Publication Date
Authored By
Anna Stanchik
Advisor(s): Jarrod Goentzel
Topic(s) Covered:
  • Case Study
  • Inventory
  • Risk Management
  • Sourcing
  • Strategy

As supply chains become more global and complex, it increases the importance of end-to-end visibility into the material, information, and financial flows of a firm. This work covers various aspects of supply chain visibility such as current status, its benefits, and the benefit-enabling mechanisms, traced through multiple stages of research, including a survey, roundtable, and detailed interviews. Specifically, we developed a multi-case study analysis of supply chain visibility solutions (SCVS) and analyzed its effect on key supply chain processes.

A qualitative “with and without SCVS” framework was employed to understand the changes observed in key business processes at several companies that recently implemented SCVS. This was combined with a cross-case study analysis to evaluate the effect of SCVS on the efficiency and effectiveness dimensions of process performance. We found that SCVS has a direct positive effect on data management processes via benefit-enabling mechanisms such as automation, standardization, and better raw data. Key operational processes, such as shipment and inventory management, risk management, and procurement and partner collaboration, were affected positively by SCVS via the antecedent data management process. The strength of impact of SCVS on key operational processes varies by company characteristics and the stage of implementation of SCVS.

This research is most useful to companies considering implementing an SCVS to understand the potential benefits of SCVS and the underlying mechanisms. Managers can increase the relevance and robustness of results by extending the case-study analysis to include more companies with similar operating characteristics.