The role of emergent information technologies and systems in enabling supply chain agility

White, A.; Daniel, E.M. and Mohdzain, M. (2005). The role of emergent information technologies and systems in enabling supply chain agility. International Journal of Information Management, 25(5) pp. 396–410.



In many markets it is becoming impossible to remove or ignore sources of turbulence and volatility. Hence, supply chain managers must accept uncertainty, but still need to develop a strategy that enables them to match supply and demand at an acceptable cost. The ability to achieve this has been termed supply chain agility. Information and, importantly, agile information systems have been recognised as being a critical factor in achieving agility in the supply chain.
To date studies have suggested that high levels of coordination between organisations, necessary for improved supply chain performance, demand high levels of integration between partners’ information systems. However, these high levels of integration reduce the ability to frequently and rapidly make changes to trading relationships, something that is a prerequisite of the agility paradigm. This paper seeks to explore how a number of emergent information systems offer the possibility of both deep integration and increased flexibility. This paper is exploratory in nature. A single case study of an organisation seeking to improve supply chain agility is reported. Existing literature and the insights provided by the case study are combined to identify a number of themes for further study.

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