This paper aims to focus on systematically analysing and synthesising the extant research published on supply chain integration (SCI) area, given the significance of SCI research area. More specifically, the authors aim to answer three questions: “Q1 – What are the factors (e.g. both driving and inhibiting) that influence SCI?”, “Q2 – What are the key developments (e.g. both in research and industry) in SCI area?” and “Q3 – What are the approaches employed/discussed to integrate supply chains?”. Over the past decade, SCI has gained increasing attention in the supply chain management (SCM) context, both from the practitioners’ perspective and as a research area. In realising the global transformations and competitive business environment, a number of organisations are collaborating with their supply chain (SC) partners, to conduct seamless SC operations.
A systematic and structured literature review is carried out to observe and understand the past trends and extant patterns/themes in the SCI research area, evaluate contributions and summarise knowledge, thereby identifying limitations, implications and potential directions of further research. Thus, to trace the implementation of SCI practices, a profiling approach is used to analyse 293 articles (published in English-speaking peer-reviewed journals between 2000 and 2013) extracted from the Scopus database. The Systematic Review Approach proposed by Tranfield et al. (2003) was followed to analyse and synthesise the extant literature on SCI area.
The analysis presented in this paper has identified relevant SCI research studies that have contributed to the development and accumulation of intellectual wealth to the SCI and SCM area. Each of the 293 papers was examined for achieving the aim and objectives of the research, the method of data collection, the data analysis method and quality measures. While some of the papers provided information on all of these categories, most of them failed to provide all the information, especially for Q2 and Q3 that resulted in 23 and 21 papers, respectively.
This study would have benefited from the analysis of further journals; however, the analysis of 293 articles from leading journals in the field of operations and SCM was deemed sufficient in scope. Moreover, this research has implications for researchers, journal editors, practitioners, universities and research institutions. It is likely to form the basis and motivation for profiling other database resources and specific operations and SCM-type journals in this area.
This systematic literature review highlights a taxonomy of contextual factors driving and inhibiting SCI for researchers and SC practitioners to refer to while researching or implementing SCI. It also exemplifies some areas for future research, along with the need for researchers to focus on developing more practical techniques for implementing SCI and improving organisational performance.
The prime value and uniqueness of this paper lies in analysing and compiling the existing published material in relation to Q1, Q2 and Q3, including examining other variables (such as yearly publications, geographic location of each publication, type of publication, type of research methods used), which lacks in the recent published five SCI literature review-based articles (by Kim, 2013; Leuschner et al., 2013; Alfalla-Luque et al., 2013; Parente et al., 2008; Fabbe-Costes and Jahre, 2007). This has been achieved by extracting and synthesising existing publications using “Supply Chain Integration” keyword. This paper provides a critique of the conceptual and empirical works in SCI discipline and offers research agendas that can stimulate future researchers to carefully explore the topic.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the reviewers for their constructive and detailed feedback/comments in the first draft of this paper. Their feedback/comments have helped to improve this paper.
Mustafa Kamal, M. and Irani, Z. (2014), "Analysing supply chain integration through a systematic literature review: a normative perspective", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 19 No. 5/6, pp. 523-557. https://doi.org/10.1108/SCM-12-2013-0491
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