Investigating the Links between Supply, Operations, and Logistics Resiliency in Supply Chains


M. Gerschberger, I. Manuj - Investigating the Links between Supply, Operations, and Logistics Resiliency in Supply Chains - The 14th International Research Seminar on Supply Chain Risk Management (ISCRiM), Dortmund, Deutschland, 2014, pp. 1-2


Purpose: With growing volatility and uncertainty in supply chains, research in areas such as robustness and resilience have gained widespread attention. Pettit (2010) argue that there is a trade-off between vulnerabilities and capabilities and a balance between the two is necessary for profitable survival. In this paper, we explore vulnerabilities and capabilities specific to supply, operations, and inbound and outbound logistics management that increase supply chain resiliency. The overarching question driving this research is: How and which specific supply-, operations-, and logistics- related actions reduce specific vulnerabilities and create/improve specific capabilities. Methodology: This research is currently in progress. The phenomenon is explored using case research approach and employing grounded theory methodology for data analysis. So far, 39 in-depth interviews across 3 different manufacturing firms have been conducted. An initial interview protocol was developed based on the extant literature. The content of successive in-depth interviews was based on the concept of “theoretical sampling” (Glaser and Strauss 1967; Mello and Flint 2009). The participants came from a variety of different roles, hierarchy levels and industries, with most having over 15 years of experience. The interviews, which were conducted over a six-month period from September 2013 to March 2014, lasted from 45 and 90 minutes. Four researchers (including one doctoral candidate) did the coding, a fifth helped to match and merge codes and core categories. Data is analyzed using the comparative process between and within interviews and is ongoing. Findings: Anecdotal evidence confirmed that firms were struggling to develop capabilities to effectively manage unforeseen challenges related to supply, operations, and logistics. Specifically, firms seemed to lack insight into how to align capabilities with current and future unforeseen challenges. Currently, we have identified 22 broad areas - such as recruiting, IT systems, procurement, innovation, etc. - grouped into four major constructs. The research team is currently focused on identifying challenges, vulnerabilities, and specific actions that managers take to address these challenges and vulnerabilities in each of the 22 categories. As mentioned earlier, this is work in progress. As we transcribe and code more interviews, we expect that a theory of resiliency in the specific context of supply, operations, and logistics will emerge. Further Research: Initial findings from the interviews will be presented to the participating companies in a workshop during the month of July 2014. The aim of this workshop is to ascertain the face validity of the extant findings related to challenges, vulnerabilities, and capabilities, and to identify the research questions to further the research. As the next step after the workshop, we will undertake the next round of interviews and begin to integrate the existing research with the emergent concepts. Interviews will continue until “theoretical saturation” is reached.