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Georgios I. DoukidisProfessor in Information Systems and Chairman of the Department of Management Science and Technology at the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB). He holds an MSc and a PhD in OR/IS from the London School of Economics, where he taught as a lecturer for six years in the Information Systems Department, and currently is a visiting Professor at Brunel University. He has published 12 books and more than 100 papers and has acted as guest editor for the Journal of Operational Research Society, the European Journal of Information Systems, the Journal of Information Technology and the International Journal of Electronic Commerce. He is founder and director of the eBusiness Research Center of AUEB (ELTRUN) which with 30 full-time researchers is one of the largest in European Business Schools that specializes in m-Commerce, digital TV, knowledge management, supply chain management, ebusiness models, digital marketing and IS management. In an academic career spanning 22 years, he has presented various IS scientific papers in more than 120 international and national conferences in 22 different countries and acted as Chairman in the following international conferences: European Conference in Information Systems (1995), International Electronic Commerce Conference (1998), International Conference of the Decision Sciences Institute (1999), International Conference on Mobile Business (2002). His latest book, Consumer Driven Electronic Transformation: Applying New Technologies to Enthuse Consumers, was published by Springer-Verlag in December 2004.
Collaboration is a recent trend in supply chain management that focuses on joint planning, coordination, and process integration between suppliers, customers, and other partners in a supply chain. Its competitive benefits include cost reductions, higher return on assets and increased reliability and responsiveness to market needs. However, it has been reported that supply chain collaboration has proved difficult to implement, both in terms of technologies and information systems involved, but mainly from various other organizational perspectives.
Recent advances in information and communication technologies, along with a growing use of strategic partnering and outsourcing relationships, has resulted in a confusing assortment of alternative technological approaches for supporting collaborative supply chain management. Current enterprises lack the theoretical background and tools to effectively assess the various alternatives. On the other hand, during the past years we have witnessed an over-reliance on technology and little attention paid to aspects such as trust between trading partners, incentives schemes, or performance measurement.
Therefore, there is a growing need for a greater understanding of the elements that make up supply chain collaboration and in particular how the relevant cultural, strategic and implementation elements inter-relate with each other. In addition, there is a growing need for efficient and reliable performance measurement that captures the costs and benefits of collaboration across the total supply chain, and not just from the perspective of an individual company. Associating this to supply chain responsiveness and capability to effectively and efficiently respond to increasing customer needs is another challenge.
Past research on the aforementioned aspects of supply chain collaboration tends to be fragmented. Therefore, there is a growing need for solid theory and integrated understanding of the performances, successes, failures, critical issues and motives for supply chain collaboration, in order to advance the theory development and enhance collaborative practices towards more responsive supply chains. The specific issue SCMIJ devoted to this purpose through work in different fields, as demonstrated by the following papers. The issue is a follow-up of the papers presented in the 3rd International Workshop on “Supply-chain management and Information Systems” (Ketikidis and Koh, 2005) that took place in July 2005 in Thessaloniki, Greece.
In their paper titled “A conceptual framework for supply chain collaboration: empirical evidence from the agri-food industry”, Matopoulos, Vlachopoulou, Manthou and Manos analyze the concept of supply chain collaboration and provide an overall framework that can be used as a conceptual landmark for further empirical research. They further explore this framework in the context of the agri-food industry, submitting empirical evidence from an exploratory case study at the grower-processor interface involving small medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Mason, Lalwani and Boughton look into a different sector and in their paper entitled “Combing vertical and horizontal collaboration for transport optimization” examine various collaborative initiatives in the road freight transport industry. Based on a three year action-based research program focusing on transport integration in supply chains, the paper sets out a viewpoint of why logistics and transport managers as well as their customers may need to collaborate and aims to summarize and categorize a range of identified collaborative models that can be adopted to better optimize transport performance. Rather than just presenting a list of collaborative alternatives, the paper shows how the adoption of models which combine both vertical and horizontal collaboration simultaneously can support better optimised transport solutions.
Chang, Fu, Lee, Lin and Hsueh select to study the CPFR practice and in their work entitled “A study of an augmented CPFR model for the 3C retail industry” propose and test an augmented collaborative planning, forecasting, and replenishment (A-CPFR) model in a retailer-supplier context in the computer, communication, and consumer (3C) retail industry. Based on the results from a real case presented in the paper, the authors suggest an augmented model which they then validate through simulation, based on measurements of forecasting accuracy, with a view to reducing the “bullwhip effect” in the supply chain.
Pramatari, in her paper titled “Collaborative supply chain practices and evolving technological approaches” takes on a technological perspective and examines the enabling role of information technology and how this has evolved in supporting various supply chain collaboration practices. Based on practical evidence from three different case studies, the paper draws interesting conclusions regarding the suitability and criticality of the technological approach used to support collaboration, especially in relation to the use of a web-platform as compared to the classical EDI approach and to a distributed-application-architecture supporting RFID-enabled collaboration.
Finally, examining a specific technological implementation, the paper titled “Integration of web-based and RFID technology in visualizing logistics operations – a case study” by Chow, Choy and Lee proposes an integrated approach in the development of a web-based logistics information management system (ILIMS) employing RFID technology in logistics processes. The paper reports on an interesting real-life case study and has added-value considering the market that it is targeted at. In particular, the paper has chosen a successful and well-tested IT solution and applied it in a market where advanced logistic processes are still in their infancy.
I would like to thank the 15 referees, for their hard work on reviewing the submitted papers, and Dr L. Koh and Dr P. Ketekidis for their assistance in preparation of the special issue.
Georgios I. DoukidisGuest Editor
Ketikidis, P. and Koh, L. (2005), Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Supply Chain Management and Information Systems, Thessaloniki, Greece, July 2005