2014 NOFOMA Special Issue

I am very happy to present the 2014 NOFOMA Special Issue, which I have recently co-edited for the International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management. It contains some of the best research that has been presented at the 26th NOFOMA Conference, which took place at Copenhagen Business School last year. First, the article by da Mota Pedrosa et al. (2015) is titled Logistics Innovation Development: A Micro-level Perspective; it investigates the micro-foundations of customer knowledge acquisition during logistics innovation development. Second, Gammelgaard’s (2015) article, The Emergence of City Logistics: The Case of Copenhagen’s Citylogistik-kbh, provides a better understanding of the organizational change processes in city logistics projects. Third, in the article about Humanitarian Logistics: The Role of Logistics Service Providers by Vega & Roussat (2015), a new perspective to humanitarian logistics research is brought to us. Finally, Bhakoo et al. (2015), whose research deals with Supply Chain Structures Shaping Portfolio of Technologies, explore impact of integration through the “dual arcs” framework.

da Mota Pedrosa, A., Blazevic, V., & Jasmand, C. (2015). Logistics Innovation Development: A Micro-level Perspective. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 45 (4), 313-332 DOI: 10.1108/IJPDLM-12-2014-0289

Gammelgaard, B. (2015). The Emergence of City Logistics: The Case of Copenhagen’s Citylogistik-kbh. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 45 (4), 333-351 DOI: 10.1108/IJPDLM-12-2014-0291

Vega, D., & Roussat, C. (2015). Humanitarian Logistics: The Role of Logistics Service Providers. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 45 (4), 352-375 DOI: 10.1108/IJPDLM-12-2014-0309

Bhakoo, V., Singh, P., & Chia, A. (2015). Supply Chain Structures Shaping Portfolio of Technologies: Exploring the Impact of Integration through the “Dual Arcs” Framework. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 45 (4), 376-399 DOI: 10.1108/IJPDLM-12-2014-0298

Supply Management’s Next Evolution

Recent discussions have demonstrated that supply management organizations should not just focus on price but on total cost of ownership. But what is next? A new report, titled Supply Management’s Next Evolution, has now been published by strategy& (formerly Booz & Company). The authors believe that “the next step is for sourcing organizations to move beyond ‘optimizing the buy’ to ‘maximizing value’ for the enterprise” – a transition that could be challenging for many companies, especially if they lack talents that are able to take part in strategic discussions. The authors find that supply management organizations, who successfully manage this transition, follow four common practices: First, they “participate in (re-)architecting product and service designs and contribute to sourcing-related design changes in clear, quantifiable ways”. Second, they “optimize the supply base by tailoring suppliers to the demand profile”. Third, they “segment suppliers to better engage each distinctly”. Finally, they “demonstrate the bottom-line impact”.

Do We Really Need a New Smart Phone Every Two Years?

We all know about natural resource scarcity. However, as brand companies make consumers believe they need a new smart phone every two years, today’s global supply chains are responsible for incredibly large amounts of electronic waste. A new United Nations University report, titled The Global E-waste Monitor – 2014, details e-waste generation by region. The total amount of e-waste generated in 2014 is 41.8 million metric tonnes (Mt) and it is forecasted to increase to 50 Mt in 2018. This e-waste comprises 12.8 Mt of small equipment (e.g., toasters, video cameras), 11.8 Mt of large equipment (e.g., washing machines, photovoltaic panels), 7.0 Mt of cooling and freezing equipment, 6.3 Mt of screens, 3.0 Mt of small IT (e.g., mobile phones, computers), and 1.0 Mt of lamps. With 32% of the world’s total, the United States (7.1 Mt) and China (6.0 Mt) are responsible for most of the e-waste overall. The top per capita producers, however, are Norway (28.3 kg), Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, and the United Kingdom.

Baldé, C.P., Wang, F., Kuehr, R., Huisman, J. (2015). The Global E-waste Monitor – 2014. United Nations University, IAS – SCYCLE, Bonn, Germany

Eight Technologies Redefining the Future of Supply Chains

The 2015 MHI Annual Industry Report is out now. It was published by MHI, a U.S. material handling, logistics and supply chain association, in collaboration with Deloitte. The authors argue that “companies that continue to rely on traditional supply chain models will likely find it increasingly difficult to stay competitive and meet customer expectations for orders that are complete, accurate and on-time”. Based on survey data, the study, thus, analyzes technologies and innovations that are transforming supply chains around the world. Particularly, the following sets of technologies are covered by the study: (1) maturing technologies (inventory and network optimization, sensors and automatic identification, cloud computing and storage, robotics and automation), (2) growth technologies (predictive analytics, wearable and mobile technology), and (3) emerging technologies (3D printing, driverless vehicles and drones). The authors believe that “the innovations and technologies highlighted in this report have the potential to provide step-change improvements in both cost and service”.

Are We Betraying Humboldt’s Ideals?

Some people argue that the ultimate goal of university teaching should be vocational qualification. Similarly, in the Bologna Declaration (1999), the European Ministers of Education agreed that undergraduate studies shall “be relevant to the European labour market as an appropriate level of qualification”. These arguments are certainly opposed to the Humboldtian model. About 200 years ago, Wilhelm von Humboldt wrote: “There are undeniably certain kinds of knowledge that must be of a general nature and, more importantly, a certain cultivation of the mind and character that nobody can afford to be without. People obviously cannot be good craftworkers, merchants, soldiers or businessmen unless, regardless of their occupation, they are good, upstanding and – according to their condition – well-informed human beings and citizens. If this basis is laid through schooling, vocational skills are easily acquired later on, and a person is always free to move from one occupation to another, as so often happens in life.” Universities have to decide between two perspectives of academic education: between – as the philosopher Nida-Rümelin boldly put it – “McKinsey” and “Humboldt”.

Sustainability: Do Supply Management and Global Sourcing Matter? (Guest Post by Jury Gualandris, UCD)

Is it possible to achieve high environmental and social performance in global supply chains? I am happy to share the following guest post by Dr. Jury Gualandris, shedding some light on this problem. Thank you for contributing to my blog.

Increasing demand from a variety of stakeholders has pushed firms to improve environmental and social sustainability in their supply chains. Over the last decades, however, supply chains have been undergoing a process of increasing globalization, which has created the need for differentiated sustainability approaches for firms sourcing globally rather than regionally. Based on our recent publication in Supply Chain Management: An International Journal (doi:10.1108/SCM-11-2013-0430), we argue that firms leveraging higher levels of global sourcing can manage to reach equivalent environmental and social performance relative to who is sourcing locally. However, such firms must combine traditional supply management with practices having a more specific focus on the society and the environment. On the one hand, traditional supply management based on supply base reduction and coordination will compensate global sourcing’s drawbacks, such as longer distances and socio-economic, cultural differences. On the other, sustainability-oriented monitoring and collaboration will allow to leverage resources and knowledge that are potentially valuable and are not available locally, thus fostering final sustainability performance.

Jury is a Lecturer at UCD Smurfit Graduate Business School in Dublin, Ireland. His studies focus on the management of sustainability, risk and innovation under different supply chain structures. His research has received awards from IPSERA and POMS and has appeared in leading journals of our field.

Gualandris, J., Golini, R., & Kalchschmidt, M. (2014). Do Supply Management and Global Sourcing Matter for Firm Sustainability Performance? Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 19 (3), 258-274 DOI: 10.1108/SCM-11-2013-0430


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