Remaining Carbon Budget

The IPCC defines the world’s remaining carbon budget as the cumulative net global anthropogenic CO2 emissions to the time that emissions reach net zero that would result in limiting global warming to a given level, accounting for the impact of other anthropogenic emissions. In other words, it allows us to calculate how much CO2 can still be released to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C and 2°C, respectively. Currently, emissions equivalent to 42 gigatonnes (Gt) of CO2 are released globally every year. The following MCC Carbon Clock shows that time is ticking very fast and that we urgently would need to decarbonize our global supply chains.

Supply Chain Risk Management: Revisiting Ericsson

Norrman & Jansson’s (2004) case study on Ericsson’s supply chain risk management (SCRM) practices is definitely part of the canon of SCM literature. After 15 years, it was time for an update. Together with Andreas Norrman, I visited Ericsson in Stockholm to investigate their SCRM practices. The results can now be found in our new article, The Development of Supply Chain Risk Management over Time: Revisiting Ericsson. Our article demonstrates how Ericsson’s SCRM practices have developed, indicating that improved functional capabilities are increasingly combined across silos and leveraged by formalized learning processes. Important enablers are IT capabilities, a fine-grained and cross-functional organization, and a focus on monitoring and compliance. Major developments in SCRM are often triggered by incidents, but also by requirements from external stakeholders and new corporate leaders actively focusing on SCRM and related activities. Although our article did not focus on SCM in the era of COVID-19, decision-makers can learn about many practices and tools that might also be useful to cope with the current situation.

Norrman, A. & Wieland, A. (2020). The Development of Supply Chain Risk Management over Time: Revisiting Ericsson. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPDLM-07-2019-0219

How To Be An Anti-Racist in SCM

The world is currently watching the shocking cases of police violence in the United States. But racism also exists on a smaller, more subtle level. In a recent interview, Terry Esper, a logistics scholar from The Ohio State University, shares his experience with racism and gives us excellent advice.

Let Us Not Go Back To Normal

Many observers are currently talking about how we could go back to normal as quickly as possible. But what is “normality” and is it desirable? Should we really turn to cost reduction and just-in-time processes again? Wasn’t that the reason to put all medical supply eggs in the China basket? Didn’t that make our supply chains extremely vulnerable? We should accept the corona crisis as a warning sign, as an opportunity to fundamentally question the structure of our global supply chains. The corona crisis has fortunately led to effective political measures worldwide. Based on scientific knowledge, political decision-makers seem to be able to anticipate the catastrophic consequences of not taking such measures. These measures certainly hurt, but they are necessary. Unfortunately, effective measures to flatten the curve of the climate and biodiversity crises have so far largely failed to materialize. The corona crisis has shown us that we cannot look at global supply chains in isolation, but can only understand them in a larger context, and we have understood that they require reformation. Hopefully we will be able to transfer this understanding to other crises. Instead of going back to normal, we should anticipate the catastrophic consequences of the old model and reimagine our global supply chains accordingly, thereby having the larger picture in mind. If we can do that, then there is at least something good about the corona crisis, however tragic it is overall. This transformation of our economic system should also guide our academic work in the months to come. Stay healthy!

CfP: 15th CSCMP European Research Seminar (ERS) on Logistics and SCM

COVID-19 Update: These are extraordinary times that require all of us to depart from what we had planned! We, the chairs of the 2020 CSCMP European Research Seminar and the whole scientific committee, have decided to move the planned seminar in Barcelona to a virtual space.

We are aware that a virtual conference is not the same as a traditional conference. Some features of a conference can just not be virtualized. However, online formats can also offer new opportunities that will allow us to be experimental, involve new ways of interaction, provide new forms of feedback, and strengthen the ERS community. The more we discussed these opportunities, the more we are excited by them!

The virtual conference will take place at and around the time originally planned: June 18 and 19, 2020 plus probably a few days to also allow for some asynchronous formats. In addition, we will extend the deadlines for submission of full papers, conference papers, research idea proposals, and proposals for discussion forums by two weeks (i.e., until April 8). If you have already submitted, you don’t need to do anything.

We will soon inform you via our webpage about further details, but we can already promise that the virtual ERS will provide several exciting new formats that we are sure you will like!

Please visit: https://www.ers-conference.org/

Carl Marcus Wallenburg (WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management) & Andreas Wieland (Copenhagen Business School), conference co-chairs

Supply Chain Resilience and COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak demonstrates that our global supply chains have become very vulnerable systems. I had the pleasure of speaking to Future Insights Network about the impact of COVID-19 on the global supply chain and resilience last week.

Overcoming the Gender Gap in SCM Research

Today we celebrate International Women’s Day. This occasion gives me the opportunity to talk about an imbalance between the number of female and male scholars in our academic discipline. In a recently published analysis, Babbar et al. (2019) identified the top 50 SCM authors world-wide based on a measure of publication score. It turns out that less than 10 out of these top 50 authors are female. What could be done to make the great achievements of our female colleagues more visible? One way could be to explicitly mention the gender of female authors. In the case of multiple authors this could be done by replacing “Lastname et al.” with “Lastname and her coauthors” or “Lastname and her research team”, or in the case of a single author by replacing a neutral “the author” with “she” or “her”. Such linguistic tricks will certainly not solve the problem, but could help to produce role models and thereby inspire female readers to pursue an academic career. Could it be a good idea to include such suggestions in the author guidelines of our leading SCM journals?

Social Network Analysis in Supply Chain Management

It is time to take a closer look at Borgatti & Li’s (2009) important article: On Social Network Analysis in a Supply Chain Context. The article has become part of the canon of SCM literature since its publication and it is now a mandatory reading in many SCM master programs across the globe. In simple language, the article offers a very good introduction to the subject of social networks and relates social network concepts (e.g., ego network, node centrality, structural hole, structural equivalence) to the supply chain context. Even ten years after its publication, the article has not lost its relevance for our discipline. Last year, it was one of the ten most downloaded articles from the Journal of Supply Chain Management. The authors argue “that the network perspective has the potential to be a unifying force that can bring together many different streams of management research, including SCM, into a coherent management science perspective”. I agree.

Borgatti, S.P. & Li, X. (2009). On Social Network Analysis in a Supply Chain Context. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 45 (2), 5-22. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-493X.2009.03166.x

The Reproducibility Crisis

In her insightful Nature comment Rein in the Four Horsemen of Irreproducibility, Dorothy Bishop describes how threats to reproducibility, recognized but unaddressed for decades, might finally be brought under control, by avoiding what she refers to as “the four horsemen of the reproducibility apocalypse”: publication bias, low statistical power, P-value hacking and HARKing (hypothesizing after results are known). In the video below she makes several important points. My perception is that the SCM research community does not take the reproducibility debate seriously enough.

Containers

I am currently listening to Containers, an 8-part audio documentary about how global trade has transformed ourselves and the economy. Herein, journalist Alexis Madrigal leads us “through the world of ships and sailors, technology and tugboats, warehouses and cranes”. I am sure this documentary will be interesting also for many of the readers of this blog.