination or even the fixation of a consumer for the beloved brand. Further, the author tries to outline a conceptual model with the antecedents to brand passion, i.e., loyalty, satisfaction and trust and the outcome of passion being word of mouth.



An examination of the interplay between country-of-origin, brand equity, brand preference and purchase intention toward global fashion brands
This study aims to propose and empirically test a behavioural model of consumer perceptions of country-of-origin, brand equity, brand preference and purchase intention in the context of fashion brands in Iran. To provide a detailed understanding of customers' perceptions of purchase intention, a survey study was conducted. The research model is validated, and the developed hypotheses are tested using a structural equation model (SEM). Country-of-origin is shown to be positively associated with brand equity. Consistent with expectations, our results reveal that brand equity influences brand preference and purchase intention. Findings also support the hypothesised relationship between brand preference and purchase intention. The present research is one of the pioneer studies that highlight the importance of purchase intention with regard to fashion brands in promoting a luxury market. This study contributes to the literature by developing and testing a comprehensive research model using SEM and offers important guidelines to international marketers who are planning to introduce their fashion brands to the Iranian market.



Exploring the role of technological developments and open innovation in the survival of SMEs: an empirical study of Pakistan
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play an important role in terms of sustainable economic development. Therefore, the survival of this sector is highly important for every economy. This study theoretically and empirically explores the role of technological developments and open innovation (OI) on SME survival. The first part of this paper is based on library search and available literature on SMEs and the role technological innovations towards the flourishment of SME. Findings from this review shed some lights on the potential of social networking as part of online marketing. Furthermore, the researchers conducted a self-administrated questionnaire-based survey to empirically examine the conceptual framework. The empirical results revealed that the effect of online marketing via social media is more powerful and diverse due to its ability to reach more customers. In addition, open innovation is an effective and emerging tool in the success of SME.



An empirical analysis to study the impact of marketing mix elements on overall quality of water purifiers: evidence from India
The paper presents the results of a study conducted in India that assesses the impact of marketing mix elements on overall quality perception of customers about water purifiers. The results of confirmatory factor analysis confirmed the factor structure of marketing mix elements (product, price, promotion and place). Moreover, multiple regression results showed that barring place, all other marketing mix elements viz. product, price, and promotion have positive significant impact on overall quality perception of customers. The sample comprised of 253 respondents.



Capturing marketing information and marketing intelligence: ethical issues and concerns
Companies require information and intelligence about customers to understand them, formulate strategies for them, and serve them better. Companies collect this information either by themselves or by appointing marketing research agencies who collect information on behalf of the companies. Collection of information sometimes becomes a challenge because customers hesitate to share personal information with companies. Also, customers worry about the way the shared information is used by companies. Customers are concerned about the safety, security, and the privacy of information. Companies should consider the above issues during data collection from customers and also during the usage of information. The paper discusses about the sensitive issue of intrusion on privacy of customers, ethics involved, responsibilities of marketing researchers regarding sensitive information shared by customers, possible misuse of the shared information, preventive measures against misuse of research findings, and the initiatives taken by companies and authorities to protect the privacy of customers.



Soft total quality management and lean manufacturing initiatives: model development through structural equation modelling
Both soft total quality management (STQM) and lean manufacturing (LM) are philosophies for continuous improvement. Little is known about whether these can be integrated together or are in conflict. Furthermore, the nature of their integration together in the same enterprise is not clear. This paper tries to eliminate gap in operations management (OM) literature regarding the integration of these practices. To do this, it proposes a comprehensive model to be implemented in the developing economy of Malaysia, to investigate the linkages among elements of soft TQM and LM tools in the measured manufacturing sectors. A structured questionnaire was designed to validate the model and test the hypothesis. Structural equation modelling (SEM) through analysis of moment structure (AMOS 22) is utilised to empirically investigate the model based on primary data of 329 responses. Results obtained implied that hypothesis is significant and supported. Thus, both practices are complementary to each other.



Development and validation of multi-dimensional wind turbine service quality scale for measuring operations and maintenance service quality in wind energy sector
Service quality and customer satisfaction are very important concepts that organisations must understand in order to remain competitive in business and hence grow. It is very important for any organisation to know how to measure these dimensions from the consumers' perspective in order to better understand their needs and hence satisfy them. Service quality is considered very important because it leads to higher customer satisfaction, profitability, reduced cost, customer loyalty and retention. The aim of the study is to develop and validate a multi-dimensional scale for measuring wind turbine service quality (WTSQ). The instrument consists of 42 items operationalising three dimensions namely functional, technical and corporate quality. The psychometric properties of the questionnaire were assessed through a confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modelling using the responses from 352 customers of wind turbine industry in India. The study findings indicated that the assessed instrument had three oblige factor structure and also has good reliability and validity. The paper contributes to the development of multi-dimensional service quality model in the wind turbine sector.



