Complexity in Global Supply Networks


M. Gerschberger, F. Staberhofer, R. Hohensinn - Complexity in Global Supply Networks - Proceedings of the 3rd ICLT conference, Male, Malediven, 2011, pp. 42-54


In practice, there is a lack of knowledge about supply network complexity which may lead to unsatisfactory business results. Reliable instruments and models which support a supply network manager in systematically managing the complexity are not yet available. None of the existing approaches have been adequately transferred to the domain of supply networks characterised by fast changing conditions. On the basis of the existing approaches it is impossible to identify those partners in supply networks which are of primary importance from a company perspective. The purpose of this paper is the prototypical application of a decision model which has been developed with the aim to identify those partners in the supply network which are under fast changing business conditions from central importance. The practical applicability of the developed model is analysed within a multiple case study in the agricultural industry. An adapted version of the pattern-matching technique is applied for the case based analysis. This paper illustrates how a non-trivial topic – complexity in supply networks – can be operationalised in order to achieve practical applicability. Manageability is realised through an indirect determination of complexity using several parameters and the implementation of an easily adaptable graph-theoretic formalisation approach. Each partner is evaluated on the basis of the identified parameters to determine the contribution of a single partner to the overall complexity in the supply network. The central purpose of this paper is to assess the practical applicability of the developed model.