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Contrasting supply chain traceability and supply chain visibility: are they interchangeable?

Vivek Roy ( Department of Operations Management and Decision Sciences , Indian Institute of Management Kashipur , Kashipur, India)

The International Journal of Logistics Management

ISSN: 0957-4093

Article publication date: 26 January 2021

Issue publication date: 22 July 2021




Supply chain traceability and supply chain visibility have become a critical element for the effective management of contemporary complex supply chains. At their core is information sharing, which has been acknowledged as a key prerequisite for logistics and supply chain performance, but whose notional underpinnings have not been delineated fully, leading to interchangeable deployment of these terms. Addressing the shortcoming, this paper aims to establish a contrast between the two notions.


Drawing from systematic review protocols, a multi-disciplinary review scope is constructed wherein the synthesis is strategized to primarily channel implications for the scholarship of logistics and supply chain management. The review is aimed at addressing two research objectives: (1) how the notions of traceability and visibility in supply chain management develop contrast in terms of their thematic emphasis and (2) to attain an integrative understanding of the notional convergence and divergence between supply chain traceability and visibility for raising strategic recommendations.


The review outcomes help contrast both the convergence and the divergence between traceability and visibility in the supply chain environment, and the differentiated but fundamental role that information sharing plays within these notions to outline why they are not interchangeable.


The originality of the findings lies in the conceptual synthesis of the relevant literature from both technological and non-technological perspectives to ultimately draw logistics and supply chain management implications. The review also points out key strategic considerations to demarcate the notional boundaries of traceability and visibility in future research.



Thanks are due to Mr. Nilanjan Bhattacharya who served as Research Assistant in this study for a limited course of progress. I am grateful to my mentor Prof. Tobias Schoenherr of Michigan State University.


Roy, V. (2021), "Contrasting supply chain traceability and supply chain visibility: are they interchangeable?", The International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 942-972.



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