Understanding nature of empathy through the lens of service encounter: a phenomenological study on FLE's
Research suggests that every conceptual model of service organisations in the past 20 years has recognised that front line employees (FLEs) significantly influence the customer experience. In service front line employee and customer interaction, little is understood about the nature of empathy as a cognitive, an affective, or a multidimensional phenomenon. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the multidimensional nature of empathy. This phenomenological study focuses on how the theoretical discussion of the cognitive-affective nature of empathy finds expression in a service encounter. Conclusions in this study point to the ending that empathy has different meanings for different service frontline employees, when they are empathising with another customer. In probing the way service frontline employees experience empathy, it seems that both cognitive and affective aspects of this experience play a significant role and may appear either collectively or separately. The study provides some initial evidence on the conceptualisation of empathy and present findings add to the literature by focusing on the intrapersonal world of FLE's and examining how their empathetic behaviour relates to the customer.



TQM as business strategy: a meta-analysis review
There is no doubt in the fact that organisations worldwide are currently in the era of total quality management (TQM), but whether it is making a real impact on these organisations' bottom-line remains a much-debated topic in both academic and management forums. In this direction, the study conducted a meta-analytical investigation of the association of TQM practices with firm's performance from the TQM literature by adopting the heuristic approach (Hunter and Schmidt, 1990). The study also examined the role of moderating factors in influencing this association. For the meta-analytical review, 12 empirical studies that had examined the link between TQM practices and firm's performance were sampled. The study adopted the 'random-effects' model using weighted mean of raw correlation coefficient as a measure of the size of the effect. The results showed the existence of association between the TQM practices and the firm's performance and existence of moderators impacting this association.



The evaluation of green manufacturing strategies adopted by ISO 14001 certificate holders in Jordan
The aim of this study is evaluating the performance of green manufacturing strategies adopted by ISO 14001 certificate holders in Jordan. The survey questionnaire was developed based on the literature and interviews with industry experts and academics, 27 manufacturing organisations were surveyed. K-mean clustering analysis was used to cluster the manufacturing organisations to green manufacturing strategic groups. Also, perfect matching analysis was used to trace the relationship between performance indicators and green actions. This study revealed that; there are three significant clusters of green manufacturing strategies: agile environment, care-taker environment and lean environment. The performance of agile strategic group is high to moderate; however, the performance of care-taker and lean is moderate to low. Different combinations of perfect matched green actions with performance indicators were adopted by each strategic group. This is the first study which reports the green manufacturing strategic patterns in Middle East, the majority of previous studies have not addressed the significant actions and performance indicators in details, the majority of previous studies have not clustered or grouped the manufacturing firms based on green key performance indicators.



Quality and productivity improvement through spot welding process optimisation in automobile body shop
Optimised geometry weld spot distribution for different configurations of automobile body sub-assemblies, is a critical activity in any automobile body shop process planning. For an ideal body shop planning, it has to be planned in a systematic approach so that the maximum productivity with high quality is being achieved. For this, the optimised planning has to be made for number of spots welded in a geometry station. The lesser the number of spots, the higher will be the dimensional variations of the assembly; the greater the number of spots, the lesser will be the productivity of the sub-assembly lines. The aim of this paper is to identify an optimised spot quantity for different sizes of parts with different surface contacts. To identify the optimum spot quantity, an industrial experiment was conducted using Taguchi method (L27 OA). Dimensional variations of the samples were recorded in two stages: 1) post-geometry spot welding; 2) post re-spot welding; and the measured data was thoroughly analysed. Recommendations for the optimised number of spots for geometry spot weld stage were made for different assembly configurations. These recommendations are discussed in detail. This study will aid the process planners to distribute the appropriate number of spots in the geometry welding stations.



The impact of 2008 credit crisis on currency stability structure
The depreciation of many currencies over the world has retarded the economic development during 2008 credit crisis. The aim of this study is to detect the existence of changes in the currency stability structure by using a new covariance structure test known as S* statistics for high dimensional data involving 74 currencies. Comparisons were made between monthly data and overall data of 2008. Further analysis was conducted using network topology to visualise the pattern of structural changes and identifying which currencies affected by the crisis. The findings disclose that October currency structure has the utmost changes as compared to overall structure 2008. Forty one (or 55%) currencies were affected. The most affected currencies were Austrian schilling (ATS) and followed by Lebanese pound (LBP) and Mexican peso (MXN). These findings reflect the major impact of 2008 credit crisis on deterioration currencies performance.



