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Article

Pushpesh Pant, Shantanu Dutta and S.P. Sarmah

The purpose of this paper is to conduct a large-sample empirical examination of how intangible supply chain complexity impacts firm performance in light of a firm's…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to conduct a large-sample empirical examination of how intangible supply chain complexity impacts firm performance in light of a firm's organizational structure.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses panel data from 2,580 Indian manufacturing firms and constructs empirical proxy for intangible supply chain complexity, i.e. CHQ distance from major cities. The proposed conceptual model is grounded in the dynamic capability view (DCV) and social network theory (SNT). Multivariate regression analyses are performed to investigate the effect of intangible complexity on firm performance.

Findings

Results show that intangible supply chain complexity, as proxied by “CHQ distance from major cities”, negatively affects firm performance and a firm's organizational structure plays an important role in conceiving CHQ locational strategies. Firms with interconnected supply chain and social network (e.g. business group firms) have a higher propensity to locate their CHQs farther away from major cities, and business group firms that have more distantly located CHQs experience better financial performance compared to independent firms (with less network resources).

Originality/value

In light of the supply chain literature and relevant theories, the study conceptualizes intangible supply chain complexity as “CHQ distance from major cities” and deepens our understanding of the relationship between intangible complexity and firm performance in light of organizational structure. Further, it develops an objective understanding of intangible supply chain complexity by relying on secondary panel data.

Details

International Journal of Logistics Management, The, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

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Article

Mary Luz Olivares Tenorio, Stefano Pascucci, Ruud Verkerk, Matthijs Dekker and Tiny A.J.S. van Boekel

In this paper, a conceptual and methodological framework based on empirical evidence derived from the case of the Colombian Cape gooseberry (CG) supply chain is presented…

Abstract

Purpose

In this paper, a conceptual and methodological framework based on empirical evidence derived from the case of the Colombian Cape gooseberry (CG) supply chain is presented. Using this case study, this paper aims to contribute to the extant literature on the internationalization of food supply chains by explicitly considering the alignment of quality attributes and supply chain complexity as key elements to understand the process.

Design/methodology/approach

This research has been designed to be qualitative, inductive and exploratory, thus involving multiple data gathering methods and tools. More specifically, during the first stage of the empirical analysis, this study has mapped and analysed preferences and perceptions of product quality at both the consumer and supply chain levels. Then, this paper has analysed the degree of alignment and complexity in the supply chain and finally, this study has derived scenarios for the internationalization of the supply chain.

Findings

The results indicate tensions between supply chain actors related to quality attribute alignment and complexity, which have the potentials to impact the internationalization scenarios of the CG supply chain. Particularly the findings highlight how alignment and complexity of sourcing and product quality attributes can affect supply chain design strategies in different internationalization pathways of a niche food commodity.

Research limitations/implications

The findings have implications in terms of supply chain design perspectives. In fact, while an approach, which would consider only a transactional or governance perspective would have tackled the problems of misalignment – for example, between farmers and wholesalers or wholesalers and international traders/retailers – it would have ignored the problem of alignment caused at the retailing and consumption stage. In the attempt to internationalize the CG supply chain, farmers, processors and traders are misaligned in relation to the preferences of the targeted final consumers, Dutch/Western European consumers in the case.

Practical implications

Given the misalignment issues, this paper identifies a step by step approach as the most suitable pathway to design an internationalized supply chain because it allows the CG commodity supply chain to develop the potential market of credence quality-attribute by supporting the health-promoting compounds of the fruit. In this way, the CG supply chain could also progressively scale up and work on solving its misalignment issues by building a coordination structure of the chain, with quality control and logistics likely led by large retailers.

Social implications

The study indicates that a process of internalization related to a scenario of a “globalized commodity” can only emerge through processes of coordination and integration at the production level, likely led by forms of producers (farmers) associations or a network of producers and traders, leading to strong marketing activities and scale up in terms of volumes. This has profound social implications and calls for rethinking how this study designs the internationalization of niche commodity supply chains.

