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Article
Publication date: 6 July 2020

Robert B. Handfield, Gary Graham and Laird Burns

Using the constructal law of physics this study aims to provide guidance to future scholarship on global supply chain management. Further, through two case studies the…

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4647

Abstract

Purpose

Using the constructal law of physics this study aims to provide guidance to future scholarship on global supply chain management. Further, through two case studies the authors are developing, the authors report interview findings with two senior VPs from two multi-national corporations being disrupted by COVID-19. This study suggests how this and recent events will impact on the design of future global supply chains.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors apply the constructal law to explain the recent disruptions to the global supply chain orthodoxy. Two interviews are presented from case studies the authors are developing in the USA and UK – one a multi-national automobile parts supplier and the other is a earth-moving equipment manufacture. Specifically, this is an exploratory pathway work trying to make sense of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on supply chain scholarship.

Findings

Adopting the approach of Bejan, the authors believe that what is happening today with COVID-19 and other trade disruptions such as Brexit and the USA imposing tariffs is creating new obstacles that will redirect the future flow of supply chains.

Research limitations/implications

It is clear that the COVID-19 response introduced a bullwhip effect in the manufacturing sector on a scale never-before seen. For scholars, the authors would suggest there are four pathway topics going forward. These topics include: the future state of global sourcing, the unique nature of a combined “demand” and “supply shortage” bullwhip effect, the resurrection of lean and local production systems and the development of risk-recovery contingency strategies to deal with pandemics.

Practical implications

Supply chain managers tend to be iterative and focused on making small and subtle changes to their current system and way of thinking, very often seeking to optimize cost or negotiate better contracts with suppliers. In the current environment, however, such activities have proved to be of little consequence compared to the massive forces of economic disruption of the past three years. Organizations that have more tightly compressed supply chains are enjoying a significant benefit during the COVID-19 crisis and are no longer being held hostage to governments of another country.

Social implications

An implicit assumption in the press is that COVID-19 caught everyone by surprise, and that executives foolishly ignored the risks of outsourcing to China and are now paying the price. However, noted scholars and epidemiologists have been warning of the threats of pandemics since the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus. The pundits would further posit that in their pursuit of low-cost production, global corporations made naive assumptions that nothing could disrupt them. Both the firms the authors have interviewed had to close plants to protect their workforce. It was indicated in the cases the authors are developing that it is going to take manufacturers on average one month to recover from 4–6 days of disruption. These companies employ many thousands of people, and direct and ancillary workers are now temporarily laid off and face an uncertain future as/when they will recover back to normal production.

Originality/value

Using the constructal law of physics, the authors seek to provide guidance to future scholarship on global supply chain management. Further, through two case studies, the authors provide the first insight from two senior VPs from two leading multi-national corporations in their respective sectors being disrupted by COVID-19. This study is the first indication to how this and recent disruptive events will impact on the design of future global supply chains. Unlike the generic work, which has recently appeared in HBR and Forbes, it is grounded in real operational insight.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 40 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 17 October 2017

Marcos Paulo Valadares de Oliveira and Robert Handfield

The purpose of this study is to examine supplier financial risk through the lens of Enactment Theory, to explore the role of transparency and communication on buyers…

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1277

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine supplier financial risk through the lens of Enactment Theory, to explore the role of transparency and communication on buyers’ perceptions of supplier default risk. The authors develop a theoretical model proposing that buyer communication with suppliers leads to preemptive actions that may prevent supplier financial default and fewer supply disruptions. The results suggest that reducing equivocality in buyers through communication with suppliers leads to understanding of financial factors not captured through third-party financial indicators, leading to proactive risk mitigation activities that prevent disruptions during recessionary economic cycles. This research proposes that transparency and communication reduces equivocality in buyers, spurring them to take contractual actions that reduces, financial default in key suppliers, which leads to fewer supply disruptions.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data collected from 175 firms in the North America and Brazil during a period of the global recession is used to test the impact of communication with suppliers on supply chain disruptions in periods of economic crisis. This relationship is mediated by proactive contract renegotiation and supplier financial health, supporting a model grounded in Enactment Theory.

Findings

Results show that buyers who regularly assess and develop an understanding of their key suppliers’ financial conditions are more likely to re-negotiate contracts that revise payment terms, leading to improved supplier working capital and fewer supply chain disruptions.

Research limitations/implications

Validation of industry-specific financial ratios and figures could provide a richer set of insights and some quantitative measures for establishing baseline on what levels of financial ratios actually result in disruptions. However, future research should consider using a cross-sectional sample and, in addition, a qualitative approach to capture risk from a greater variety of industries and supply chain dynamics.

