Home > Knowledge > Topics and Skills > Strategy and Policy > Supply Chain Complexity

Supply Chain Complexity

[Supply chain] complexity does not mean complicated, but rather it describes a condition of inter-connectedness and inter-dependencies across a network where a change in one element can have an effect on other elements (Christopher).

Information about Supply Chain Complexity

Supply chains consist of multiple business partners who work together directly or indirectly and collaborate by information, material and financial flows (Isik, 2010). Supply chains are usually faced with a considerable number of exogenous and endogenous drivers of complexity originating from diverse sources which can arise from network, process, range, product, customer, supplier, organisational and information complexities (Blecker et al., 2005; Christopher).

Supply chain complexity is characterised by copiousness, interdependency, variability, variety and uncertainty. These complexity characteristics are interrelated. For example, a high level of variety may lead to variability or high density. Similarly, diversity may cause uncertainty. Reducing the level of these characteristics can help companies reduce supply chain complexity (Isik, 2011).

Return to SRM and SC Management topic.

Return to Strategy and Policy topic.

Related concepts

Engaging with the Third Sector

Third sector social enterprise has a long history, from the co-operative movement of the 1800s to the long trading activities of many charities, of which The Chartered Institute of...

Find out more

Global vs Local Sourcing

There appears to be an almost unstoppable march towards more and more global sourcing. If we perceive that everyone else is going global, shouldn’t we?

Find out more

Globalisation

The world did not proclaim the dawn of globalisation the moment McDonald’s opened its doors in Beijing, or when Vietnamese factories reeled off their first Nike trainers. The term...

Find out more