Purpose – Much of the recent research on supply chain uncertainty has focused on relationships between manufacturers and suppliers and existing models have therefore been based on this dyadic structure. The aim is to establish a supply chain uncertainty model that explicitly incorporates transport operations and hence the logistics triad; supplier, customer and transport carrier. Design/methodology/approach – This is a literature‐based activity that synthesises and extends existing models of supply chain uncertainty. Findings – The paper develops a new model to reflect the nature of transport operations. Consequently, it identifies five main categories of uncertainty, namely from the points of view of the supplier, the customer and the carrier, respectively, the control systems used in the supply chain and external factors. The interfaces between the uncertainty categories involving all three parties of the logistics triad are identified, so as to develop a more holistic perspective on supply chain uncertainty and how it can be reduced. Research limitations/implications – This paper is conceptual in nature and empirical research into the area of transport uncertainty will be required to validate its findings. Following this, the model can be used to investigate and evaluate improvements in the economic and/or environmental performance of freight transport within supply chains. Practical implications – The model is intended to provide a framework within which organisations, including logistics providers, can develop a supply chain strategy to mitigate the effects of uncertainty. By categorising uncertainty into the types described, organisations may determine where the greatest uncertainties lie and hence develop a prioritised plan for supply chain re‐engineering by initially targeting those uncertainties with the most significant implications for supply chain efficiency. Originality/value – Little research has been undertaken on the impact of uncertainties on transport in the context of collaborative supply chain management. The model rationalises uncertainties into various types taking into account the nature of the logistics triad.
International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 13, 2008
Keywords: Distribution management; Supply chain management; Uncertainty management; Modelling
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