Originality/value

The notion of effective communication flows as a means for reduction of supplier disruption risk is aligned with Enactment Theory views that emphasize the benefits of risk reduction. Equivocality is reduced in buyers through information exchange and formal assessments in complex environments. This research suggests that while such communication does not have a direct effect on supply disruption risk, it is mediated through proactive buyer actions to improve supplier financial health and contract re-negotiation mechanisms that may preempt financial distress. These are important lessons learned that provide guidelines for supply chain executives in future economic recessions that may occur in the coming years.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 22 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

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Article
Publication date: 18 June 2021

Daniel J. Finkenstadt and Robert B. Handfield

The authors identify the critical bottlenecks that exist in the vaccine supply chain that are preventing a robust coronavirus disease (COVID) response. The authors posit…

Abstract

Purpose

The authors identify the critical bottlenecks that exist in the vaccine supply chain that are preventing a robust coronavirus disease (COVID) response. The authors posit that improved supply chain signals can result in improved handling and distribution of vaccines in a post-COVID world and identify recommendations for redesign of the vaccine supply chain as well as future research questions for scholars.

Design/methodology/approach

The supply chain operating reference (SCOR) model is used as a framework to identify each of the major gaps that exist in the supply chain for the COVID vaccine. The critical bottlenecks and delays that exist within this supply chain are identified through this framework and validated through the ongoing research and interviews in the field.

Findings

Whilst the vaccine supply chain for influenza is perfectly sized for development and distribution of this cyclical virus, the emergence of a new virus created a pandemic, which has exposed a number of critical shortages. The authors find that the design of the COVID vaccine supply chain suffers from a flawed structure. To date, less than 3% of the United States and global population has been fully vaccinated. The authors advocate a “back to front design”, beginning with demand planning for actual vaccinations and working backwards toward supply planning and distribution planning. These lessons may be helpful for capacity planning and supply chain strategy for future vaccinations as variants of the COVID vaccine emerge.

Originality/value

The authors provide a unique approach for viewing the current shortages that exist in the vaccine supply chain and offer suggestions for new variants of this supply chain for the future.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 41 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 8 June 2020

Robert Handfield, Hang Sun and Lori Rothenberg

With the growth of unstructured data, opportunities to generate insights into supply chain risks in low cost countries (LCCs) are emerging. Sourcing risk has primarily…

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914

Abstract

Purpose

With the growth of unstructured data, opportunities to generate insights into supply chain risks in low cost countries (LCCs) are emerging. Sourcing risk has primarily focused on short-term mitigation. This paper aims to offer an approach that uses newsfeed data to assess regional supply base risk in LCC’s for the apparel sector, which managers can use to plan for future risk on a long-term planning horizon.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper demonstrates that the bulk of supplier risk assessments focus on short-term responses to disruptions in developed countries, revealing a gap in assessments of long-term risks for supply base expansion in LCCs. This paper develops an approach for predicting and planning for long-term supply base risk in LCC’s to address this shortfall. A machine-based learning algorithm is developed that uses the analysis of competing hypotheses heuristic to convert data from multiple news feeds into numerical risk scores and visual maps of supply chain risk. This paper demonstrates the approach by converting large amounts of unstructured data into two measures, risk impact and risk probability, leading to visualization of country-level supply base risks for a global apparel company.

Findings

This paper produced probability and impact scores for 23 distinct supply base risks across 10 countries in the apparel sector. The results suggest that the most significant long-term risks of supply disruption for apparel in LCC’s are human resource regulatory risks, workplace issues, inflation costs, safety violations and social welfare violations. The results suggest that apparel brands seeking suppliers in the regions of Cambodia, India, Bangladesh, Brazil and Vietnam should be aware of the significant risks in these regions that may require mitigative action.

Originality/value

This approach establishes a novel approach for objectively projecting future global sourcing risk, and yields visually mapped outcomes that can be applied in forecasting and planning for future risks when considering sourcing locations in LCC’s.

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Article
Publication date: 16 May 2019

Robert Handfield, Seongkyoon Jeong and Thomas Choi

The purpose of this paper is to elucidate the emerging landscape of procurement analytics. This paper focuses on the following questions: what are the current and future…

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2748

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to elucidate the emerging landscape of procurement analytics. This paper focuses on the following questions: what are the current and future state of procurement analytics?; what changes in the procurement process will be required to enable integration of analytical solutions?; and what future areas of research arise when considering the future state of procurement analytics?

Design/methodology/approach

This paper employs a qualitative approach that relies on three sources of information: executive interviews, a review of current and emerging technology platforms and a small survey of subject matter experts in the field.

