Supply chains evolve and change in size, shape and configuration, and in how they are coordinated, controlled and managed. Some supply chains are mature and relatively unchanging. Some are subject to significant change. New supply chains may emerge and evolve for a variety of reasons. The purpose of this paper is to examine the nature of supply chain evolution and address the question “What makes a supply chain like it is?”
The paper analyses and develops key aspects, concepts and principal themes concerning the emergence and evolution of supply chains over their lifecycle.
The paper defines the supply chain lifecycle and identifies six factors that interact and may affect a supply chain over its lifecycle – technology and innovation, economics, markets and competition, policy and regulation, procurement and sourcing, supply chain strategies and re-engineering. A number of emergent themes and propositions on factors affecting a supply chain’s characteristics over its lifecycle are presented. The paper argues that a new science is needed to investigate and understand the supply chain lifecycle.
Supply chains are critical for the world economy and essential for modern life. Understanding the supply chain lifecycle and how supply chains evolve provides new perspectives for contemporary supply chain design and management.
The paper presents detailed analysis, critique and reflections from leading researchers on emerging, evolving and mature supply chains.
MacCarthy, B.L., Blome, C., Olhager, J., Srai, J.S. and Zhao, X. (2016), "Supply chain evolution – theory, concepts and science", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 36 No. 12, pp. 1696-1718. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-02-2016-0080
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited