Issues in Supply Chain Management
Lambert & Cooper’s (2000) paper Issues in Supply Chain Management has certainly been one of the most influential articles of our discipline. Herein, they presented a framework for SCM as well as questions for how it could be implemented. The framework contained a set of cross-functional, cross-organizational business processes that could be used as a way to manage relationships with customers and suppliers. The article continues to be an important cornerstone in research on the topic of integration. Now, more than fifteen years later, Lambert & Enz (2016) present an updated version, Issues in Supply Chain Management: Progress and Potential. Herein, the authors “review the progress that has been made in the development and implementation of the proposed SCM framework since 2000 and identify opportunities for further research”. Interestingly, they have changed their minds about some statements made in the 2000 article, for example that competition is no longer between companies, but between supply chains, which they now argue is not technically correct. The authors also present a revised version of the framework from 2000.
Lambert, D.M. & Cooper, M.C. (2000). Issues in Supply Chain Management. Industrial Marketing Management, 29 (1), 65-83. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0019-8501(99)00113-3
Lambert, D.M. & Enz, M.G. (2016). Issues in Supply Chain Management: Progress and Potential. Industrial Marketing Management, 62, 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.indmarman.2016.12.002
The Fascinating Future of SCM
Who would have said ten years ago that SCM is an exciting discipline? Not many! But isn’t it exciting what is currently going on? We can observe a number of disruptive innovations that are about to shift the way business is done. If we want to get a taste of what we will experience in SCM in the near future, we can look at how high-tech companies define it already now (see for example Microsoft’s definition of SCM): It will be about true visibility across end-to-end processes – and these processes involve raw material suppliers, component suppliers, …, and ultimately consumers. We might soon need to trash current textbooks that are based on over-simplistic OR models and Excel sheets. Such approaches are often too static to keep pace with current developments. Business schools will have to re-think their SCM curricula: Programming skills and knowledge about artificial intelligence might soon be expected by any SCM graduate.
A Theory of Robust Supply Chains
Strategies and practices to achieve supply chain resilience have been at the heart of supply chain management practice and research for almost a decade. However, such efforts have often focused on ways to make supply chains more reactive to turbulence and disruptions. In our recent article, Antecedents and Dimensions of Supply Chain Robustness, my co-authors, Christian F. Durach and José A.D. Machuca, and me build a theoretical framework that depicts antecedents and dimensions of a second, rather proactive construct: supply chain robustness. We define supply chain robustness as the ability of a supply chain to resist or avoid change. Some of my previous research has shown that this construct is even more positively related with business performance than supply chain agility. Through reviewing 94 articles, and a Q-sorting exercise, we identify four (i.e. leadership commitment, human capital, relationship magnitude, and risk management orientation) important intra-organizational robustness antecedents and four (i.e. node centrality, bargaining power, visibility, and network complexity) inter-organizational robustness antecedents.
Durach, C., Wieland, A., & Machuca, J. (2015). Antecedents and Dimensions of Supply Chain Robustness: A Systematic Literature Review. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 45 (1/2), 118-137 https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPDLM-05-2013-0133
The Mechanisms of Supply Chain Resilience
Two ingredients are needed to create supply chain resilience (Wieland & Wallenburg, 2013): robustness, which is proactive, and agility, which is reactive. Robustness builds on anticipation “to gain knowledge about potential changes that might occur in the future” and preparedness “to maintain a stable situation”. Agility builds on visibility “to gain knowledge about actual changes that are currently occurring” and speed “to get back to a stable situation”.
Wieland, A., & Wallenburg, C.M. (2013). The Influence of Relational Competencies on Supply Chain Resilience: A Relational View. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 43 (4), 300-320 https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPDLM-08-2012-0243
Reputational Dependencies in the Supply Chain
A Munich court is currently hearing a case that involves several members of a supply chain: (1) Alfred Ritter, a manufacturer of chocolate (“Ritter Sport”), (2) Symrise, Ritter’s supplier of piperonal, an aromatic compound, (3) Stiftung Warentest, an influential consumer organization, whose verdicts frequently lead to an increase or decrease in sales in Germany, and (4) the end consumers. Stiftung Warentest conducted tests on Ritter’s hazelnut chocolate. They argue that piperonal, a vanilla flavoring, cannot be gained in a natural way and is, thus, falsely labelled by Ritter as a “natural flavor”. According to Symrise, “[t]he piperonal contained in this flavor is not ‘chemically’ manufactured, contrary to the statements made by Stiftung Warentest”. The court’s decision will be announced on January 13th. The case has confused consumers and influenced their shopping behaviors in the important winter season. It demonstrates that reputation is a strategic asset and reputational dependencies exist in the supply chain.
Update (2014-01-13): Alfred Ritter won the dispute against Stiftung Warentest.
Citations of Excellence Awards 2013
Some of you may remember my last year’s post about the 2012 Citations of Excellence Awards. A year has passed since and Emerald Management Reviews has now announced the winners of the 2013 Citation of Excellence Awards. I went through the list of 50 awarded papers and discovered two papers which I think are particularly relevant to our field. First, a paper by Lawson et al. (2009), Knowledge Sharing in Interorganizational Product Development Teams: The Effect of Formal and Informal Socialization Mechanisms, reveals that informal socialization mechanisms, including communication guidelines and social events, “play an important role in facilitating interorganizational knowledge sharing”. Second, a paper by Pagell and Wu (2009), Building a More Complete Theory of Sustainable Supply Chain Management Using Case Studies of 10 Exemplars, examines the supply chain as an entirety and builds “a coherent and testable model of the elements necessary to create a sustainable supply chain”. Congratulations to the winners of the awards.
Lawson, B., Petersen, K.J., Cousins, P.D., & Handfield, R.B. (2009). Knowledge Sharing in Interorganizational Product Development Teams: The Effect of Formal and Informal Socialization Mechanisms. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 26 (2), 156-172 DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5885.2009.00343.x
Pagell, M., & Wu, Z. (2009). Building a More Complete Theory of Sustainable Supply Chain Management Using Case Studies of 10 Exemplars. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 45 (2), 37-56 DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-493X.2009.03162.x
A Tale of Supply Chain Integration
“Many years ago there lived an emperor …” Rarely do research articles start like a fairy tale. But have supply chain researchers been taken in by a fairy tale for too long? In their article Supply chain integration improves performance: the Emperor’s new suit?, the authors, Fabbe-Costes and Jahre, observe contradictory statements in the SCM literature: Some authors state “that there is a positive relation between supply chain integration […] and performance”. However, other authors suggest “that integration might be more difficult in practice than in theory, that it should be differentiated and that it is more rhetoric than reality”. The article reviews prior studies on relations between integration and performance and conclude that “the contribution of supply chain integration is not as obvious as logistics and supply chain researchers usually think”. Is supply chain integration the Emperors’ New Suit of business? The article was published in 2007 in the International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management.