Originality/value

Through the application of a mixed methodology approach, in which conceptual, qualitative and quantitative methods have been combined, this paper has been able to identify alternative scenarios to the internationalization and the scale-up of a niche food commodity supply chain, with implications for its design and governance. More specifically in the conceptual model, the different scenarios have been related to the risk of misalignment. The model also identifies alternative pathways of internationalization which may or may not arise according to the way complexity unfolds. In the approach, this study has unpacked complexity by looking into two key dimensions: transactional complexity and quality-attribute complexity.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

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Article

Seyoum Eshetu Birkie and Paolo Trucco

Recent studies have argued that companies may actively implement practices to mitigate disruptions in their supply chain and reduce the extent of damage on performance…

Abstract

Purpose

Recent studies have argued that companies may actively implement practices to mitigate disruptions in their supply chain and reduce the extent of damage on performance. Other studies have shown that disruptions may propagate in supply chains, leading to consequences that are more negative and raising doubts on the effectiveness of mitigation strategies implemented downstream. This study investigates the influence of supply chain complexity on the two phenomena and their interplay, taking a focal company's perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic procedure for data collection, encoding and aggregation based on incident data mainly from secondary sources was used. Multiple regression models were run to analyse direct and moderation effects involving resilience, distance of impact location from trigger point, and supply chain complexity on weighted performance change.

Findings

Supply chain complexity is found to have positive moderation on the ripple effect of disruption. Resilience capability remains to have dominating direct positive effect in mitigating disruptions when supply chain complexity is taken into account.

Research limitations/implications

This study extends the research discourse on supply chain resilience and disruption management with focus on the supply side. It demonstrates that, along with the severity of the disruption scenario, the ripple effect must also be considered when analyzing the benefits of resilience practices implemented by the focal company.

Practical implications

Complexity in the supply chain can only help to smooth-out the rippling effects of a disruption, which go largely beyond supply-demand unbalances and lead time fluctuations. To mitigate it better, the focal company has to act proactively with adequate resilience practices, which also connects to the importance of better visibility across multiple supply chain tiers.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first study that empirically tests the benefits of resilience practices and the ripple effect of disruptions under the moderation role of supply chain complexity.

Details

International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

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Article

Muhammad Irfan, Mingzheng Wang and Naeem Akhtar

The purpose of this paper is to emphasize the underlying mechanism through which firms can achieve supply chain agility and augment business performance from the vendor’s…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to emphasize the underlying mechanism through which firms can achieve supply chain agility and augment business performance from the vendor’s perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on dynamic capability view and contingency theory, the study conceptualizes a moderated mediation model to investigate the underlying influence of process integration (PI), supply flexibility and product-related complexity on supply chain agility and the subsequent effect of supply chain agility on firm’s business performance. Survey data from a sample of 148 firms, in the garment manufacturing industry, in Pakistan were analyzed using partial least square methods.

Findings

The results revealed that supply flexibility (i.e. volume and mix) mediates the effect of PI on supply chain agility. Supply chain agility, in turn, influences a firm’s business performance. Furthermore, the competence‒capability framework is not consistent across the varying degrees of product complexity such as product complexity hinders the effect of supply flexibility on supply chain agility, whereas it amplifies the impact of PI on supply chain agility. The conditional indirect effects suggest that the indirect effect of PI on supply chain agility through supply flexibility becomes stronger when product complexity is high.

Originality/value

The study is novel in the context of an emerging economy to educate fashion vendors to tune their competencies and capabilities to regain the market share in the global market place.

Details

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, vol. 32 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-5855

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Article

Neil Turner, James Aitken and Cecil Bozarth

The purpose of this paper is to examine the nature of supply chain complexity and extend this with literature developed within the project domain. The authors use the lens…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the nature of supply chain complexity and extend this with literature developed within the project domain. The authors use the lens of ambidexterity (the ability both to exploit and explore) to analyse responses to complexity, since this enables the authors to understand the application of known solutions in conjunction with innovative ones to resolve difficulties. This research also seeks to investigate how managers respond to supply chain complexities that can either be operationally deleterious or strategically beneficial.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors develop a descriptive framework based on the project management (PM) literature to understand response options to complexity, and then use interviews with supply chain managers in six organisations to examine the utility of this framework in practice. The authors ask the research question “How do managers in supply chains respond to complexities”?

