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Assessing the drivers of change for cross‐border supply chains

Ari‐Pekka Hameri (Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland)
Juha Hintsa (Cross‐Border Research Association, Lausanne, Switzerland)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 9 October 2009




This paper aims to systematically document drivers of change and the implications they will have on international supply chain management in the coming two decades.


This study was commissioned by the World Customs Organization (WCO) at the end of June 2006. Because of increased trade volumes, emerging complex supply networks and heightened security concerns, the WCO saw the need to assess future trends and drivers in supply chain management. The Delphi method was applied to identify a set of foreseeable drivers of change and to assess their predicted impact on global supply chain management in the coming ten to 20 years. Based on a literature review of 150 recent publications and interviews among 33 industry, academic and customs experts, a survey was designed and conducted to collect current and potential change drivers in global supply chains. These drivers were compiled and prioritized by an eclectic team of 12 specialists.


The main results of the study are strongly connected to strategic and operational supply chain planning for the next ten to 20 years. They are related to increased off‐shoring of operations through truly global manufacturing, characterized by its intercontinental supply of materials; increased product complexity with shorter product life cycles; increased importance of business‐to‐government networking for operational and security efficiency; introduction of new supply chain services integrating financial, physical and information flows leading to further consolidation in the logistics markets; and the overall increase in risks and vulnerabilities in international supply chains.


This paper provides a 360 degree view of the future of international supply chain management and the challenges companies will face to compete in the twenty‐first century business environment.



Hameri, A. and Hintsa, J. (2009), "Assessing the drivers of change for cross‐border supply chains", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 39 No. 9, pp. 741-761.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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