Risk and revenue of a lessor's dynamic joint pricing and inventory planning with adjustment costs under differential inflation
Leasing decision-making problems have attracted attention in recent years mostly benefiting from operational research tools. This paper investigates crucial missing assumptions from the newly emerged integrated sales-leasing problem (ISLP). New assumptions are considered such as price adjustment costs, for employing impact of price changes, and differential inflationary condition under which lease payments and operational costs are deflated and inflated respectively. Impact of default risk has been considered by variance of net present value in objective function. The ISLP mathematical model has been developed with new constraints and objective functions. Also, the conditions of Taylor expansion approximation have been discussed for model parameters. Optimal and Pareto solutions have been obtained for small and large size sample problem by exact approach and a meta-heuristic algorithm. Eventually, sensitivity analysis has been provided for parameters of model such as optimal revenue, risk and lease payments behaviour in terms of increase in various inflation rates. Results show that for the competitive inflation-sensitive demand functions, an increase in inflation, causes less demand for purchase and more risk for leasing and therefore a decrease in total revenue.



A production inventory model for deteriorating products with selling price dependent consumption rate and shortages under inflationary environment
In today's highly competitive market, every business needs a high investment which is directly correlated to the return of the investment. The business will not be advantageous, if the return rate of investment is lesser than the inflation rate. In almost developed models, it is believed that distinct costs related with inventory systems will be constant all the time but in reality it is not true. As the time increases, inflation becomes a considerable function and the costs related to the model differ. This research article presents a production inventory model for deteriorating products with selling price dependent demand and shortages under inflationary environment. The production rate considered here is a function of occurring demand. The shortages during stock out assumed to be partially backlogged. The intention of this study is to compute the optimal value of production period and shortage period. A solution procedure and numerical example are presented to illustrate the implementation of proposed study. A sensitivity analysis with respect to distinct system parameters is also presented to check the stability of the optimal solution.



A simulation/optimisation approach to support the resource allocation in service firms
Simulation modelling is a useful tool to produce a quantitative decision support in different application areas. It is extremely useful for predicting the constant changes that take place in a highly dynamic context such as that of services. This paper examines the widespread problem of extended waiting times for health services, considering a regional private hospital, through building and validation of a computer simulation model. Using Arena simulation software for modelling, analysis, visualisation and optimisation of the patient flow within the service structure considered. The model will be utilised to simulate the impacts of different proposed operating strategies on waiting time and throughput rate for patients. The objective is to identify those strategies which lead to higher efficiency for the hospital's resources without decreasing in the quality for the patient care.



Small- and medium-sized enterprises in public procurement in primary social and healthcare services
Small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) policies tend traditionally to focus on supply-side support instruments. However, public procurement provides a potential demand-side SME policy tool to enhance SMEs and maintain competition in the market. SMEs are often under-represented in public procurement compared to their overall economic weight. Existing literature provides limited information on the instruments of public service providers to create business opportunities for SMEs. The aim of this single case study is to describe the role of SMEs in the statutory public service provision of primary social and healthcare. The study also provides insight into the public service provider's ability to facilitate SME access to public procurement and thereby to enhance the efficiency of the local market. We found that a service voucher system could be an additional option for public procurement, as it allows more flexibility in involving small businesses in the production of public services.



IT outsourcing through group decision-making based on the principles of interval-valued intuitionistic fuzzy theory
The past decade has seen tremendous growth in the global use of information technology (IT) as a pivotal tool to gain competitive advantage. Organisations and enterprises often seek to optimise their IT-related operations by using the best available internal and external resources to achieve the greatest profit or output attainable through this technology. This has led to the increasingly important role of IT outsourcing in today's managerial and administrative approaches. The present study proposes an IT outsourcing model that employs an interval-valued intuitionistic fuzzy approach. The proposed approach uses the Shannon entropy in intuitionistic fuzzy environment to determine the weight of experts and those of IT outsourcing criteria. These weights are then used to obtain the aggregate expert opinion matrix based on the principles of interval-valued intuitionistic fuzzy numbers. The intuitionistic fuzzy TOPSIS is used to prioritise the suppliers. The proposed model is implemented for a governmental organisation with seven supplier- and six IT outsourcing criteria.



