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Article
Publication date: 5 July 2021

Pedro Lafargue, Michael Rogerson, Glenn C. Parry and Joel Allainguillaume

This paper examines the potential of “biomarkers” to provide immutable identification for food products (chocolate), providing traceability and visibility in the supply

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines the potential of “biomarkers” to provide immutable identification for food products (chocolate), providing traceability and visibility in the supply chain from retail product back to farm.

Design/methodology/approach

This research uses qualitative data collection, including fieldwork at cocoa farms and chocolate manufacturers in Ecuador and the Netherlands and semi-structured interviews with industry professionals to identify challenges and create a supply chain map from cocoa plant to retailer, validated by area experts. A library of biomarkers is created using DNA collected from fieldwork and the International Cocoa Quarantine Centre, holders of cocoa varieties from known locations around the world. Matching sample biomarkers with those in the library enables identification of origins of cocoa used in a product, even when it comes from multiple different sources and has been processed.

Findings

Supply chain mapping and interviews identify areas of the cocoa supply chain that lack the visibility required for management to guarantee sustainability and quality. A decoupling point, where smaller farms/traders’ goods are combined to create larger economic units, obscures product origins and limits visibility. These factors underpin a potential boundary condition to institutional theory in the industry’s fatalism to environmental and human abuses in the face of rising institutional pressures. Biomarkers reliably identify product origin, including specific farms and (fermentation) processing locations, providing visibility and facilitating control and trust when purchasing cocoa.

Research limitations/implications

The biomarker “meta-barcoding” of cocoa beans used in chocolate manufacturing accurately identifies the farm, production facility or cooperative, where a cocoa product came from. A controlled data set of biomarkers of registered locations is required for audit to link chocolate products to origin.

Practical implications

Where biomarkers can be produced from organic products, they offer a method for closing visibility gaps, enabling responsible sourcing. Labels (QR codes, barcodes, etc.) can be swapped and products tampered with, but biological markers reduce reliance on physical tags, diminishing the potential for fraud. Biomarkers identify product composition, pinpointing specific farm(s) of origin for cocoa in chocolate, allowing targeted audits of suppliers and identifying if cocoa of unknown origin is present. Labour and environmental abuses exist in many supply chains and enabling upstream visibility may help firms address these challenges.

Social implications

By describing a method for firms in cocoa supply chains to scientifically track their cocoa back to the farm level, the research shows that organizations can conduct social audits for child labour and environmental abuses at specific farms proven to be in their supply chains. This provides a method for delivering supply chain visibility (SCV) for firms serious about tackling such problems.

Originality/value

This paper provides one of the very first examples of biomarkers for agricultural SCV. An in-depth study of stakeholders from the cocoa and chocolate industry elucidates problematic areas in cocoa supply chains. Biomarkers provide a unique biological product identifier. Biomarkers can support efforts to address environmental and social sustainability issues such as child labour, modern slavery and deforestation by providing visibility into previously hidden areas of the supply chain.

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
Publication date: 7 May 2021

Charles Baah, Douglas Opoku Agyeman, Innocent Senyo Kwasi Acquah, Yaw Agyabeng-Mensah, Ebenezer Afum, Kassimu Issau, Daniel Ofori and Daniel Faibil

Exploring ways to acquire, sustain and improve competitive positions in supply chains through information sharing, supply chain visibility, collaboration and agility have…

Abstract

Purpose

Exploring ways to acquire, sustain and improve competitive positions in supply chains through information sharing, supply chain visibility, collaboration and agility have been essential for scholars and practitioners. Basing on the relational view, resource based view and the extended resource based view, this study assesses the critical role of information sharing in supply chains through emphasizing its effect on supply chain visibility, collaboration, agility and supply chain performance. Particularly, the study proposes that information sharing, supply chain visibility, collaboration and agility collectively have crucial direct and indirect influences on supply chain performance which lead to superior gains, competitiveness and flexibility.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopted a survey research design, a quantitative approach and partial least square structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) in making data analysis and interpretations due to its suitability for predictive research models.

