The Role of Traceability in Enhancing Supply Chain Resilience and Sustainable Supply Chain Management in a Multi-Tier Supply Chain:An Emerging Economy Perspective

Razak, Ghadafi (2023) The Role of Traceability in Enhancing Supply Chain Resilience and Sustainable Supply Chain Management in a Multi-Tier Supply Chain:An Emerging Economy Perspective. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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Modern supply chains are characterised by increased complexity due to the interdependence of firms which are geographically dispersed. Global supply chain partners therefore find it difficult to track and trace the provenance and conditions of the products they buy or sell, hence, exposing them to more risks. In recent years, traceability has gained considerable interest among supply chain researchers and practitioners because of its ability to provide evidence of the origin, condition of products through its journey and ensure the compliance of all supply chain activities throughout the journey. Traceability has become an important source of competitive advantage especially in customer-driven industries where consumer loyalty, trust, and confidence are gained through the assurance of the quality and safety of products. Traceability has therefore been implicitly linked with several supply chain performance elements. However, only a few studies have gone beyond the identification of the relationship to explain how firms can implement traceability systems to enhance supply chain performance. Thus, this thesis contributes to filling this gap by exploring the deployment of traceability systems among emerging economy upstream suppliers, as well as investigating how these systems can contribute to global SC performance. Therefore, by conducting three inter-related studies, this thesis sought to address the research question: “How does traceability among emerging economy suppliers enhance multi-tier SC performance?” Paper 1 provides a comprehensive state-of-the-art understanding of traceability and its perceived benefits using a systematic literature review (SLR). The findings from this paper outline a number of research gaps that require future research attention. Papers 2 and 3 present findings from empirical research adopting a multi-case study approach to explain how varied levels of traceability can be effectively coordinated to enhance SC performance in an emerging economy context. More specifically, Paper 2 investigates how upstream SC tiers can enhance their traceability systems to improve their resilience against their chronic, small-scale disruptions and avoid its escalation into a global catastrophic event. This paper uncovers the scope of traceability among emerging economy upstream tiers by highlighting the combination of technological and non-technological traceability systems used and the increasing level of interdependence required to enhance the effectiveness of traceability across the SC. Drawing on the relational view (RV) theory, the paper emphasises how investment in relation-specific assets and the presence of an effective governance mechanism enhance upstream SC traceability systems and increase their SCRes capabilities. Finally, Paper 3 further draws on the RV theory to investigate how inter-firm complementary resources and knowledge-sharing routines among upstream SC actors enhance the capacity of traceability to support the social and environmental pillars of sustainability. The paper shows how lower-tier suppliers are motivated by the presence of complementary resources/ capabilities to enhance their traceability systems to meet the SC sustainability commitments and how the presence of a clearly defined knowledge-sharing routine enhances the efficiency and reliability of traceability information, which in turn expedites the identification of sustainability breaches. In addition to addressing the overarching research question through their unique individual contributions, the three papers collectively contribute to deepening the understanding of traceability systems from a multi-tier SC perspective. In particular, this thesis further provides empirical evidence to advance the emerging debate around the interface between SCRes and SC sustainability. The study demonstrates a triangular relationship between traceability, SCRes and SC sustainability by highlighting the potential for traceability to simultaneously enhance both SCRes and SC sustainability or reduce the potential trade-off for one while pursuing the other. Further research opportunities include a deeper study to further explore and explain this triangular relationship.

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17 Feb 2023 09:55
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17 Feb 2023 09:55