Network analysis of supply chain systems: A systematic review and future research



Supply chains are continuously evolving and adapting systems driven by complex sociotechnical interfirm interactions. Traditional engineering and operations management modeling approaches have primarily focused on technical issues and are not well suited to effectively capture the many complex structural and behavioral aspects of supply chain systems (SCSs). There is growing recognition by the supply chain community of the significant benefits a network analytic lens can provide to understand, design, and manage SCSs. We systematically review and analyze the relevant literature and, drawing on a multidisciplinary theoretical foundation, develop an integrative framework. Our framework identifies three distinct, but interdependent themes that characterize the study of SCSs: SCS network structure (i.e., system architecture), SCS network dynamics (i.e., system behavior), and SCS network strategy (i.e., system policy and control). We elaborate on these themes, review key findings, identify the current limitations and knowledge gaps, and discuss the fundamental benefits derived from adopting an integrated SCSs perspective. We conclude with future research directions for network analysis in SCS design and management, in particular, and complex enterprise systems, in general. ©2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Syst Eng 16: