Complexity Parameters in Supply Networks

Publication, 2011


M. Gerschberger, F. Staberhofer, C. Engelhardt-Nowitzki - Complexity Parameters in Supply Networks - Sustainable Logistics and SCM Systems in the Resilient Market, Kaohsiung, China, 2011, pp. 34-47


Current business fields are highly dynamic and technology-intensive. Furthermore the force to satisfy changing and individual customer needs economically, together with the growing number of service components and tailored products tremendously increases the complexity in supply networks. Thus, the management of complexity in continuously growing supply networks is of essential importance. In practice, there is a lack of knowledge about the best possible evaluation and managerial intervention regarding supply network complexity which may lead to insufficient business results. Reliable instruments and models which support a supply network manager to adequately manage the complexity are not available yet, particularly as the meaning of the word ‘complexity’ is vague and no universal, precise definition exists. Therefore the purpose of this paper is to identify a basic set of parameters that determine complexity and influence the orchestration of a company’s supply network on the basis of a structured literature review and content analysis. Subsequently, the identified parameters are used to quantify complexity for specific segments and the entire supply network. The existing knowledge base will be extended by a defined set of complexity parameters which enables companies to evaluate the influence of each single partner on the overall complexity in the supply network.