Volume 6 (2023-24)

Each volume of Journal of Supply Chain Management, Logistics & Procurement consists of four 100-page issues published both in print and online.  

The Articles published in Volume 6 include:

Volume 6 Number 3

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Practice Papers
    Shift to customer-centricity, its challenges and the future of smart supply chains
    Nikunj Agarwal, Associate Director of Product, Global Logistics (SCM Tech), HelloFresh

    This paper delves into the evolving landscape of the supply chain and logistics industry, emphasising the growing imperative of customer-centricity. It examines key drivers propelling this shift, such as the surge in e-commerce, evolving customer expectations and intensified market competition. Beyond these primary forces, the common denominator facilitating customercentric supply chains is the comprehensive availability of customer data across diverse supply chain functions. Focusing on real-world examples, the paper unveils how businesses are tailoring products and services to foster customer-centric supply chain experiences using sustainable and collaborative supply chains. It also addresses challenges faced by companies while balancing operational efficiency with customer needs. Looking ahead, the paper navigates the trajectory of smart supply chains in an era marked by unprecedented global events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical conflicts. It outlines strategic drivers such as real-time execution, sustainability, predictive demand forecasting and leveraging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for a smarter, more adaptive supply chain. Readers can expect to glean insights into the multifaceted dimensions of customer-centric supply chains, learning about successful strategies, challenges and the roadmap for future-proofing supply chains in an increasingly dynamic global landscape. This paper offers actionable insights to adapt and innovate in an era where customer-centricity and smart supply chains are pivotal for sustainable success.
    Keywords: customer-centric; smart supply chain; disruption; sustainability; interconnected data; logistics; visibility

  • Fourth parties: Concentration risk and its mitigation
    Gemma Stewart, Head of Vendor Management, Global Procurement & Vendor Management, Group Technology & Operations, Zurich Insurance Company

    The aim of this paper is to describe various types of concentration risk in the supply chain, provide some examples and explain why these are important to regularly analyse. In addition, it sets out why we should be including fourth parties in our analysis and some suggestions of how this can be done. The paper demonstrates that the key to efficient concentration risk analysis is being data-driven and linking this back to an organisation’s own business resilience. The reader can expect to have a good understanding of the types of concentration risk and how to start gathering data to drive the necessary analysis.
    Keywords: concentration risk; fourth party; third party; geographic risk; criticality

  • Data-driven decision making: Informed healthcare supply chain management
    Jerry D. VanVactor, Executive Healthcare Supply Chain/Operations Professional

    With the evolution and incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) into so many business models and enterprises, data-driven decision making is assuming an ascendant role among organisational operations. While this work is not intended to negate experiential or intuitive decision making, leaders are encouraged to examine operational decision making through a lens of how experience can be supported by organisationally derived information yielding more effective operational decisions. While experiential learning is beneficial in determining how organisational decisions are being made, data presents why such decisions are made in the first place. More important still, what impact might decisions have on healthcare operations if grounded in ill-informed, ill-defined decision-making processes? Especially within healthcare supply chain operations, decision making should be a collaborative, multidiscipline, multistakeholder process that is best grounded in data-driven approaches. Healthcare supply chain data and analytics can and do provide a valuable framework within which operational decisions should be viewed. Potentially gleaned from this paper will be a perspective relatable to evidence-based analyses permitting the evolution of better-informed leadership decision criteria contributing to tangible organisational resilience, agility and flexibility.
    Keywords: analytics; data; decision making; leadership; healthcare supply chain management

  • Supply chain as key driver for sustainability
    Torsten Becker, Head of Study Program Supply Chain Management, SRH Berlin University of Applied Sciences

    As the importance of sustainability is rising on the corporate agenda, companies need to provide environmental impact reduction plans to shareholders, banks and other stakeholders. The Paris Agreement urges companies to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, to achieve the goal of maximum 1.5°C temperature increase. A benchmarking study of sustainability performance was conducted on the environmental reports of 59 companies, and their plans for emission reductions were analysed. From the results, a framework to define CO2 reduction targets to achieve net zero has been devised for companies, starting from now.
    Keywords: sustainability; net zero; Scope 3; emissions; supply chain

  • Research Papers
    Adoption of artificial intelligence tools by retail organisations
    Paulius Vėželis, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Traxlo, UAB and Gurram Gopal, Professor and Associate Chair, Illinois Institute of Technology

    Recent advancements in information and computing technologies have created a new category of artificial intelligence (AI) tools which are now being adopted by the retail industry. History reveals that every new technology-based tool faces barriers before becoming widely and successfully adopted, and AI tools are no exception. While numerous studies have already confirmed the benefits of these tools for multinational corporations, many retailers are facing significant barriers in adopting them. A review of the literature showed that the primary barriers are in the areas of human resources, strategic planning, project management and legacy IT systems. To build on these findings and find the AI adoption barriers, an international study of 13 retail and retail technologies experts from eight different countries was conducted. The results suggest that there is a preferred way for retail organisations to be structured and act in order to be successful at adopting AI tools. Based on the literature review and empirical results, a conceptual model for successful AI tools adoption is proposed. This model with broader research results contributes to the literature on AI tools adoption in retail organisations, suggests the steps organisations can take to be more successful, and highlights the importance of company culture and potential return on investment (ROI) of the AI solution for successful adoption.
    Keywords: artificial intelligence; machine learning; technology adoption; retail; multinational organisations; organisational culture

  • International retail buying groups and consumer prices
    Marcel Corstjens, Emeritus Unilever Chaired Professor, INSEAD

    The aim of the research described in this paper is to investigate the effect of international retail buying groups on consumer prices. The study focuses on EDEKA, the leading grocery retailer in Germany, and its membership in AgeCore, the largest European international retail buying group. The empirical analysis is based on an extensive EDEKA scanner dataset, including over 6 million observations of monthly consumer prices for 138,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) across 20 food categories, over a six-year period. The analysis shows that EDEKA’s membership in AgeCore led to reduced prices for its customers. These findings are consistent with recent studies on the influence of retail buying groups on consumer prices and contribute to an increasing body of evidence that international retail buying groups reduce consumer prices. The paper shows that international buying groups are a force for the good, as they contribute to reduce consumer prices while simultaneously offering a cost-efficient mechanism for retailers to create scale to obtain competitive buying conditions.
    Keywords: partnering (alliance); performance measurement; counterfactual impact evaluation

Volume 6 Number 2

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Practice Papers
    Achieving rapid value and ROI from supply chain visibility while building long-term capabilities
    Nick Bonny, Principal, Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences Operations and Rafael Lander, Principal, Life Sciences Group, PricewaterhouseCoopers

    With the recent rapid advances in digital supply chain technologies, companies are investing significant capital in these solutions. So far, however, the results and benefits are falling short of expectations. The current authors have discovered through multiple post-implementation assessments and a detailed survey of senior operations leaders that only 20 per cent of digital supply chain investments return the expected result. By looking deeper into the root causes of these value traps, this paper describes how the authors uncovered ways to improve the probability of successful digital transformation. The paper also examines which technologies are being implemented by companies and discuss how those technologies can help improve supply chain management. In our experience, companies can enhance returns on supply chain investments by adhering to four crucial mantras as part of their digital transformations: 1) quantify the benefit opportunity; 2) build a sustainable digital-focused operating model; 3) align across the enterprise and partners; and 4) prepare the organisation for the needed change. The paper also provides examples of how PwC uses these steps to help increase probability of success and return on investment.
    Keywords: return on investment; digital supply chain; digital operating model; digital upskilling; cloud enabled analytics; control tower; supply chain visibility; automation; artificial intelligence; machine learning; robotic process automation; digital twin/simulations; peer benchmarking; digital maturity assessments; digital roadmap; change management

  • Best practices to successfully integrate the strategic and financial objectives with the S&OP/IBP model
    Massimo Giannetto, Global Head of Integrated Business Planning, AkzoNobel