Findings

The results indicate information sharing positively and significantly influenced supply chain visibility, collaboration, agility and performance. Supply chain visibility presented significant effects on collaboration, agility and performance, while supply chain collaboration and agility had significant impact on supply chain performance. The study findings connote that information sharing is key to enhancing competitive gains and superior supply chain performance.

Originality/value

The study is among the few to probe on how information sharing as a variable interacts with supply chain visibility, collaboration, agility and performance. Although, information sharing has received a lot of attention in supply chains, this study is among the first to capture the study variables in a single model and thus, exposes the vital need for information sharing in improving supply chain performance seeing that it ensured significant and robust impacts on the study variables.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Article
Publication date: 29 April 2021

Charles Baah, Innocent Senyo Kwasi Acquah and Daniel Ofori

The need to stay competitive amidst ever-changing business environment has shifted competitive strategies from firms to supply chains. Managers are now basing competitive…

Abstract

Purpose

The need to stay competitive amidst ever-changing business environment has shifted competitive strategies from firms to supply chains. Managers are now basing competitive strategies on supply chains acknowledging that supply chains present competitive advantages among other resources. The purpose of the study is to explore the predictive relevance of supply chain collaboration and the extent to which it influences supply chain visibility, stakeholder trust, environmental and financial performances. This study focused on manufacturing firms due to their supplier relationships, consumption of resources, energy and emissions of greenhouse gasses.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopted a survey research design, a quantitative approach and partial least square structural equation modelling technique in making data analysis and interpretations due to its suitability for predictive research models as is the case in this study.

Findings

The study hypothesized that supply chain collaboration positively and significantly interacts with supply chain visibility, stakeholder trust, environmental and financial performances. The study results confirmed supply chain collaboration as a significant, positive and a robust influence on supply chain visibility, stakeholder trust, environmental and financial performances thereby projecting win-win scenarios for firms that engage in collaborative supply chain practices.

Originality/value

The study is among the few to indicate findings in relation to the scope of supply chain collaboration's potency in influencing performance from the perspective of manufacturing firms operational in an emerging economy. Thus, this study contributes to understanding the wider scope of supply chain collaboration, its interactions with other firm variables and how it informs decisions of managers, scholars and supply chain partners.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 26 January 2021

Vivek Roy

Supply chain traceability and supply chain visibility have become a critical element for the effective management of contemporary complex supply chains. At their core is…

Abstract

Purpose

Supply chain traceability and supply chain visibility have become a critical element for the effective management of contemporary complex supply chains. At their core is information sharing, which has been acknowledged as a key prerequisite for logistics and supply chain performance, but whose notional underpinnings have not been delineated fully, leading to interchangeable deployment of these terms. Addressing the shortcoming, this paper aims to establish a contrast between the two notions.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing from systematic review protocols, a multi-disciplinary review scope is constructed wherein the synthesis is strategized to primarily channel implications for the scholarship of logistics and supply chain management. The review is aimed at addressing two research objectives: (1) how the notions of traceability and visibility in supply chain management develop contrast in terms of their thematic emphasis and (2) to attain an integrative understanding of the notional convergence and divergence between supply chain traceability and visibility for raising strategic recommendations.

Findings

The review outcomes help contrast both the convergence and the divergence between traceability and visibility in the supply chain environment, and the differentiated but fundamental role that information sharing plays within these notions to outline why they are not interchangeable.

Originality/value

The originality of the findings lies in the conceptual synthesis of the relevant literature from both technological and non-technological perspectives to ultimately draw logistics and supply chain management implications. The review also points out key strategic considerations to demarcate the notional boundaries of traceability and visibility in future research.

Details

The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 32 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 May 2020

Michael Rogerson and Glenn C. Parry

This paper aims to investigate how blockchain has moved beyond cryptocurrencies and is being deployed to enhance visibility and trust in supply chains, their limitations…

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2906

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate how blockchain has moved beyond cryptocurrencies and is being deployed to enhance visibility and trust in supply chains, their limitations and potential impact.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative analysis are undertaken via case studies drawn from food companies using semi-structured interviews.

