Networked organisations are increasingly adopting a ‘smarter networking’ philosophy in their design of more agile and customer-focused supply models. Changing consumer behaviours and the emergence of transformative process and digital technologies—industry 4.0, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, the Internet of Things—are driving a series of innovations, in terms of ‘products’ and business models, with major implications for the industrial enterprise, in their design of more ‘digitalised’ supply chains.
Studies involving such transformative technologies continue to capture the interest of academics, industrialists, and government policy makers as often yet untapped sources of significant ‘value’ creation. In recent years, research in this area has typically focused on product R&D technologies, coupled with their particular technology commercialisation challenges.
However, industrial systems are growing more complex, and are not readily described by a single viewpoint. It is now widely recognised that manufacturing value chains (including subsequent stages for design for manufacture, engineering, production operations ramp-up, route-to-market, in-use activities) are critical to transforming new technologies and ideas into innovative products and services.
Running through all of this was a common thread that emphasised the need to connect, network and collaborate across the supply chain, whether through enterprise-wide IT integration at one end of the spectrum or by targeting engagement with supply chain partners at the other. However, the design, set-up and operation of enabling supply networks, in the context of transformative technologies, are still poorly understood.
This special issue focuses on transformative technologies and next-generation supply networks, drawing on examples of process technology innovations and more customer-focused supply chains that are actively exploiting the potential of, for example, big data analytics and social media to innovate in terms of the design of new production or supply chain replenishment models (e.g. new routes to market) and/or novel business models.
Consistent with the mission of IJTM, submitted papers should contain a significant empirical contribution and enable communication between academics, industrialists, and policymakers to further knowledge and research, as well as theory and practice, in the field of transformative technologies and management. Original research and development papers, review papers, and qualitative/quantitative studies are welcome. The relevance of next generation supply networks and/or transformative technologies encompassing, for example, industrial systems transformation, digitalisation, industry 4.0, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, the Internet of Things should be explicit. Such contexts could include (but are not limited to):
- Understanding the dynamics of transformative technologies and subsequent engagement with complex industrial networks
- Insights on the interaction between various stages of the manufacturing value chain and digitally-enabled consumer-centric supply chains
- Collaborative supply chain models, crowdsourcing and the sharing economy
- Digital supply chain design, analysis and operation
- Visualisation of value showing potential value streams for network partners
- Industrial network development from the perspectives of different stakeholders
- Trends and generic stages of supply network evolution
- Effective management of resources through the implementation of supply chain strategies
- Development of frameworks and their application to support the configuration of next generation supply networks
Manuscripts due by: 1 December, 2017