Contemporary strategic supply chain management (SCM) and logistics issues in Asia

Shong-lee Ivan Su (Business Administration Department, Soochow University, Taipei, Taiwan)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 5 October 2015


Su, S.-l.I. (2015), "Contemporary strategic supply chain management (SCM) and logistics issues in Asia", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 45 No. 9/10.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Contemporary strategic supply chain management (SCM) and logistics issues in Asia

Article Type: Guest editorial From: International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Volume 45, Issue 9/10

A total of 43 papers were submitted to this special issue. Three of the papers were unsubmitted because the topics are not consistent with the strategic focus of the special issue. The remaining 40 papers were entered into the formal review process. We are very pleased that this inaugural Asian strategic supply chain management (SCM) and logistics special issue attracted papers from authors based in many different countries. The greatest number of papers (13) was submitted by colleagues based in Mainland China. Authors based in India (four), Taiwan, Thailand, and Malaysia (three each), South Korea (two) and Australia, Hong Kong and UAE (one each) also submitted papers.

From a geographical context perspective, nine of the papers submitted address strategic issues across Asia while most of the others focus on a particular country or region in Asia. We identify 12 topics that match quite well with the objectives of the special issue. The most prevalent topics are supply chain collaboration/integration and green supply chain strategic issues (six papers for each) in Asia. Asian supply chain risk and third-party logistics (four papers for each) are also popular topics. Papers addressing strategic issues in Asia pertaining to the following topics were also submitted: sustainability, e-commerce, service orientation (two papers each) and logistics innovation (one paper). One intriguing paper that examines the very unique topic of logistics corruption in Asia drawing on data from the Logistics Performance Index database from World Bank was also submitted. However, that paper is still at a relatively early stage and we hope to see this research published in a later issue of IJPDLM. For research methods, nearly half the papers submitted employed survey-based empirical research methods such as regression analysis, structural equation model (SEM) and factor analysis. Case-based and optimization-based methods were also both well represented. A rigorous review process that was consistent with the protocol used for IJPDLM regular issue manuscript submissions resulted in the acceptance of the seven high-quality papers that are presented in this special issue.

The first paper, “Aligning supply chain transportation strategy with industry characteristics – evidence FROM the US-Asia supply chain”, authored by Ke, Windle, Han and Britto uses annual US trade statistics and manufacturing industry data for the years 2002-2009 between the USA and its top 12 Asian trading partners to examine key factors associated with the international transport modal decision. The study findings indicate that manufacturing industries use more air freight and less ocean freight when facing positive sales surprises, high monthly demand variation, a high contribution margin ratio, a high cost of capital and increased competition. While transportation cost remains an important concern, a logistics manager must also consider non-cost factors such as competition, working capital and demand uncertainties in their modal decisions.

In the second paper, “New product introduction and supplier integration in sales and operations planning: evidence from the Asia Pacific region”, Goh investigates the implementation and performance benefits of Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) within organizations in the Asia-Pacific region. The findings illustrate the potential quantitative benefits of adopting S&OP and the circumstances under which these benefits may be achieved. This paper strengthens the link between practitioner and academic literature by providing empirical evidence of the benefits of S&OP.

The third paper, “The impact of dependence and relationship commitment on logistics outsourcing” by Huo, Liu, Kang and Zhao develops a theoretical framework of “dependence-relationship commitment-logistics outsourcing-service quality” to examine the roles of relational factors in logistics outsourcing and their outcomes. The model and hypotheses are tested with survey data collected from 361 companies in Greater China (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan) applying the SEM approach. The results show that both normative and instrumental relationship commitment are necessary for 3PL users to achieve goals that are contingent on 3PL provider performance. This study contributes to 3PL theory and practices by providing a deep understanding about relationship management approaches of 3PL users and providers in the Greater China region.