Findings

Blockchain is demonstrated as an enabler of visibility in supply chains. Applications at scale are most likely for products where the end consumer is prepared to pay the premium currently required to fund the technology, e.g. baby food. Challenges remain in four areas: trust of the technology, human error and fraud at the boundaries, governance, consumer data access and willingness to pay.

Research limitations/implications

The paper shows that blockchain can be utilised as part of a system generating visibility and trust in supply chains. Research directs academic attention to issues that remain to be addressed. The challenges pertaining to the technology itself we believe to be generalisable; those specific to the food industry may not hold elsewhere.

Practical implications

From live case studies, we provide empirical evidence that blockchain provides visibility of exchanges and reliable data in fully digitised supply chains. This provides provenance and guards against counterfeit goods. However, firms will need to work to gain consumer buy-in for the technology following repeated past claims of trustworthiness.

Originality/value

This paper provides primary evidence from blockchain use cases “in the wild”. The exploratory case studies examine application of blockchain for supply chain visibility.

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Article
Publication date: 12 April 2013

Suparna Goswami, Tobias Engel and Helmut Krcmar

Coordination in supply chains and networks calls for information sharing among the members of the supply chain. Accordingly, information visibility – the availability of…

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4271

Abstract

Purpose

Coordination in supply chains and networks calls for information sharing among the members of the supply chain. Accordingly, information visibility – the availability of relevant information for making supply chain related decisions is an important concept in the context of supply chain management. The purpose of this paper is to identify the different dimensions of information visibility and propose a framework based on these information visibility dimensions. The proposed framework can be used to evaluate supply chain information systems (SCIS) and their contribution towards information visibility in supply chains.

Design/methodology/approach

Using the proposed framework, we compare two different SCIS (SAP APO and SupplyOn) to assess the extent to which these systems meet the information visibility needs within supply chains and networks. In order to carry out the comparison, data regarding the two systems in collected using multiple methods such as from system documentations, training sessions, interviews with experts and systems engineers.

Findings

The findings indicate that both systems perform well in terms of supporting information visibility, however they serve different purposes within supply chains and networks. Based on the findings, the authors discuss the role of different types of SCIS depending on the characteristics of adopting firms and their supply chains, and how the use of these different systems can complement each other. The research and practical implications of this study are discussed in the overall context of supply chain management.

Originality/value

The framework can be used by organizations to assess the extent to which relevant information is accessible within their supply chains and to select from various SCIS solutions that are available. This research advances understanding on ways of achieving information visibility.

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Article
Publication date: 22 February 2013

Maria Caridi, Alessandro Perego and Angela Tumino

The aim of this paper is to propose an innovative quantitative approach to measure visibility in outbound supply chains and to implement it in order to evaluate the…

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3442

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to propose an innovative quantitative approach to measure visibility in outbound supply chains and to implement it in order to evaluate the current degree of visibility that focal companies operating in the apparel industry have on their supply chains.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on an in‐depth literature review on supply chain visibility and on 11 case studies in the apparel industry.

Findings

The outcome of the paper is twofold. First, it proposes a metric for measuring visibility in complex outbound supply chains. Second, it analyses the quantity and quality of visible information in eleven companies belonging to the apparel industry, comparing visibility on outbound supply chains vs inbound supply chains.

Research limitations/implications

Although the paper shows the usefulness of the proposed metrics in supporting value assessment, a structured tool is still to be developed. Moreover, the visibility metric is suitable for benchmarking analyses, but the sample presented in the study is still limited and should be enlarged by further studies, also considering other industries.

Originality/value

The metrics so far proposed by researchers to assess the level of visibility in complex supply networks are mainly focused on the upstream supply chain; this paper fills the gap by proposing a quantitative metric for assessing the degree of visibility on the outbound supply chain. Moreover, some interesting insights about visibility in the apparel industry have been found on the basis of 11 case studies.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 11 January 2016

Amin Maghsoudi and Ala Pazirandeh

This paper aims to, by connecting to the ongoing conversation on the importance of supply chain visibility, empirically examine the impact of visibility in supply chain

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3093

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to, by connecting to the ongoing conversation on the importance of supply chain visibility, empirically examine the impact of visibility in supply chain relationships, on resource sharing among and on the performance of humanitarian organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data were collected from 101 humanitarian organizations in Southeast Asia. The organizations all experienced being interconnected within the supply chain relationships formed in humanitarian response settings. Data are used to test the conceptually developed model, using the structural equation modeling-partial least square (SEM-PLS) approach.