The effects of the degree of produce perishability and the choice of procurement channel on supplier opportunism: empirical evidence from the food processing industry
Opportunism is an important topic in supply chain management and distribution channels. The emergence of this behaviour in buyer-supplier relationships tends to reduce performance while diminishing value creation in the effected relations. Different transactions call for different control levels depending on the gravity of opportunism in the transaction, with the need for control being higher as opportunism increases. In this regard, it is important to understand the factors that give rise to opportunism to apply appropriate control mechanisms. This study, therefore, explores the effect of the degree of the perishability of the transacted produce on supplier opportunism. Additionally, this study treated the choice of procurement channel as a control mechanism; therefore, we compared the effect of perishability on opportunism in direct and indirect procurement channels. In this study, cross-sectional survey data collected from 239 food processor-produce supplier relationships served as source of empirical evidence. The empirical findings support our hypotheses, and demonstrate that perishability is positively associated with supplier opportunism, with the effect being significantly lower in the direct procurement channels than in the indirect procurement channel.



A novel selection method of network intrusion optimal route detection based on naive Bayesian
In order to improve the network security performance and resist the increasingly complex and diversified network intrusion, and reduce the false alarm rate of network intrusion and improve the detection efficiency, this paper proposes the selection method of the network intrusion optimal route detection based on naive Bayesian. We selected the feature subset of network route data by the principal component analysis and accordingly processed the network route detection sample set, getting the input characteristics of network route detection. The research selected the new low dimensional feature of network route data through linear or nonlinear transformation, and used the naive Bayesian network structure to classify the new network route data set. Simulation results show that the proposed method can improve the detection rate of network intrusion optimal route and reduce the false alarm rate, getting a more perfect result of network intrusion detection.



Reversion strategy for online portfolio selection with transaction costs
This paper is about the online portfolio selection problem with transaction costs, which is an unavoidable factor in real financial trading. By exploiting the mean reversion property of stock prices, we propose a portfolio selection strategy named 'mean reversion strategy with transaction costs (MRTC)'. To avoid overmuch transaction costs, the strategy adaptively transfers a proper amount of capital between stocks to adjust the turnover. Furthermore, we conduct numerical experiments on several real market datasets, and show that our proposed algorithm outperforms the existing state-of-the-art ones when taking transaction costs into account.



Solving group decision-making problems in manufacturing systems by an uncertain compromise ranking method
The purpose of this paper is to introduce a new modified compromise ranking method (VIKOR), known as sorting the possible alternatives and determining the compromise solution under interval-valued hesitant fuzzy sets (IVHFSs) for solving group decision-making problems in manufacturing systems. By using numerical measure and crisp data, the decision making is complex in real-life situations because the decision makers (DMs)' judgments are usually hesitant and vague. A more applicable and realistic approach based on interval-valued hesitant fuzzy elements (variables) is presented and defined as the inputs to the presented VIKOR method. The proposed interval-valued hesitant fuzzy modified VIKOR (IVHF-MVIKOR) method utilises the membership degrees to demonstrate the degrees of satisfiability for each possible alternative according to selected criteria for the manufacturing assessments. Then, a new index for relative importance of the DMs is introduced with the extended fuzzy sets. Also, some operations in the proposed IVHF-MVIKOR method are developed for manufacturing decision problems. Then, new indexes are presented with interval-valued hesitant fuzzy hamming distance measure for the purpose of rankings. Finally, by presenting a practical example in flexible manufacturing systems, the performance of IVHF-MVIKOR method is evaluated and compared with two well-known methods under interval-valued hesitant fuzzy information.



Vehicle scheduling model of emergency logistics distribution based on internet of things
Considering that emergency logistics distribution has the timeliness, weak economy, and the traffic road condition and so on, based on reasonable assumptions, we effectively scheduled vehicles to maximise the demand for emergency logistics within the requested time. This paper proposes an emergency logistics vehicle scheduling model based on internet of things. Firstly, we built the model of emergency logistics distribution vehicle scheduling problem. Our research built a model of emergency logistics distribution vehicle scheduling by using the model of division time, and gave the interrelation of constraint condition. On this basis, this paper combined genetic algorithm and ant colony algorithm for the vehicle scheduling model design and parameter selection, which improved the efficiency of emergency logistics distribution. Simulation results show that the proposed model can effectively increase the transport efficiency and reduce transportation costs, and has strong practical value. It is suited for post-disaster emergency logistics distribution vehicle scheduling.



Performance assessment model for bank client's services and business development process: a constructivist proposal
The banking sector has been characterised by ongoing evolution in service rendering, driven by advances in technology, changes in client profiles, and susceptibility to political and economic issues. This article describes the development stages of a decision-aid system to manage the customer relations and business development process with bank clients, using the perceptions of both managers and clients. The investigation was conducted through a case study, using the constructivist MCDA. The elaborated model allowed for the structured identification and evaluation of 99 descriptors. Through use of the model, managers gained focus and confidence, customers reacted with gratitude and loyalty, and stakeholders realised the importance of the approach as they had a clear understanding of the goals.



Audit evidences and modelling audit risk using goal programming
Managing audit risk and allocating auditing resources are among the major problems faced by external auditors. To address this problem, this paper introduces external auditors to goal programming (GP), an innovative technique that can be used in audit risk models (ARM). The value of an audit report depends on the audit risk: the lower the audit risk, the higher the quality of the audit report. Using GP when calculating audit risk enhances audit quality by helping auditors to manage the multi-choice decision making. However, to date there has been no consideration of GP in ARM. This research provides insights that can be used by audit firms of any size, including those in the Big 4.



Consumer surveys and the EU statistics on income and living conditions: friends or foes?
To assess the quality of life in its member states, the EU has introduced the statistics on income and living conditions (EU-SILC), purposed to quantify the poverty levels and social problems in individual countries. Although EU-SILC is quite valuable from a policy perspective, because of its annual frequency it is not able to fully capture the dynamics of turbulent changes in the social and economic dimensions of households' well-being. To counteract that, this paper aims to complement the EU-SILC project by consumer survey (CS) data for 11 new EU member states. To be specific, three temporal disaggregation methods are employed on three CS variables (concerning the financial situation of households) in order to obtain quarterly estimates of risk of poverty and social exclusion. The authors find that the Chow-Lin disaggregation technique convincingly outperforms the other two competing models (Fernandez and Litterman approach), yielding considerably accurate quarterly estimates of poverty risk.



The effect of external shocks on macroeconomic performance and monetary policy in a small open economy: evidence from Zambia
This study investigates the impact of external shocks on domestic macroeconomic variables and monetary policy of a small open economy, Zambia using a structural VAR estimated with quarterly data covering the period Q1 2000 to Q1 2016. Results indicate that monetary policy is pro-cyclical in response to external shocks, while the dominant external shocks are commodity price shocks followed by financial shocks. This implies that external shocks are clear determinants of monetary policy direction in Zambia owing to their effect on key macroeconomic variable. In addition, results from impulse responses indicate that external shocks have significant effects on Zambia's macroeconomic performance. Specifically, commodity price shocks have significant effects on output and exchange rate while financial shocks have significant effects on prices and exchange rate.



An empirical study on measures relating to impact investing in South Africa
Research shows that impact investing provides an opportunity for the creation of economic and social value that has the potential to improve the quality of life and make social progress. The need for robust impact measurement has become a reality, since the value that is generated through impact measurement is clear. The study provides a much needed account of current thinking about measuring the outcomes of impact investments in an emerging market context. The study takes place in South Africa, where metrics of social impact, innovativeness of solution, expandability/replicability and sustainability are empirically tested using survey data (n = 159). Results show that it is the twin factors of social impact and sustainability that influence growth. These findings highlight the importance of impact measurement especially when considering calls have been made to use a recognised metrics language in order to facilitate performance analysis.



Institutional approach to debt determination: the Nigerian case
This paper examines institutions as a determinant of external debt. We employ a recently constructed data set on institutions for Nigeria, which is constructed using a different methodology from the oft used polity series and also unbundles institutions into several sub-categories. The results show that specific institutional categories such as 'the extent of arbitrary executive powers' and 'government secrecy' play a significant role in limiting debt levels. Furthermore, when we consider the composite institutions' measure that captures the totality of civil and political liberties, the empirical analysis suggests that it plays a significant role in limiting the levels of long-term external debt, as well as public and publicly guaranteed (PPG) external debt, in the long-run.



Nonlinear impact of inflation on economic growth in South Africa: a smooth transition regression analysis
In this paper, we challenge the notion of a monotonic relationship between inflation and economic growth in South Africa. In particular, we establish threshold effects in the inflation-growth relationship using a smooth transition regression (STR) model which is applied on data collected between 2001: Q1 and 2016: Q2. Our empirical results confirm a threshold of 5.30% in which the effects of inflation on economic growth are positive below this threshold whereas inflation exerts adverse effect on economic growth at inflation levels above this level. In a nutshell, our study offers support in favour of the optimal level of inflation lying between the current 3-6% inflation target and more specifically suggests that the monetary authorities should slightly lower the upper level of this target to about 5.30% as a means creating a more conducive financial environment for promoting higher economic growth.