Thematic Analysis of a Contemporary Supply Chain Essay Example

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4Thematic Analysis of a Contemporary Supply Chain


Thematic Analysis of a Contemporary Supply Chain

The term supply chain strategy (SCS) is common, however in most cases and informally it is confused to supply chain management (SCM). Though in a way it is similar to SCM, supply chain strategy is broader since it gives details of all activities that should be undertaken so as to a set of goals. In simple terms, supply chain strategy is an iterative process that looks into cost-benefits tradeoffs of any transaction. Just like business strategy seeks to bring about overall competency in all the objectives, supply chain strategy aims to ensure that all organization operations meet the particular goals set for the supply chain. A supply chain strategy is important for many reasons. However the most important are to ensure that operation and support of the business strategy. Others are minimizing operational costs and increasing efficiencies. In search of the appropriate supply chain strategy, the scholars have used various themes.

Bosona and Gebresenbet (2013) use the food supply chain (FSC) theme to describe the appropriate supply chain strategy. According to the authors, the FSC should have Food traceability systems (FTS) so that it can help the involved participants to trace the food products to the source. In short, the ability to link the food products to their flow process increases business transparency which, in turn, leads to efficiency in the food business. Brandon‐Jones et al. (2014) use supply chain resilience and robustness to describe the SCS. First of all, a robust SCS can survive in any business condition and achieve the set organizational goals. Consequently, resilience enables the supply chain to maintain position despite any form of disturbance. The authors argue SCS using the themes because of the complexity and constant disruptions in the business environment which lead to many risks.

On the other hand, Christopher and Holweg (2017), prefers the use Supply Chain Volatility Index (SCVI) so as to bring sustainability in the supply chain. The authors identify that business world is uncertain and the leader should be ready to adopt the new Norm as soon as it occurs. Nevertheless, Dubey et al. (2017) believe that the sustainable supply chain management (SSCM) is sufficient enough to bring out the sustainability that it requires. The authors believe that SSCM covers all aspects of the supply chain such as the finances and environmental issues that facilitate a sustainable SCS. Total interpretive structure Modelling (TISM) in SSCM is an important method of determining the sufficient SSCM. Alternatively, Martínez-Jurado and Moyano-Fuentes (2014) prefers the use of lean management in the SCS so as to eliminate all wastages such as costs, inventory, and even time. The authors believe that lean management leads to environmental, economic, and social sustainability which are critical for a sustainable SCS. Further, the authors insist that the lean supply chain management is not only for manufacturing industry but also for all the companies that want to achieve sustainable supply chains.

According to Papadopoulos et al. (2017), World class sustainable supply chain management (WCSSCM) is the most appropriate strategy since it is worldwide. When a company comes up with a WCSSCM, it means that it can serve in all industries across the world. In short, the firms should seek to come up with a WCSSCM that serves the whole world rather than their particular industry or country. Similarly, Roh, Hong, and Min (2014) believe in a responsive supply chain, pull production, and global manufacturing strategy when it comes to sustainable supply chain management. A responsive supply chain can function in any business environment. The pull production and the global manufacturing strategies enable a global outlook in the supply chain which makes it receptive in any other world production. For instance, the use of online marketing is a global process which responsive to any supply chain. Finally, Wu et al. (2014) argued that SCS should be incorporated into a corporate social strategy so that it can facilitate sustainability in the business and the environment. The firms should use green efforts such as waste elimination to create an SSCM.

Chan, Shen, and Cai (2017) seek sustainability in business by suggesting the use of quick response strategy (QRS) in SCS so as to achieve the market needs at that particular time. QRS enables SCS leaders to gather timely marketing information that they later use to forecast and respond to the market demand.
Flint, Lusch, and Vargo (2014) believe that use of service ecosystems lens enables the SCS leaders to identify the consumer goods supply chain strategy through the shopper marketing. The shopper marketing allows branding of consumer products depending on the way they want them. Alternatively, the business can use the Delphi-based strategic issue management (SIM) by Förster et al. (2014) to come up with the appropriate supply chain management. Delphi SIM encourages the use of experts in structuring the SCS through studying the market trends.

