Archive | August 2016

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).

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