Introducing the Journal of Supply Chain Management (Guest Post by the Co-Editors-in-Chief)

In today’s guest post, Mark Pagell, Brian Fugate and Barbara Flynn highlight what will guide them in their tenure as the new Co-Editors-in-Chief of the Journal of Supply Chain Management.

Being appointed as the co-editors of JSCM is both a great honor and a significant responsibility. The Journal’s mission will remain to be the journal of choice among supply chain scholars across disciplines, by attracting high-quality, high-impact behavioral research focusing on theory building and empirical methodologies. Our changes will be evolutionary not revolutionary and will build on the solid foundations built by the former editors. In our tenure we will be guided by the following: First, JSCM will continue to publish rigorous, empirical research on SCM topics. And this research must contribute to theory, through testing established theoretical foundations or building theory that is unique to the domain. Second, we recognize that methodological best practice is always evolving and situationally specific hence we will not create one-size-fits-all rules that inhibit the development of supply chain knowledge and theory. Third, we have a responsibility to the wider community, especially early career researchers, to continue providing timely and developmental reviews as part of a fair editorial process. JSCM has progressed substantially over the last decade. With your help and guided by the values described above, we hope to continue that progression. For more information please read our recent JSCM editorial.

Mark Pagell holds a Chair in Global Leadership and is a Professor of Sustainable Supply Chain Management at University College Dublin, Ireland. Brian Fugate is the Oren Harris Chair in Transportation, Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management at the University of Arkansas, United States. Barbara Flynn is the Richard M. and Myra Louise Professor of Manufacturing Management at Indiana University, United States.

Pagell, M., Fugate, B., & Flynn, B. (2016). Editorial. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 52 (4), 3-4 DOI: 10.1111/jscm.12128

Why Isn’t SCM Research More Relevant to SCM Practitioners?

“There’s a pervasive paradox in academia”, as Nobel (2016) writes in her recent article (Why Isn’t Business Research More Relevant to Business Practitioners?): “Research conducted at business schools often offers no obvious value to people who work in the world of business.” It seems that “working on relevant problems has little impact on faculty members’ academic success” and the ability to engage with practitioners is not evaluated by academic appointment committees. But what can be done to avoid a disconnect between academics and practitioners in SCM research? How can we be more relevant? One way could be that editors and reviewers routinely ask for research questions that are relevant to practitioners. That does not mean that our research should be “applied”. But it needs to be ensured that research is relevant to the decisions faced by policymakers, managers, and other stakeholders. Nobel’s article provides several ideas that could help SCM researchers to become more relevant.

5th Production & Operations Management World Conference

I just came back from the 5th Production & Operations Management World Conference, which was held in Havana, Cuba. The P&OM World Conference is co-organized every four years by three leading academic associations which represent the operations management discipline in three regions: EurOMA, JOMSA and POMS. What I really like about the conference is the global networking opportunity it offers. The majority of the 450 participants of this year’s conference was European and I met many friends who use to attend the EurOMA Conferences. But, although the political tensions between Cuba and the U.S. made it a bit complicated for U.S. citizens to travel to Havana, the conference also attracted many participants from the U.S. as well as Japan and other parts of the globe. Many participants were leading OM and SCM academics. The next P&OM World Conference, which should not be confused with the POMS Annual Conference in North America, will be organized by JOMSA.

The State of Sustainable Supply Chains

Supply chain management can play a key role to help creating a more sustainable world that leaves no one behind. A new report, The State of Sustainable Supply Chains (pdf), echoes the voices of more than 100 specialists from 70 companies to reveal how companies “are embedding sustainability in their supply chains by managing risks and adopting corporate commitment to human rights, ethics, the environment and the communities from which they source goods and services”. The report was produced by Ernst & Young in association with the United Nations Global Compact. The authors present six main study findings: (1) “Supply chain sustainability can no longer be ignored”; (2) “companies are predominantly risk-driven with aspirations to unlock strategic opportunities and benefits”; (3) “companies tailor their approaches and governance to create sustainable supply chains”; (4) “leading companies are establishing a shared commitment with suppliers”; (5) “technology enables visibility and influence beyond tier 1”; and (6) “collaboration is critical for companies to achieve greater impacts”.