    The recent global disruptions that affected the industrial dynamics, from trade wars to the COVID-19 pandemic, from geopolitical tensions to the steep increase in energy cost and disruptions in the raw material sourcing and logistic dynamics, placed an unprecedented challenge on organisational supply chains, which had to reinvent themselves to maintain competitiveness, flexibility and reliability in an extremely volatile environment. Historically, supply chains relied on industry-standard planning models, such as sales and operations planning (S&OP) or integrated business planning (IBP), as a foundation of their planning process through a cooperative connection between demand and supply planning, and through an established process to collect all the key data and information in a consistent form to support all the critical decision-making processes. Nonetheless, in most cases, poorly or partially implemented S&OP/IBP models have failed to keep their promises, as companies struggled to achieve a full integration of processes, functions or key performance indicators (KPIs), while a robust integrated business process is able to guarantee a holistic and comprehensive planning and performance management system supporting the decisionmaking process and ultimately delivering a positive impact to the organisation’s profit and loss (P&L). A mature planning model should therefore embrace both a tactical and a strategic time frame, thus ensuring a strategic alignment, a ‘vertical link’, between the short to mid-term operational plans and the organisation’s long-term strategic objectives. The whole process consequently must be designed as a robust operating model allowing the organisation to monitor, update, execute and eventually deliver its strategic goals. This paper focuses on the best practices adopted by AkzoNobel to implement a mature IBP model across the whole organisation, and to achieve a full integration with the pre-existing financial planning processes in its journey that started in 2018 and is still ongoing today.
    Keywords: sales and operations planning (S&OP); integrated business planning (IBP); financial target; strategic objectives; integration

  • Upskilling/reskilling when implementing value-driven technology
    Sneha Kumari, Head of Industry Trends, Circular Supply Chain Network

    Digital transformation is a journey that most companies will find themselves on and will be familiar with the churn that comes with it. This paper focuses on the importance of having upskilling/ reskilling as a centre of attention for companies in their process of digital transformation. Investing in technology alone cannot solve the myriad problems we have today in our businesses. Tech is a tool that will act as an enabler, but we need the employees, the people using that tech to also be transforming when they are on this journey. Upskilling is not just about learning new skills; we need to treat it as a culture shift and our readiness to manage this change. Through this paper, we would like to share the why and the how of upskilling and reskilling your employees to gain the most return on investment (ROI).
    Keywords: upskilling; reskilling; digital transformation; change management

  • The six stages of digital transformation and practical steps to get started in your organisation
    Justin Wilcox, Senior Manager of Materials Management, Cirrus Aircraft and Marcus Bugni, Supply Chain Analyst III, Andersen Corporation

    Many of today’s most successful supply chains are ones that have executed a digitisation of information processes. Digital information unlocks game-changing experiences that we have recently grown accustomed to, such as two-day online delivery and order visibility. Digital transformation has quickly become a popular buzzword in supply chain management, a term that everyone understands as important for the future. Unfortunately, many struggle to get started with this concept, facing an immense resistance to change and a lack of leadership support. This paper compares and contrasts companies that are data-driven and those that are not, introduces the six stages of digital transformation and helps the reader to identify where their company currently is. It also provides a set of practical steps to get started in your organisation and discusses some roadblocks that you are likely to encounter. The paper will be especially impactful for those looking to drive digital change in their organisations by leading the effort to analyse, simplify and digitise legacy processes.
    Keywords: digital; transformation; process; digitisation; data-driven; technology

  • Improving the SCOR model: Is the new SCOR Digital Standard a better process reference model?
    Torsten Becker, Head of Study Program Supply Chain Management, SRH Berlin University of Applied Sciences