Findings

The case study data show first that managers faced with structural, socio-political, or emergent supply chain complexities use a wide range of responses. Second, over a third of the instances of complexity coded were actually accommodated, rather than reduced, by the study firms, suggesting that adapting to supply chain complexity in certain instances may be strategically appropriate. Third, the lens of ambidexterity allows a more explicit assessment of whether existing PM solutions can be considered or if novel methods are required to address supply chain complexities.

Practical implications

The descriptive framework can aid managers in conceptualising and addressing supply chain complexity. Through exploiting current knowledge, managers can lessen the impact of complexity while exploring other innovative approaches to solve new problems and challenges that evolve from complexity growth driven by business strategy.

Originality/value

This study addresses a gap in the literature through the development of a framework which provides a structure on ways to address supply chain complexity. The authors evaluate an existing project complexity concept and demonstrate that it is both applicable and valuable in non-project, ongoing operations. The authors then extend it using the lens of ambidexterity, and develop a framework that can support practitioners in analysing and addressing both strategically necessary supply complexities, together with unwanted, negative complexities within the organisation and across the supply chain.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 38 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article

Cristina Gimenez, Taco van der Vaart and Dirk Pieter van Donk

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effectiveness of supply chain integration in different contexts. More specifically, it aims to show that supply chain

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effectiveness of supply chain integration in different contexts. More specifically, it aims to show that supply chain integration is only effective in buyer‐supplier relationships characterised by high supply complexity.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey‐based research design is developed to measure different dimensions or aspects of supply chain integration and supply complexity. Data were collected among manufacturers in The Netherlands and Spain.

Findings

This research shows that supply chain integration increases performance if supply complexity is high, while a very limited or no influence of supply chain integration can be detected in case of low supply complexity. The results also show that in high supply complexity environments the use of structured communication means to achieve supply chain integration has a negative effect on cost performance.

Research limitations/implications

The limited sample size prohibits estimating and testing of more comprehensive models of the relationship between supply chain integration and performance. Specifically, the authors were not able to further investigate how different supply chain integration dimensions are inter‐related and mutually reinforce one another to improve performance.

Practical implications

The main managerial lesson is that, in contrast to what has been written in many books and other popular publications, high levels of supply chain integration are only necessary in environments characterised by high supply complexity.

Originality/value

This study helps to better understand context in supply chain management research. Specifically, it investigates the moderating effect of supply complexity on the integration‐performance relationship, a topic suggested by Bozarth et al. as a line for further research.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 32 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article

Ila Manuj and Funda Sahin

The objective of this paper is to develop a comprehensive model of supply chain and supply chain decision‐making complexity that provides an understanding of the drivers…

Abstract

Purpose

The objective of this paper is to develop a comprehensive model of supply chain and supply chain decision‐making complexity that provides an understanding of the drivers of supply chain complexity and strategies to manage supply chain and supply chain decision‐making complexity and outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

Grounded theory methodology is employed to build a theory of supply chain and supply chain decision‐making complexity and develop propositions related to antecedents, moderators, and outcomes of supply chain complexity. In addition, extensive literature review and informal interactions with a number of supply chain professionals have been used to validate the theory.

Findings

In addition to identifying the antecedents of supply chain complexity, the authors explore strategic, human cognitive ability, and tactical moderators for managing supply chain complexity.

Research limitations/implications

The comprehensive framework presented in the paper builds a theory of supply chain and supply chain decision‐making complexity that is grounded in empirical data. The research also incorporates disparate findings, constructs from multi‐disciplinary research on supply chain complexity and provides future research directions.

Practical implications

The research helps practitioners better understand the sources and outcomes of supply chain complexity and how to manage it. Various strategies to moderate the impact of supply chain complexity are presented.

Originality/value

An integrated, comprehensive theory of supply chain complexity is proposed along with definitions of supply chain complexity and supply chain decision‐making complexity. The proposed model is rooted in actual practice and supported by the existing literature.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 41 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

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Article

Markus Gerschberger, Ila Manuj and Patrick Freinberger

The purpose of this paper is to understand and measure empirically the objective and perceived dimensions of supplier-induced complexity in supply chains.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand and measure empirically the objective and perceived dimensions of supplier-induced complexity in supply chains.

