increasing supply network transparency: structure model, mapping procedure and performance impact

Antonia Kappel is a PhD student in the research group Technology, Management and Supply (TMS). Her supervisor is prof.dr. H. Schiele from the Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences (BMS).

The general quest for supply chain transparency is increasing and has extended beyond corporate boundaries in supply chains. Companies need extensive information on the organizations that might influence their market position and on the relationships between these organizations. To achieve this information, companies need to gain visibility into their own supply chains first. However, high visibility requires a significant investment of time and resources and there are several barriers to achieve it. Consequently, many companies still only have limited supply chain visibility today. In order to create the desired visibility on their supply chains, they started to develop appropriate tools like Supply Chain Mapping.

While prior research has studied the mapping of linear, vertical supply chains, this dissertation extends the view to the complex supply networks frequently occurring in practice. Hence, the first research objective is to figure out how a company may capture the structure of its supply network. Furthermore, previous researchers agree that transparency conceptually makes sense. However, only a few empirical studies have examined the procedure how to establish supply chain transparency in practice. Consequently, this dissertation adds empirical research on the mapping procedure. Finally, current literature lacks evidence about the impact of supply network transparency and Supply Network Mapping on the purchasing performance. Hence, this dissertation assesses the cost savings and non-monetary benefits that purchasers can achieve through increasing supply network transparency and applying Supply Network Mapping.

To sum the major contributions of this dissertation up, it analyzes the geometry and unit of analysis in supply chain maps in order to transfer these insights to network level and to conceptualize a new holistic Supply Network Map Structure Model. Secondly, this dissertation reveals new findings regarding the mapping procedure. It proposes a generalized draft of the procedure and highlights the desired supplier relationship knowledge, most important information sources and contingency factors for the need of transparency. Furthermore, this dissertation investigates useful sourcing levers in addition to the mapping and presents two use cases for the application of Supply Network Mapping: cost and innovation leaders. Finally, the findings provide evidence that supply network transparency and Supply Network Mapping indeed lead to purchasing success and can be a useful aid for purchasers.