    This paper analyses the new supply chain operations reference (SCOR) Digital Standard model, introduced in September 2022, and compares it with the old standard. Advantages and disadvantages of the new enhancement are discussed across all aspects of the process model. The paper suggests improvements to the new model to make it more applicable, focusing on describing the changes in the standard to help digitise supply chain processes. The paper discusses different modelling problems, based on many years of SCOR application. Readers will get an overview of the new standard and its main components, and will learn the key differences between the old standard and the update, as well as various drawbacks. The suggested enhancements deal with scheduling in the supply chain, adding logistics activities and inventory planning.
    Keywords: supply chain operations reference (SCOR) model; process reference model; digital transformation; process optimisation

  • A review of sustainable solutions in urban logistics in Europe
    Jacques Leonardi, Professor of Sustainable Logistics and Amr Fawzy, Visiting Lecturer, University of Westminster

    Despite multiple attempts to lower emissions from supply chains and logistics activities, the level of reduction in environmental pressure is far from reaching a level of decarbonisation, low pollution and renewable resources that we could call sustainable. Impactful logistics solutions were reasonably developed and, in 2023, began to make a difference on the market, but true success stories of market upscale with high beneficial impacts and satisfactory profit margins can only be found for limited logistics operations, such as electric vans and locker boxes for last mile logistics, and few supply chains such as sustainable forestry or biodegradable plastics. The global picture of all supply chains of all products and services lacks good examples in most domains, and some sectors and branches such as maritime freight are at a too early stage, or did not start at all. This paper describes how the authors wanted to identify the most promising sustainable solutions, and test how important and valuable their contributions are in business contexts. The paper describes how the authors reassessed the effects and results of 12 European research projects and over 200 business innovations in light of the most recent knowledge, using our thoroughly tested evaluation criteria on beneficial impacts for emission reduction, efficiency gains, technical feasibility, supply chain cooperation and others, while exploiting intersubjective reported evidence. The authors identified several key solutions, showing how solutions were established, how they could be further scaled up and how barriers to their market uptake could be overcome. The paper concludes by showing that most sustainable solutions examples were used in the past as practical models for the next investment in innovative businesses.
    Keywords: sustainable logistics; last mile delivery; freight decarbonisation; sustainable supply chain management

Volume 6 Number 1

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Building resilience: Getting the supply chain back on track through uncertain times
    Viswanathan Kuppuswami, Zumen

    The Oxford English Dictionary defines resilience as the ability to recover and bounce back after significantly pressing life events with long-lasting impact. The past three years have been among the most turbulent since the Great Depression of the 1900s. But in a more connected world, where socioeconomic conditions are co-dependent on a global supply chain, the way companies look at disruptions has to be different. Come what may, supply chains must be well oiled to keep the intricately connected cogs of the global machinery running. And for that organisations must be prepared to anticipate and tackle issues that come their way or seek out opportunities that make them less vulnerable to supply chain upsets. In other words, they must work on being more resilient than ever before. This paper takes a deep dive into how continuous global adversity has affected organisations and their supply chains and how they can learn from these events to be prepared yet agile for the way ahead.
    Keywords: supply chain; procurement; disruption; resilience; strategy

  • How end-to-end data collaboration optimises value creation in supply chains
    Ilse Henne, thyssenkrupp Materials Services

    Whether it is a pandemic, war or inflation, our time is characterised by mounting crises. Various events in recent years have shown just how pervasive their impact is on global supply chains. This has led to a clear shift in priorities. Whereas supply chain management was primarily a cost issue in the past, today companies are focusing strongly on resilience and supply chain security. Because it is clear: the complexity of the framework conditions for global supply chains will not disappear. In this context, digitalisation and data collaboration offer the potential to break down existing silos in supply chain management and design a networked, overarching optimum that strengthens companies’ resilience, improves supply security and increases profitability. This paper shows the opportunities that end-to-end data collaborations in supply chains offer for value creation. The author explains how the largest mill-independent materials distributor and service provider in the Western world, thyssenkrupp Materials Services, is using its expertise in materials distribution to create digital services for greater transparency in the supply chain. The focus is on developments such as the forward sensing digital platform and the potential of data use and exchange for managing the dynamic processes of supply chains such as the bullwhip effect. In addition to practical use cases, the author also shares the role customer orientation plays, the impact digital tools can have on the use of materials and the lessons they have learned from dealing with supply chain data.
    Keywords: end-to-end data collaboration; digital supply chains; supply chain networks

