The Role of Visibility in Managing Supply Chain Risk

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School of Science | Master's thesis
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This master's thesis aims at enhancing the understanding of the role of visibility in managing supply chain risk. Global supply chains are increasingly important for modern societies. However, globalization and changing business trends have increased the vulnerability of these supply chains. At the same time, the increasing complexity has decreased the level of visibility in supply networks. The importance of visibility for supply chain management is widely acknowledged on a general level, but the link to risk management is a rather unexplored territory. The thesis takes a design science approach, using the CIMO logic to structure the problem. Visibility as an intervention (I) has been studied in the context (C) of supply chain risk, concentrating especially on late deliveries. For this setting, mechanisms (M) leading to specific outcomes (O) have been identified. A literature review has been conducted on supply chain risk management and supply chain visibility, highlighting the inter-linkage of these two concepts. Further, data has been collected in seven companies from the buying end of the supply chain using a questionnaire and in five companies using interviews. The main finding of the study is that the key role of visibility in managing supply chain risk lies in the identification phase of risk management. However, together with decision making, visibility also helps in mitigating and responding to risks. Further, visibility has an important role in improving customer relationships. The study also identifies that visibility and information sharing in the management of late deliveries are important especially between the buyer and the seller, while being less important between the buyer and logistics parties. The study meets the requirements of rigor for case research, but the findings should however be generalized with care outside the context of this study. The role of visibility in managing supply chain risk is an unexplored field and further research is needed to verify as well as to broaden and deepen the findings of this study.
Holmström, Jan
Thesis advisor
Urciuoli, Luca
supply chain risk, risker i leveranskedjan, supply chain risk management, riskhantering i leveranskedjan, supply chain visibility, informationstransparens, CIMO logic, CIMO-logik
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