Academic English: Phraseological “Nuts and Bolts”

The best research might not get published if it is communicated in broken English. Recently, I discovered the Academic Phrasebank of the University of Manchester, a resource that was designed for scientific and academic writers who are non-native speakers of English. I believe that it is really useful, as it contains “examples of some of the phraseological ‘nuts and bolts’ of writing organised according to the main sections of a research paper or dissertation”. This includes examples that are related to introducing your work, referring to sources, describing methods, reporting results, discussing findings, and writing conclusions. In addition, it lists phrases “under the more general communicative functions of academic writing” such as “compare and contrast”, “describing trends”, and “defining terms”. This resource might also be helpful for native speakers who want to improve their academic writing skills. Also check out my previous posts about academic English on the sentence level and paragraph level.

Future Research Themes in Supply Chain Management

What are the future dominant research themes in supply chain management? In my new article, Mapping the Landscape of Future Research Themes in Supply Chain Management, co-authored with Robert Handfield and Christian Durach and published in the Journal of Business Logistics, we make an attempt to answer this important question. Our research is based on survey data collected from 141 SCM scholars. Big data ranks 1st on the list of topics that scholars expect will become important in the next years. Interestingly, this topic does not even appear in the top 10 of the list of topics that scholars think should become important. This list is led by sustainability and risk management instead. We calculated the differences between the will-become-important and should-become-important topics. The largest discrepancies can be found for: (1) the “people dimension” of SCM, (2) ethical issues, (3) internal integration, (4) transparency/visibility, and (5) human capital/talent management. These five under-represented topics could thus be good choices for future research projects or special journal issues.

Wieland, A., Handfield, R., & Durach, C. (2016). Mapping the Landscape of Future Research Themes in Supply Chain Management. Journal of Business Logistics, 37 (3), 1-8 DOI: 10.1111/jbl.12131

If you don’t have access to the journal, please feel free to request a copy of the paper via ResearchGate (blue button on their page).

Citations of Excellence Awards 2016

Each year, Emerald awards certificates to highly cited papers, hereby also taking into account the content of the papers (see my previous post). I identified five Citations of Excellence winners related to SCM this year: (1) Technology Designed to Combat Fakes in the Global Supply Chain by Li; (2) The Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Freight Transport by Pooling Supply Chains by Pan, Ballot & Fontane; (3) Ensuring Supply Chain Resilience: Development and Implementation of an Assessment Tool by Pettit, Croxton & Fiksel; (4) Closed-Loop Supply Chains: A Critical Review, and Future Research by Souza; and (5) Data Science, Predictive Analytics, and Big Data: A Revolution that Will Transform Supply Chain Design and Management by Waller & Fawcett. All of these articles were selected from articles published in 2013. It can again be observed that articles dealing with sustainability or resilience seem to have a good chance to become highly cited, but also articles about innovative technologies turn out to be quite popular.

Li, L. (2013). Technology Designed to Combat Fakes in the Global Supply Chain. Business Horizons, 56 (2), 167-177 DOI: 10.1016/j.bushor.2012.11.010

Pan, S., Ballot, E., & Fontane, F. (2013). The Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Freight Transport by Pooling Supply Chains. International Journal of Production Economics, 143 (1), 86-94 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpe.2010.10.023

Pettit, T., Croxton, K., & Fiksel, J. (2013). Ensuring Supply Chain Resilience: Development and Implementation of an Assessment Tool. Journal of Business Logistics, 34 (1), 46-76 DOI: 10.1111/jbl.12009

Souza, G. (2013). Closed-Loop Supply Chains: A Critical Review, and Future Research. Decision Sciences, 44 (1), 7-38 DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5915.2012.00394.x

Waller, M., & Fawcett, S. (2013). Data Science, Predictive Analytics, and Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform Supply Chain Design and Management. Journal of Business Logistics, 34 (2), 77-84 DOI: 10.1111/jbl.12010

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