Another critical area about supply chain strategy is the information used in its development. Kache et al. (2017) emphasize the use of Big Data Analytics so as to organize the large sets of information collected in the digital platforms. The authors suggest that the companies ensure that they use up-to-date information since that would give them meaningful success. Tarafdar and Qrunfleh (2017) encourages the use of agile supply chain (ASC) so as to enable responsiveness, flexibility, quickness, and competency while dealing with the flow of process and activities within the organization by use of the information systems that are available. Furthermore, Waller and Fawcett (2013) argue that use of data science, predictive analytics, and big data (DPB) enables the company to achieve an SSCM. Finally, Zhou et al. (2014) argue that Supply Chain and Information quality are the most important themes in the SCS. Businesses need to integrate the technological information which is up-to-date so as to achieve the overall suitable supply chain.

In conclusion, the supply chain strategy is a broad concept and can be argued in many themes. An SCS can seek for sustainability through topics such as environmental, social, and economic sustainability. In the thematic analysis, the articles show various issues such as food supply chain, resilience, and robustness. On the other hand, there are techniques to achieve SCS such as Delphi SCS. Finally, the information technology is critical for sustainable supply chain strategy.

Thematic Analysis Table

Key Themes

Description of Key Theme

Dominant Concept


Food supply chain (FSC)

The FSC are information systems that facilitate the knowledge about food country of origin, genetic engineering, animal welfare, and other attributes for consumers and other concerned bodies

Food traceability systems (FTS) are significant and complex since they involve different perspectives such as technology, legal, social, and economic issues.

Food traceability information and technology.

Food recall and traceability performance in supply chain management.

Bosona and Gebresenbet (2013)

Supply chain resilience and robustness

Supply chain resilience can move to a better or original position after some disturbance.

Supply chain robustness can accommodate any future uncertainty and still achieve the initial goals.

Supply chain complexity and increased probability of disruptions.

Risk management practices such as robustness and resilience enable a supply chain to move past disturbance.

Brandon‐Jones et al. (2014)

Quick response strategy (QRS) in supply chain

QRS involves collecting timely market information through forecasting so as to respond promptly to the needs of the society.

QRS and sustainability such as environmental protections activities such as waste management.

Centralization of supply chain since it is much better than decentralized.

Chan, Shen, and Cai (2017)

Supply Chain Volatility Index (SCVI)

SCVI is the “new normal” under which the leaders in the supply chain should operate in since it encompasses all the current uncertain business environments.

Business turbulence

Instability in the significant business parameter.

Christopher and Holweg (2017)

Sustainable supply chain management (SSCM)

SSCM requires integration of the financial and environmental friendly drivers to supply chain.

Drivers and antecedents of SSCM

Total interpretive structure Modelling (TISM) in SSCM.

Dubey et al. (2017)

Shopper marketing

Service ecosystem lens

Shopper marketing is brand selling by understanding the target consumers.

Use of service ecosystems lens to identify the characteristics of the value of consumer behavior.

Flint, Lusch, and Vargo (2014)

Delphi-based strategic issue management (SIM)

Consumer goods supply chain strategy

Delphi SIM uses a panel of experts to forecast about the appropriate supply chain.

The strategies for consumer goods supply are continuously changing and therefore require prior detection.

Supply chain strategy development using the Delphi SIM is a structured approach that can integrate ambivalent and uncertain situations.

Förster et al. (2014)

Big Data Analytics in Supply Chain

The supply chain needs access to up-to-date information that is the meaningful corporation.

The digital business environment has a lot of information, and the firm needs to identify the challenges and opportunities in it.

Kache et al. (2017)

Lean supply chain management

Lean supply chain management seeks to eliminate any waste in the supply chain such as costs, inventory, and even time.

All companies can apply this process, and it is, therefore, not to the manufacturing industry.

Lean management is necessary and can be at any particular area of production such as in the procurement.

Social sustainability

Economic sustainability

Environmental sustainability

Martínez-Jurado and Moyano-Fuentes (2014)

World class sustainable supply chain management (WCSSCM)

WCSSCM is a supply chain strategy that can be used anywhere around the world.

Development of SSCM in the way that it fits the whole world class.

Papadopoulos et al. (2017)

Responsive supply chain

Pull production

Global manufacturing strategy

Responsive supply chain entails that it is functional and the participants get the products and services they need.

Pull production is a global production outlook where all consumers across the world can use the products.

Global manufacturing strategies are long-term practices such as the use of online marketing within the shoe industry.

The responsive supply chain is a function of adequate definition of product frequency, range, and product offering innovation.

Pull production is achieved through implementation of the right practices such collaborating with suppliers.