Findings

The procurement analytics landscape developed in this research suggests that the authors will continue to see major shifts in the sourcing and supply chain technology environment in the next five years. However, there currently exists a low usage of advanced procurement analytics, and data integrity and quality issues are preventing significant advances in analytics. This study identifies the need for organizations to establish a coherent approach to collection and storage of trusted organizational data that build on internal sources of spend analysis and contract databases. In addition, current ad hoc approaches to capturing unstructured data must be replaced by a systematic data governance strategy. An important element for organizations in this evolution is managing change and the need to nourish an analytic culture.

Originality/value

While the majority of forward-looking research and reports merely project broad technological impact of cognitive analytics and big data, much of it does not provide specific insights into functional impacts such as the impact on procurement. The analysis of this study provides us with a clear view of the potential for business analytics and cognitive analytics to be employed in procurement processes, and contributes to development of related research topics for future study. In addition, this study suggests detailed implementation strategies of emerging procurement technologies, contributing to the existing body of the literature and industry reports.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 49 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

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Article
Publication date: 22 July 2021

Tillmann Boehme, James Aitken, Neil Turner and Robert Handfield

The sudden arrival of Covid-19 severely disrupted the supply chain of personal protective equipment (PPE) in Australia. This paper aims to examine the development of a…

Abstract

Purpose

The sudden arrival of Covid-19 severely disrupted the supply chain of personal protective equipment (PPE) in Australia. This paper aims to examine the development of a geographical cluster, which, through the application of additive manufacturing (AM), responded to the PPE supply crisis.

Design/methodology/approach

This longitudinal case study focuses on an AM cluster, which was developed to supply PPE in a responsive and flexible manner from 2019/2020. The study gathered data over three stages of cluster evolution: pre, during and post-peak Covid-19.

Findings

The type and nature of exchanges between organizations involved in the cluster established important insights into success factors for cluster creation and development. Using an established complexity framework, this study identifies the characteristics of establishing a cluster. The importance of cluster alignment created initially by a common PPE supply goal led to an emerging commercial and relational imperative to address the longer-term configuration after the disruption.

Practical implications

Clusters can be a viable option for a technology-driven sector when there is a “buzz” that drives and rapidly diffuses knowledge to support cluster formation. This research identifies the structural, socio-political and emergent dimensions, which need to be considered by stakeholders when aiming at improving competitiveness using clusters.

Originality/value

Covid-19 has rapidly and unexpectedly disrupted the supply chain for many industries. Responding to challenges, businesses will investigate different pathways to improve the overall resilience including on-/near-shoring. The results provide insights into how clusters are formed, grow and develop and the differentiating factors that result in successful impacts of clusters on local economies.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 26 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

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Article
Publication date: 11 October 2019

Sunil Babbar, Xenophon Koufteros, Ravi S. Behara and Christina W.Y. Wong

This study aims to examine publications of supply chain management (SCM) researchers from across the world and maps the leadership role of authors and institutions based…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine publications of supply chain management (SCM) researchers from across the world and maps the leadership role of authors and institutions based on how prolific they are in publishing and on network measures of centrality while accounting for the quality of the outlets that they publish in. It aims to inform stakeholders on who the leading SCM scholars are, their primary areas of SCM research, their publication profiles and the nature of their networks. It also identifies and informs on the leading SCM research institutions of the world and where leadership in specific areas of SCM research is emerging from.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on SCM papers appearing in a set of seven leading journals over the 15-year period of 2001-2015, publication scores and social network analysis measures of total degree centrality and Bonacich power centrality are used to identify the highest ranked agents in SCM research overall, as well as in some specific areas of SCM research. Social network analysis is also used to examine the nature and scope of the networks of the ranked agents and where leadership in SCM research is emerging from.

Findings

Authors and institutions from the USA and UK are found to dominate much of the rankings in SCM research both by publication score and social network analysis measures of centrality. In examining the networks of the very top authors and institutions of the world, their networks are found to be more inward-looking (country-centric) than outward-looking (globally dispersed). Further, researchers in Europe and Asia alike are found to exhibit significant continental inclinations in their network formations with researchers in Europe displaying greater propensity to collaborate with their European-based counterparts and researchers in Asia with their Asian-based counterparts. Also, from among the journals, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal is found to exhibit a far more expansive global reach than any of the other journals.

Research limitations/implications

The journal set used in this study, though representative of high-quality SCM research outlets, is not exhaustive of all potential outlets that publish SCM research. Further, the measure of quality that this study assigns to the various publications is based solely on a publication score that accounts for the quality of the journals, as rated by Association of Business Schools that the papers appear in and nothing else.