Design/methodology/approach

An equal-weight, complementary mixed-method approach is used to investigate supplier-induced complexity and understand its impact on outcomes. Initial qualitative research and extant literature review allowed the identification of supplier characteristics that add complexity to supply chains and development of four research hypotheses. Subsequently, quantitative analysis was used for testing the hypotheses.

Findings

The results suggest that supplier-induced complexity is related to adverse outcomes, and both perceived and objective dimensions of complexity are valuable in understanding and measuring supplier-induced complexity.

Research limitations/implications

This study employs a mixed-method approach to establish and test relationships among perceived and objective supplier-induced complexity, and their outcomes. The unit of analysis is the first-tier suppliers of one farm equipment manufacturing firm. This limits the generalizability of the results to similar industrial manufacturing firms.

Practical implications

This paper presents an approach to identify suppliers that add the highest levels of complexity to a supply chain and, thus, require closer monitoring. Specific supplier characteristics are identified for individual suppliers. Developing specific complexity-related measures helps better identify critical suppliers compared to traditional approaches (e.g. ABC analysis).

Originality/value

This paper contributes to supply chain management literature by comprehensively exploring supplier-induced complexity, incorporating the often-ignored perceived complexity dimension, and providing a managerially useful framework.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 47 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

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Article

Esra Ekinci and Adil Baykasoğlu

The purpose of this paper is to present how complexity on retail supply chains should be recognized and its relationship with the performance. Different supply chain

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present how complexity on retail supply chains should be recognized and its relationship with the performance. Different supply chain structures and planning horizons have been analyzed to support practitioners taking action on the short, mid and long terms. Confronted complexity in the supply chain has been categorized as system, perceived and value adding. This would also help practitioners to understand the sources of the complexity and if the complexity is useful for the system or not.

Design/methodology/approach

Three different retail supply chain scenarios – each concentrating on different planning horizons – have been simulated on system dynamics software STELLA. Using the new classification scheme for complexity and suggested performance metrics, a multi-perspective analysis has been performed on the STELLA output.

Findings

The results and the methodology can be easily applicable in practice to support decision-making process and to answer “what-if” type scenario analysis on systems design and configuration. Using the selected complexity metrics, complexity of the system considering time factor – static and dynamic – and different information levels – system, perceived and value adding – has been evaluated. Used complexity metrics indicate the problematic areas in the systems to be distinguished.

Originality/value

This paper uses system dynamics modeling in retail supply chains to derive insight about dynamic behavior and to represent the complex interactions and a new classification scheme for system complexity.

Details

Industrial Management & Data Systems, vol. 119 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-5577

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Article

Sander de Leeuw, Ruud Grotenhuis and Ad R. van Goor

The purpose of this paper is to discuss complexity assessment in supply chains, to describe a methodology for measuring supply chain complexity in distributive trade and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss complexity assessment in supply chains, to describe a methodology for measuring supply chain complexity in distributive trade and to illustrate the measurement of supply chain complexity and mechanisms to cope with supply chain complexity in distributive trade.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper discusses literature on measuring supply chain complexity and uses five case studies among wholesale companies to illustrate a methodology to measure supply chain complexity and to discuss strategies to cope with supply chain complexity.

Findings

The study confirms the multifaceted nature of supply chain complexity. The paper identifies eight drivers of supply chain complexity and uses these to illustrate the measurement of supply chain complexity in a wholesale environment. The paper identifies six strategies used by wholesalers for coping with supply chain complexity and identifies interrelations between supply chain complexity drivers and these strategies.

Research limitations/implications

The research is based on case studies in wholesale companies; future research may include survey research, including other sectors to analyze industry differences but may also focus on other parts of the supply chain.

Practical implications

The study provides insights into how to identify and measure complexity in a supply chain and what can be done to manage supply chain complexity.

Originality/value

The measurement approach is new to supply chain management and is based on multiple drivers of supply chain complexity. The research is focused on wholesalers, which is a segment that has received limited academic attention in supply chain research to date.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 33 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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