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Supply chain management in Latin America: current research and future directions

Martin Tanco (School of Engineering, Universidad de Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay)
Matias Escuder (School of Engineering, Universidad de Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay)
Gerardo Heckmann (School of Economics, Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, Cordoba, Argentina)
Daniel Jurburg (School of Engineering, Universidad de Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay)
Josue Velazquez (Center for Transportation and Logistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 1 October 2018

Issue publication date: 17 October 2018




For the past 20 years, Latin American countries have gone from being a low-cost region to significant players in the world economy, with five of its countries ranked among the world’s 50th largest by gross domestic product. This paper aims to study the contribution of Latin American researchers in the field of supply chain management (SCM) to aid an understanding of the Latin American impact within global supply chains (SCs).


The authors present a study which includes a bibliometric analysis of the papers authored by Latin American researchers in the SCM field and which were exclusively published in journals included in the Journal Citation Reports. In addition, the authors conducted a survey to Latin American researchers and consultants to gain greater understanding of the main difficulties, which in their opinion, have negatively affected the SCM area in Latin America within the past five years, and identify possible misalignment between Latin American research and the challenges for SC in the region.


The results show that Latin American research on SCM in the past nine years is not significant for the field considering the number of papers, citations and the papers published in top journals. Another interesting finding is the lack of collaboration among researchers from different Latin American countries, as well as with corporate. Finally, survey results reveal significant differences regarding the main difficulties each country perceived as relevant.

Practical implications

Comparing results from both analyses, relevant misalignments stand out between published research and the main difficulties detected. These suggest a challenging opportunity for Latin America, emphasizing the need to increase research contribution of the scientific community, through collaboration and alignment toward overcoming the most troublesome difficulties for Latin America. Therefore, the authors suggest future regional research directions which could also help global companies to tackle the challenges faced and optimize performance of their Latin American SCs.


To the best of the authors’ knowledge, no previous research on the quality and impact of Latin American research in SCM has been conducted. Also, misalignments between researchers and practitioners in the region, which allow identifying weaknesses of Latin American SCs, have not been studied before.



Tanco, M., Escuder, M., Heckmann, G., Jurburg, D. and Velazquez, J. (2018), "Supply chain management in Latin America: current research and future directions", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 23 No. 5, pp. 412-430.



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