Practical implications

By informing the community of stakeholders of SCM research about the top-ranked SCM authors, institutions and countries of the world, the nature of their networks, as well as what the primary areas of SCM research of the leading authors in the world are, this research provides stakeholders, including managers, researchers and students, information that is helpful to them not only because of the insights it provides but also for the gauging of potential for embedding themselves in specific networks, engaging in collaborative research with the leading agents or pursuing educational opportunities with them.

Originality/value

This research is the first of its kind to identify and rank the top SCM authors and institutions from across the world using a representative set of seven leading SCM and primary OM journals based on publication scores and social network measures of centrality. The research is also the first of its kind to identify and rank the top authors and institutions within specific areas of SCM research and to identify future research opportunities relating to aspects of collaboration and networking in research endeavors.

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Article
Publication date: 5 January 2015

Yung-Yun Huang and Robert B Handfield

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effects of implementing enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and the selection of ERP vendors on supply management…

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7401

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effects of implementing enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and the selection of ERP vendors on supply management performance for Fortune 500.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopts the supply chain maturity model adopted by Gupta and Handfield (2011) and used publicly available information such as articles, research report, newspapers to develop objective maturity ratings for four key indicators – strategic sourcing, category management, and supplier relationship management.

Findings

The analysis results suggest ERP users are more mature than non-ERP users in three key indicators: strategic sourcing, category management, and supplier relationship management. Moreover, SAP ERP users are more mature than non-ERP users in strategic sourcing, category management, and supplier relationship management.

Research limitations/implications

This study does not account for the longitudinal performance of ERP systems, nor does it account for differences between organizational scope of ERP deployment, global reach, or implementation duration. The authors also did not include other measures of supply chain performance outside of the procurement area. These factors could provide further insights to supply chain performance, and will be an interesting topic for future research.

Practical implications

This study provides an extensive analysis of how the deployment of ERP systems and the selection of ERP vendors can benefit a company’s supply chain performance. This information is valuable for companies that are considering adapting an ERP system.

Originality/value

This paper uses innovative an maturity assessment rating approach with publicly available resources to measure supply management performance across different companies. This method is novel and provides valuable insights to how ERP systems and their vendors’ impact supply chain management performance.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 35 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 6 February 2009

Robert Handfield, Kenneth Petersen, Paul Cousins and Benn Lawson

The role of supply managers in driving corporate performance is changing, with an increased emphasis on supply market intelligence, collaboration, inter‐organizational…

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4114

Abstract

Purpose

The role of supply managers in driving corporate performance is changing, with an increased emphasis on supply market intelligence, collaboration, inter‐organizational partnerships, and operational integration with supply partners. These traits are also mirrored in the research on entrepreneurial settings and firms. The purpose of this paper is to explore the parallels between supply management roles, and the entrepreneurial skill sets and mechanisms that have been identified in prior research.

Design/methodology/approach

A structural equation model, using a sample of 151 manufacturing and service firms based in the UK, tests this hypothesised model.

Findings

The theoretical framework was supported, with results indicating that entrepreneurial behaviours (supply market intelligence and supply management influence) contribute to integration within the firm and with suppliers, in order to drive performance improvement.

Practical implications

The results provide support for purchasing managers seeking to improve performance by changing the recruitment and culture of the supply management function toward an entrepreneurial orientation.

Originality/value

Although the application of organizational entrepreneurship thinking to supply management theory is nascent, this paper's results suggest that further research along these lines may provide a resilient platform for utilisation of entrepreneurial constructs to explain supply management principles in buyer‐supplier collaboration, relational capital, and organisational outcomes.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1997

Ajay Das and Robert B. Handfield

Just‐in‐time (JIT) has been written about since the early 1970s. Studies have investigated the growth of JIT sourcing and its implications. However, there has not been as…

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9222

Abstract

Just‐in‐time (JIT) has been written about since the early 1970s. Studies have investigated the growth of JIT sourcing and its implications. However, there has not been as much discussion of the issues faced by companies involved in the pursuit of JIT sourcing in a global supply chain. Undertakes a systematic review of the JIT sourcing and logistics literature and highlights key findings. Notes a number of key problems and best practice issues in the area, followed by an empirical examination of the potential benefits of adopting JIT policies in global sourcing and logistics relative to non‐JIT global buyers. Compares results attained with those of a group of buyers employing JIT sourcing and domestic suppliers. Significant differences in a number of performance areas are found in the sourcing and logistics practices between companies following JIT practices with their global suppliers, as compared to companies not doing so. Finds that some aspects of domestic JIT sourcing and logistics are applicable across borders, while others are not. Concludes with a research agenda for future investigations in the area.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 27 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

Keywords

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