Global manufacturing strategy requires integration of inter-organization resources.

Roh, Hong, and Min (2014)

Agile supply chain (ASC)

ASC stands for the use of flexibility, quickness, responsiveness, and competency while dealing with the flow of process and activities within the organization.

Inventory management

Supply chain performance

Use of information systems to increase agility.

Tarafdar and Qrunfleh (2017)

Supply chain management (SCM)

SCM is the process of overseeing how information, finances, and materials flow from the supplier to the clients. The SCM coordinates and integrates the flow among and within companies.

Data science, predictive analytics, and big data (DPB).

DPB are very relevant in the current world because a supply chain leader must understand the literature so that they can prepare for the future.

Management theories.

Waller and Fawcett (2013)

Supply Chain Strategy

Corporate environmental strategy

Firms are integrating the green efforts in their supply chain strategies to hedge risks.

Corporate environmental strategies are practices that help protect environmental degradation such as waste management.

Firms should include sustainable environmental policies in their supply chain strategies so as to improve overall performance.

A supply chain strategy should be aligned with the corporate environmental strategy.

Wu et al. (2014)

Supply chain

Information quality

Businesses are not only integrating information technologies such as the use of mobile ordering and selling but are ensuring that these technologies are up-to-date.

The data quality determines the level of supply chain consistency.

Supply chain practice is what determines the business. Performance.

Zhou et al. (2014)


Bosona, T. and Gebresenbet, G., 2013. Food traceability as an integral part of logistics management in food and agricultural supply chain. Food control, 33(1), pp.32-48.

Brandon‐Jones, E., Squire, B., Autry, C.W. and Petersen, K.J., 2014. A contingent resource‐based perspective of supply chain resilience and robustness. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 50(3), pp.55-73.

Chan, H.L., Shen, B. and Cai, Y., 2017. Quick response strategy with cleaner technology in a supply chain: coordination and win-win situation analysis. International Journal of Production Research, pp.1-12.

Christopher, M. and Holweg, M., 2017. Supply Chain 2.0 revisited: a framework for managing volatility-induced risk in the supply chain. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 47(1).

Dubey, R., Gunasekaran, A., Papadopoulos, T., Childe, S.J., Shibin, K.T. and Wamba, S.F., 2017. Sustainable supply chain management: framework and further research directions. Journal of Cleaner Production, 142, pp.1119-1130.

Flint, D.J., Lusch, R.F., and Vargo, S.L., 2014. The supply chain management of shopper marketing as viewed through a service ecosystem lens. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 44(1/2), pp.23-38.

Förster, B., Keller, J., A. von der Gracht, H. and Darkow, I.L., 2014. Delphi-based strategic issue management: crafting consumer goods supply chain strategy. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 44(5), pp.373-391.

Kache, F., Kache, F., Seuring, S. and Seuring, S., 2017. Challenges and opportunities of digital information at the intersection of Big Data Analytics and supply chain management. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 37(1), pp.10-36.

Martínez-Jurado, P.J. and Moyano-Fuentes, J., 2014. Lean management, supply chain management and sustainability: a literature review. Journal of Cleaner Production, 85, pp.134-150.

Papadopoulos, T., Gunasekaran, A., Dubey, R., Fosso Wamba, S. and Childe, S.J., 2017. World Class Sustainable Supply Chain Management: the critical review and further research directions.

Roh, J., Hong, P. and Min, H., 2014. Implementation of a responsive supply chain strategy in global complexity: The case of manufacturing firms. International Journal of Production Economics, 147, pp.198-210.

Tarafdar, M. and Qrunfleh, S., 2017. Agile supply chain strategy and supply chain performance: complementary roles of supply chain practices and information systems capability for agility. International Journal of Production Research, 55(4), pp.925-938.

Waller, M.A., and Fawcett, S.E., 2013. Data science, predictive analytics, and big data: a revolution that will transform supply chain design and management. Journal of Business Logistics, 34(2), pp.77-84.

Wu, T., Wu, Y.C.J., Chen, Y.J. and Goh, M., 2014. Aligning supply chain strategy with corporate environmental strategy: A contingency approach. International Journal of Production Economics, 147, pp.220-229.

Zhou, H., Shou, Y., Zhai, X., Li, L., Wood, C. and Wu, X., 2014. Supply chain practice and information quality: A supply chain strategy study. International Journal of Production Economics, 147, pp.624-633.