The three paradoxes of supply chain management: illustrations and managerial implications
by Nathalie Merminod, Gilles Pache, Richard Calvi
International Journal of Procurement Management (IJPM), Vol. 1, No. 1/2, 2007

Abstract: For over 15 years, there has been a considerable growth in research devoted to Supply Chain Management (SCM) in the fields of purchasing and procurement. Supply chains can be described as business networks, whereas academics and practitioners are increasingly referring to logistical networks supporting supply chains. The aim of this article is to show that managing interdependent logistical networks generates three inherently paradoxical situations. These paradoxes are: how to mix long-term relations and 'plasticity' in the management of supply chains as business networks? Should one try to influence supply chain members or accept being influenced by them in the monitoring of a supply chain? Is it possible to choose between building innovative and flexible supply chains or building 'controlled' and rigid supply chains? In order to manage such paradoxes, we suggest that firms further develop combined competences of purchasing, procurement and SCM while encouraging greater collaboration and transparency among these three fields. Each paradox is illustrated by one or two cases to highlight managerial implications.

Online publication date: Wed, 10-Oct-2007

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