  • Managing forced labour obligations as part of your ESG strategy
    Julia Perri, Giuliana Canessa Walker, Chemonics and Ségolène D’herlincourt, GHSC-PSM

    The evolution of environmental, social and governance (ESG) frameworks has created challenges for corporations to embrace and remain compliant with global goals that lack an aligned and cohesive standard from one country to another. This could not be more evident than in the global effort to eradicate forced labour from supply chains by 2030, which has resulted in a plethora of regulations, some with mandatory reporting obligations and others with simple due diligence requirements. This paper outlines a strategy to develop a comprehensive alignment across an organisation’s supply chain, encompassing recommended forced labour initiatives that will meet or exceed applicable legislative mandates. The paper’s focus is specifically on the USA Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), because it requires a unique approach that immediately affects any company shipping to the US. UFLPA authorises the US Customs and Border (CBP) agency to stop, seize and/or detain a shipment at the border and hold indefinitely until the US importer of record (IOR) can clearly and concisely demonstrate the shipment has not been made through forced labour, wholly or in part thereof. The impact of this legislation and CBP’s initiative has affected US importers and their foreign suppliers, with 3,605 shipments seized, detained or destroyed in 2022 alone. UFLPA enforcement is making more of an impression than most penalties associated with other legislation seeking the same outcome.
    Keywords: forced labour; Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act; ULFPA; German Due Diligence Supply Chain Act; withhold release orders; WRO; forced labour legislation

  • Integrating data-driven risk mitigation into supply chain planning and management
    Jason Gillespie

    The supply chain disruptions that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, and continue to a lesser degree today, exposed vulnerabilities in many supply chains and increased C-level focus on supply chain resiliency. At the same time, the supply chain risk landscape is becoming more challenging to navigate with more points of vulnerability and an increase in the frequency of disruptive events. The semiconductor shortage that crippled automotive and electronics manufacturers was the most widely publicised example, but across industries material and component shortages, port congestion, severe weather events and other disruptions have taken their toll on business continuity and profitability. Supply chain organisations are taking a multifaceted approach to these challenges, including increasing inventory levels, diversifying supplier networks and re-engineering their supply chains. This paper focuses on using analytics-based risk mitigation tools to support decision making around these strategies and enable a more comprehensive and data-driven approach to supply chain risk. These tools integrate advanced technologies such as predictive analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and virtualisation to improve risk identification, model complex supply chains during planning and enable proactive management during disruptive events. The paper reviews the current risk landscape, outlines how risk mitigation tools have evolved to meet current needs and the capabilities available in the current generation. It describes how the tools are used in procurement to improve supplier identification and management, in planning to design risk out of the network where possible, and in transportation management to adapt in real time to minimise the impact of disruptive events on delivery and production schedules. Finally, it outlines how these tools work with existing systems and processes to embed an analytics-based approach to risk mitigation into supply chain management.
    Keywords: supply chain risk mitigation; supplier management; network design; transportation planning; transportation management

  • World Bank procurement approaches: Overcoming supply chain challenges in the Pacific
    Michael Osborne and Diomedes Berroa, World Bank

