• Ingen resultater fundet

7. Discussion and Conclusion

7.4. Conclusion

This paper enhances the understanding of how digitalization will impact the supply chain complexity that firms are exposed to. Previous theoretical suggestions and findings on complexity drivers were considered and supplemented by factors that arise through the digital transformation. A SLR comprising current research on digitalization in SCM was conducted. This methodological approach allows for a thorough understanding of the research by systematically mapping and assessing it.

Thereby, most pressing technological advances including their opportunities, limitations, implications for businesses and future prospects, as well as related supply chain trends and developments were outlined. Based on these findings, newly arising complexity drivers were derived and considered in terms of how to effectively manage them.

Findings suggest that digitalization may simultaneously impact upon supply chain complexity positively and negatively. By dividing complexity into complicatedness and uncertainty as proposed by Vachon and Klassen (2002), it becomes evident, that the emerging technologies have the potential to substantially decrease uncertainty. However, through the emergence of ever more technological infrastructures and the need to integrate more stakeholders into the production process, complicatedness will increase. Therefore, in terms of rising or declining overall complexity, it remains firm-specific of whether uncertainty-decreases or complicatedness-increases will outweigh, as it depends on which technology is implementedand what the firm’s contextual setting demands.

In addition, the assessment of the different drivers and their interrelationships provides further evidence that complexity must not be viewed purely negatively but can be beneficial in terms of adding value to the firm. Building on Serderasan’s (2013) guidelines on how to manage complexity, the drivers were grouped into necessary and unnecessary complexity. Unnecessary complexity needs to be reduced or eliminated because it does not add any value. Necessary factors on the contrary are needed and must be managed purposefully because they provide value to the supply chain.

Viewing factors of necessary complexity in interrelation with drivers that decrease complexity, it is shown that they are likely to be contingent on one another. That is, the understanding and handling of one type of complexity may ultimately affect upon another. For example, excelling at managing a necessary complexity may decrease complexity on another end. Likewise, failing to effectively manage one driver may result in increased complexity where it is not necessary. As such, the process

91 of assessing a firm’s and a supply chain complexity setting is highly dynamic. This study highlights how the digitalization trend impacts upon supply chains and investigates the underlying dynamics.

Building on the literature and different theoretical proposals towards complexity, a broad guideline for assessing and managing supply chain complexity in times of a digital transformation is suggested.

With the support of disruptive technologies, it is up to managers to handle all complexity drivers that will affect the supply chain through the adoption of disruptive technologies. They need to be aware of upcoming changes and how these will affect the processes or parts of the supply chain and how these changes can be managed. As suggested by this thesis, a first step can be to assess whether a disruptive technology impacts upon uncertainty or complicatedness. Secondly, assessing whether the added complexity is necessary to be managed or unnecessary due to not adding any value and, thirdly, investigating their interrelations helps to gain a deep knowledge of the various complexity drivers.

When management achieves to do so, adopting new, disruptive technologies should no longer be associated with obscurity and uncertainty. Instead, companies can make decisions in accordance with their strategies and leverage on the benefits of digital transformation.



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