Archive | February 2015

Ranking SCM Journals: ABS Academic Journal Guide 2015

The UK-based Association of Business Schools (ABS) has published its Academic Journal Guide. It is the successor of the often criticized Academic Journal Quality Guide. And this is how the new Guide ranks supply chain management journals: The only grade 4* (“excellent”) journal is: Journal of Operations Management. Other “top journals” (grade 4) are: International Journal of Operations & Production Management and Production and Operations Management. Examples of “highly regarded” journals (grade 3) in the list are: Journal of Supply Chain Management and Supply Chain Management: An International Journal. Some other “well regarded” journals (grade 2) are: International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Journal of Business Logistics and Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management.

Given the low grades of some journals with high impact factors and considering their reputation in our field, I am not convinced of the quality of this new ABS list. For example, in spite of its reputation as a leading SCM journal and its higher impact factor, ABS ranks JBL two (!) grades lower than IJOPM. Another ranking, VHB-JOURQUAL, seems to reflect the theoretical and methodological breadth of our discipline much better – maybe because it is based on the opinions of several hundred business researchers rather than an expert panel like in the case of ABS. However, qualitative rankings like ABS and JOURQUAL can be a good supplement to quantitative rankings based on impact factors.

But always keep in mind that journal rankings have a downside and should not be used as criteria for judging a researcher (they can only be used for judging a journal, in fact). I fear that the new ABS ranking will serve as exactly such a criterion in many business schools now. Isn’t the quality of our own articles a much better criterion than the average quality of all articles published in a journal (including the very bad and very good ones)? But this would require the members of an appointment committee to read what the candidates have actually published – maybe too much of an effort? And, if paradigm shifts often start in low-ranked journals, should our incentive system really prevent us from publishing in journals with ABS ranks below 3? Access the ABS guide here: ABS Academic Journal Guide.

Supply Chain 2015

Last week, a well-made special report by Raconteur, titled Supply Chain 2015 (pdf), was distributed in The Times of London. I very much enjoyed reading it. The authors make clear that “contracting has to be far more agile than a traditional long-term sourcing process and relationship” and they discover that “many companies are unprepared for increased complexity”. The report also discusses five megatrends, each having implications for supply chain management: (1) shift in global economic power; (2) demographic and social change; (3) technological breakthroughs; (4) climate change and resource scarcity; and (5) rapid urbanization. Other topics covered by the report are, among others, strategic procurement, top technologies, demand prediction, sustainable supply chains and cross-border delivery. The report also contains an analysis of three selected sectors (retail, construction and pharmaceutical) and additional case studies, including a case study on the 2013 Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh. More information can be found on the homepage of Raconteur’s Supply Chain 2015 report.

A Theory of the Supply Chain

In their very insightful essay, Toward the Theory of the Supply Chain, Carter, Rogers & Choi (2015) argue that “before we continue to build theories of supply chain management, we must first develop a theory of the supply chain – the phenomenon that we purport to manage”. I could not agree more with their argument. Indeed, without focusing on the supply chain before focusing on how to manage it, SCM research would not be more than fishing in murky waters. The authors present six foundational premises to characterize a supply chain. These provide “a holistic conceptualization of the supply chain – what it is and how it behaves”. Moreover, the authors present several future avenues for further developing their conceptualization of the supply chain. I can only recommend reading this important new paper and I am convinced that it will have a major influence on how future SCM research is being conducted.

Carter, C.R., Rogers, D.S., & Choi, T.Y. (2015). Toward the Theory of the Supply Chain. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 51 (2), 89–97 DOI: 10.1111/jscm.12073

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