    This paper explores the nexus of supply chain management (SCM) challenges and explains both the impact of recent global trends and the long-standing susceptibilities in Pacific Island Countries (PICs). The paper also discusses how these supply chain challenges exacerbate difficulties in procuring infrastructure investment projects. Finally, the paper summarises the practical solutions the Bank is pursuing through its procurement practices as an entry point for addressing supply chain management constraints. Supply chain disruptions had global repercussions in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and still present potential risks given on-going economic and geopolitical uncertainties. These challenges have come on top of long-standing supply chain difficulties in logistically complicated remote markets such as the Pacific Islands. Businesses operating in that environment contend with high logistics costs and transport expenses, which can be further exacerbated by volatile fuel prices. For contractors undertaking transportation works, there are added risks such as volatility in commodity markets for raw materials such as steel. Mobilisation costs to the Pacific Islands are also high, especially when contractors must transport equipment, goods, and potentially labour from abroad. This is on top of the significant risk of adverse weather events, with works being highly susceptible to flooding and extreme weather due to their location near coastlines. This high risk is difficult to insure, and bidders often struggle to obtain adequate insurance for their projects. Ultimately, the combination of supply chain issues, localised risks and small contract values have contributed to price escalation and weak market response to works procurements in Pacific Island Countries (PICs). The weak market response also reflects a tightening supplier market, as construction companies focus on more attractive projects within the large pipeline of domestic infrastructure projects in countries such as Australia and New Zealand. The World Bank and borrowers (client countries) are addressing this challenge through procurement approaches intended to make projects more attractive to bidders. Outreach on the consolidated pipeline of infrastructure projects in PICs highlights the opportunity for repeat business; a sequence of projects in the same location helps offset high mobilisation costs. Similarly, the Bank informs bidders of opportunities for local subcontracting or joint ventures, which can offset mobilisation costs and facilitate access to local labour. Tenders can also make greater use of rated criteria, which place emphasis on past performance, quality and sustainability factors. Finally, greater use of phased approaches and provisional sums can help to spread price risk more effectively over long duration contracts where clear information on future costs is not available. In the context of global uncertainty, this can offset price risk for outyear items.
    Keywords: supply chain; The World Bank; Pacific Islands; procurement; remote markets; transportation works

  • Automation and information systems to innovate in urban distribution
    Bruno Coste, adameo

    This paper examines the different issues of urban logistics that have an impact on companies and in particular on their warehousing. Automation and information systems are presented as a solution in urban distribution and these different notions are explained. To illustrate this, an example of a solution provided for a French company is presented.
    Keywords: automation; supply chain; warehouse; urban logistics; information systems

  • Data and connectivity as key building blocks for effective collaboration with supply chain partners
    Christine Barnhart, Nulogy

    Data and connectivity are the key building blocks that enable supply chain maturity for manufacturers and their partners in the supply chain ecosystem. Multi-enterprise supply chain business networks deliver data and connectivity with features that obtain real-time data, create visibility, ensure truth, enable collaboration and increase intelligence. It is critical to find the right partners when making a supply chain intelligence investment. This paper describes how to build supply chain intelligence and supply ecosystem orchestration to achieve long-term, sustainable value.
    Keywords: global supply chains; supply chain maturity; supply chain ecosystem; digitally enabled supply chain solutions; intelligence-driven solutions; multi-enterprise supply chain business networks (MESCBN)

  • Managing health supply chain risk through strategic outsourcing in low- and middle-income countries
    Julia Perri, Giuliana Canessa Walker and Ségolène D’Herlincourt

    This paper explores how strategic outsourcing of public health supply chain functions to private sector companies in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is a catalyst to reduce operational risks and achieve agility and efficiency. Private sector engagement in public health supply chains increases market competitivity, improves efficiency and allows for cost reduction, while enabling ministries of health to focus on their core competencies and become stewards of their supply chain operations. The paper highlights best practices on strategic outsourcing for contracting entities and third-party logistics (3PL) to minimise risk. Strategic outsourcing has become increasingly common across LMIC contexts as emerging economies take advantage of private sector growth; however, outsourcing does not automatically mean increased efficiency or transparency, unless it is done properly. Recommended best practices include ensuring transparent and fair competition; understanding market capabilities and geographical constraints, as well as available infrastructure; setting up key performance indicators; improving service agility; and creating the best distribution network for higher efficiency. The paper also presents three case studies, including lessons learned and results from strategic outsourcing in Zambia, Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
    Keywords: private sector engagement; strategic outsourcing; risk management; supply chain for health; in-country logistics for health