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Supply chain uncertainty: a review and theoretical foundation for future research

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2012
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Production Research
Issue number16
Number of pages30
Pages (from-to)4493-4523
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date10/10/11
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Supply-chain uncertainty is an issue with which every practising manager wrestles, deriving from the increasing complexity of global supply networks. Taking a broad view of supply-chain uncertainty (incorporating supply-chain risk), this paper seeks to review the literature in this area and develop a theoretical foundation for future research. The literature review identifies a comprehensive list of 14 sources of uncertainty, including those that have received much research attention, such as the bullwhip effect, and those more recently described, such as parallel interaction. Approaches to managing these sources of uncertainty are classified into: 10 approaches that seek to reduce uncertainty at its source; and, 11 approaches that seek to cope with it, thereby minimising its impact on performance. Manufacturing strategy theory, including the concepts of alignment and contingency, is then used to develop a model of supply-chain uncertainty, which is populated using the literature review to show alignment between uncertainty sources and management strategies. Future research proposed includes more empirical research in order to further investigate: which uncertainties occur in particular industrial contexts; the impact of appropriate sources/management strategy alignment on performance; and the complex interplay between management strategies and multiple sources of uncertainty (positive or negative).