Findings

Results show that visibility has a significant impact on resource sharing and the performance of the organizations, especially in terms of the willingness to share resources, resources used and flexibility of organizations. The results also show that, in situations of high uncertainty, the association between resource sharing and performance becomes weaker.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited to the method used.

Practical implications

Findings of this research provide insights for humanitarian practitioners on the need to increase visibility of the scarce resources available within the relationships formed during a disaster relief operation to improve overall disaster response. The level of uncertainty in terms of needs assessment, number of affected people, location of a disaster and so forth, is also taken into account in the recommendations made.

Originality/value

This study is among the first to empirically test the link between visibility, resource sharing and performance, specifically in a humanitarian context, which is among the critical success factors for better interorganizational coordination and better aid delivery.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 11 March 2021

Zulkaif Ahmed Saqib and Qingyu Zhang

Sustainability failures have increased the pressure for manufacturing firms to come up with innovative solutions to resolve the sustainable matters. Drawing on the…

Abstract

Purpose

Sustainability failures have increased the pressure for manufacturing firms to come up with innovative solutions to resolve the sustainable matters. Drawing on the resource-based theory, the purpose of this study is to examine how supply chain visibility moderates the effects of sustainable practices on sustainable performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The data employed in the current work were collected from 355 small and medium manufacturing firms in Pakistan using a structured questionnaire. The structural equation modelling was applied to the collected data with AMOSS-23 and SPSS-25 package

Findings

The results show that sustainable practices (for manufacturing, procurement and distribution) significantly influence the firm's sustainability performance, and this relationship is moderated by supply chain visibility.

Originality/value

Sustainable practices are necessary for small and medium enterprises to achieve sustainable performance, but the previously under-explored moderating effect of supply chain visibility generally indicates that sharing information for learning, sensing and co-ordinating activities plays an intensifying effect.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 32 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 25 February 2021

Vineeth Dharmapalan, William J. O’Brien, Douglas Morrice and Minhyuk Jung

Stakeholders of construction projects exhibit different perceptions regarding the visibility of materials in the supply chain, which affects the timely delivery and…

Abstract

Purpose

Stakeholders of construction projects exhibit different perceptions regarding the visibility of materials in the supply chain, which affects the timely delivery and installation of materials. This study aims to quantitatively investigate the differences in viewpoints of owners, contractors, designers and suppliers about the visibility of materials at supply chain locations and different material types during the construction of industrial projects.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data about visibility at nine typical supply chain locations and three common material types were collected from owner, contractor, designer and supplier groups and analyzed using frequency statistics, relative importance index and tests for equality of odds.

Findings

Offsite Tier-2 supplier, ports and kitting site shows the lowest visibility level for the owner, contractor, supplier and designer groups. Also, the supplier group tends to have adequate to extreme visibility at the Tier-2 supplier, kitting site and during transportation compared to owner, contractor and designer groups. An example finding concerning the visibility of material types is that owners and contractors perceive prefabricated material requires higher visibility than all other material types.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are limited to construction projects in the industrial sector. Further, the survey participants were based in North America at the time of participation.

Practical implications

The study’s findings indicate how visibility is spread across supply chain locations and for material types for the owners, contractors, suppliers and designers of industrial projects. As such, academia and industry’s research and investment efforts can be more focused on locations and material types that need improvement.

Social implications

Industrial projects play an essential part in improving society’s daily lives, and this study’s findings contribute to improving the efficiency of the supply chain during construction of industrial projects.

Originality/value

Although previous studies mentioned the need and importance of visibility improvement, none have sought to understand the perception of leading supply chain stakeholders about visibility at supply chain locations and of material types. This study’s findings provide specific insights and directions for advancing in these areas with regard to supply chain visibility.

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