In the fourth paper, “An integrated shipment planning and storage capacity decision under uncertainty: a simulation study”, Pujawan, Arief, Tjahjono and Kritchanchai present a new method for integrating operational and strategic decision parameters, namely shipment planning and storage capacity decision under uncertainty for maritime logistics of bulk shipment of commodity items. The results suggest that the number of ships deployed, silo capacity, working hours of ports and the dispatching rules of ships significantly affect both total costs and service levels. Interestingly, the study findings indicate that operating fewer ships enables firms to achieve almost the same service levels while gaining substantial cost savings if constraints on other parts of the system are alleviated, i.e., storage capacities and working hours of ports are extended.

The fifth paper, “The impact of supply chain disruptions on stockholder wealth in India” by Kumar, Liu and Scutella studies the stock market impact of supply chain disruptions in Indian companies. The research study also aims to understand the difference in financial implications from disruptions between companies in India and the USA. The results show that Indian companies on average lose 2.88 percent of shareholder wealth in an 11-day window covering five days pre- and post-disruption announcements. A significant stock decline was observed as early as three days prior to announcements, indicating the possibilities of insider trading and information differentials between investors. Moreover, compared to US companies, Indian companies experience significantly higher stock declines following the announcement of a supply chain disruption.

In the sixth paper, “Moderating effect of environmental supply chain collaboration: Evidence from Taiwan”, Chen, Wu and Wu explore how corporate environmental strategies, namely, environmental management strategy (EMS) and green product strategy (GPS), affect firm competitiveness. The study indicates that significant performance improvements are influenced by the real environmental commitment of companies to internal green management as well as by firms' positive commitment to leveraging external environmental management capabilities in external collaborative relationships with suppliers and customers. The study findings suggest that the moderating role of environmental supply chain collaboration may explain the conflicting results on environment-performance linkages in the extant literature. More specifically, the findings indicate that suppliers and customers can impact EMS and GPS in direct and/or interactive ways, to enhance firm performance.

The final paper, “Salient task environment, reverse logistics and performance”, by Huang, Rahman, Wu and Huang investigates the impact of the salient task environment on reverse logistics (RL) practices and organizational performance in the context of the Taiwanese computer, communications and consumer electronics (3C) retail industry. The results suggest that three out of four constituents of the task environment: government agencies, suppliers and customers (but not competitors) are associated positively with RL activities. This study also identifies the mediating effect of RL, indicating that superior performance emerges when a company's RL strategies match the salient task environment. The findings provide insight into the relationships between task environment constituents, RL and environmental/economic performance that can further inform 3C retail industry firms to more effectively design and develop appropriate strategy for RL. In particular, by implementing RL, companies can increase their profitability by reducing their costs and investments in inventory.

In conclusion, the seven interesting manuscripts in this special issue showcase the diverse strategic supply chain management and logistics research interests in Asia as well as the highly diverse nature of Asian economies. This special issue also reinforces the commitment of Emerald Publishing, the editor of IJPDLM and the IJPDLM editorial team towards attracting submissions from Asian SCM and logistics scholars. The Editorial in Volume 45, Issue 3 by Professor Haozhe Chen of Iowa State University was commissioned by the Editor, Professor Alexander Ellinger and myself with a view to promoting our sincere wish to capture the growing vitality of the Asian SCM and logistics research community and be perceived as a journal of choice by scholars in the field.

We therefore urge colleagues to read Professor Chen's editorial that is posted on the journal website as well as editorials by other senior associate editors that are designed to help prospective authors familiarize themselves with IJPDLM. We will also shortly be launching a second special issue regarding the Asian context strategic issues.

Finally, I greatly appreciate the participation of all the authors who submitted their research to this inaugural Asian context special issue of IJPDLM. My sincere thanks to all the reviewers, particularly to Mark Goh, Michael Crum, Martin Dresner, Tom Corsi, Britta Gammelgaard, Hoazhe Chen, Fisher Ke, Kuo-chung Shang who each reviewed multiple papers and without whose efforts this special issue would not have materialized. Congratulations also to the authors whose research is included. It is my privilege to bring this prestigious special issue to fruition.

Shong-lee Ivan Su, Business Administration Department, Soochow University, Taipei, Taiwan