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Investigating decision-making in logistics management in the era of disruptive technologies: editorial contribution

Abstract

During the past century, logistics as an industry and academic discipline has been experiencing revolutionary growth and development (Liao-Troth et al., 2012). The literature in the domain of decision-making in logistics management has been focussing on understanding the role logistics and logistics managers play in creating value for the customer and other associated stakeholders (Walters, 1999). To achieve the desired objectives, logistics managers are often seen to undertake mainly three strategic decisions at the firm level (Wanke and Zinn, 2004). The first stream of decision-making involves resolving the dilemma between make to order vs make to stock decisions. Process technology, obsolescence, lead-time ratio, delivery time and perishability are some of the key variables affecting this decision-making (Soman et al., 2004; Van Donk, 2001). The second stream of decision-making is whether the manager would deploy push or pull inventory logic as a strategic decision. The push decision is based on the basic of demand planning and forecasting, whereas the pull decision is based on the demand itself (Davis et al., 2014). Different studies have tried to explain the factors behind the logic and its possible implications to strategic decision-making in logistics management (Abad, 2003). The third strategic decision is whether to adopt a centralised inventory system or a decentralised one. Freight considerations, transportations costs, location node issues and inventory turnover are some of the relevant variables that may affect inventory decentralisation decisions (Abdul-Jalbar et al., 2003; Zinn et al., 1989). Based on these strategic decisions, logistics system across the supply chain gets configured. This configuration of logistics systems makes a critical contribution towards managing disruptions such as COVID-19 and recovery of supply chains post such disruptions (Singh et al., 2020; Choi, 2020). Scholars have stressed the importance of investigating and understanding the evolution of logistics with digital revolution that is being currently experienced due to the emergence of disruptive technologies (Daduna, 2019; Liu et al., 2020). Christensen (1997) first termed disruptive technology and explained it as a type of technology to replace the existing mainstream technology in unexpected ways (Liu et al., 2020). These disruptive technologies have often been simpler and usually easier to use and handle (Dhillon et al., 2001), making them economically and operationally appealing to managers. Big data (Nagendra et al., 2020a, b), artificial intelligence (Rodriguez-Espindola et al., 2020), blockchain (Wamba et al., 2020), 3D printing (Mohr and Khan, 2015), Internet of Things (IoTs) and smart robots for automation (Goldsby and Zinn, 2016) are different examples of the disruptive technologies.

Journal/Conference Information

International Journal of Logistics Management,DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLM-05-2021-487, ISSN: ISSN: 0957-4093, Volume: 32, Issue: 2, Pages Range: 305-319,