Title: The Bullwhip effect – complexity in theory and in a real-life application

Authors: Kaj-Mikael Bjork, Annukka Hejazi, Christer Carlsson

Addresses: IAMSR/Abo Akademi University, Lemminkaisenkatu 14, FI-20540, Turku, Finland. ' Turku School of Economics and Business Administration, Rehtorinpellonkatu 3, FI-20500 Turku, Finland. ' IAMSR/Abo Akademi University, Lemminkaisenkatu 14, FI-20540, Turku, Finland

Abstract: Since the articles of Lee et al. (1997a, b), there have been many publications that explain the causes of the Bullwhip effect. The countermeasures proposed are often motivated by mathematical models, in which different assumptions are made to simplify the complexity of the real world. How well do the theory contributions support a supply chain manager, who wants to reduce the Bullwhip effect? Even if the Bullwhip effect is addressed in many articles, it is not straightforward to draw the right conclusions and to find answers to real-life problems from the somewhat theoretical papers in this field. Some problem areas that need to be addressed are how to measure the Bullwhip effect and how the assumptions in the Bullwhip literature often create a gap between the problems found in real-life supply chains and the theoretical solutions. This paper highlights this gap with an example from a Finnish fine paper distributor.

Keywords: bullwhip effect; case study; supply chain management; SCM; complexity; measurement; Finland; fine paper distribution.

DOI: 10.1504/IJISM.2007.011451

International Journal of Integrated Supply Management, 2007 Vol.3 No.1, pp.86 - 102

Published online: 30 Nov 2006 *

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