Title: Sustainability assessment of supply chains with engineering services focus

Authors: John P.T. Mo

Addresses: School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, RMIT University, P.O. Box 71, Bundoora, Vic 3083, Australia

Abstract: The use of information and communication technologies to support inter-company collaboration in the form of virtual enterprise is a critical factor to the success of any business venture. Due to the dynamic nature of business partnership, the provision of communication infrastructure among the partners needs to be interoperable and fit for the purpose. This paper uses the case study research methodology to examine the e-collaboration patterns of five cases in which companies focus on providing knowledge intensive engineering services to customers. The supply chains have a vibrant structure and are modelled as virtual enterprises that are in different phases of development. Depending on the communication capabilities, individual partners in the virtual enterprise may have to invest heavily in order that they can participate in large scale projects. Companies without a competent communication technology profile need to consider what capability they should acquire and when that capability will be useful. The study concluded that a five-level communication framework can be used to assess the sustainability of the virtual enterprise and assist supply chain partners to consider whether they would invest to attain the acceptable level of competency to join.

Keywords: virtual enterprises; engineering services supply chains; sustainability indicators; sustainability assessment; communication technology levels; virtual enterprise life cycle; sustainable development; e-collaboration; ICT; electronic collaboration; knowledge intensive services; supply chain management; modelling.

DOI: 10.1504/IJENM.2012.045596

International Journal of Enterprise Network Management, 2012 Vol.5 No.1, pp.72 - 91

Available online: 20 Feb 2012 *

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