The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

Implications of Supply Chain Visibility: Benefits in Transaction Execution and Resource Network Management

Jaana Auramo

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management for public examination and debate in Auditorium TU1 at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 8th of December, 2006, at 12 o'clock noon.

Overview in PDF format (ISBN 951-22-8419-7)   [395 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 951-22-8418-9)


The research context of this thesis is supply chain integration in manufacturing industry. This thesis examines how improved visibility in supply chain management can be exploited. The central proposition is that improved visibility brings new demands in supply chain management on the one hand, and gives rise to opportunities in innovative new business processes on the other.

The thesis consists of five individual studies and a summary. Three of these studies focus on the post-adoption usage of e-business solutions, investigating the challenges to be met and the deployment potential that companies can take advantage of when building visibility into the supply chain with the help of e-business and related integrative business processes. Two studies analyze the challenges and benefits related to the service integration that occurs when manufacturing companies move into downstream operations by offering high-value services related to the products they supply. This integration creates better visibility into customer processes and into actual products and their usage; the challenge is to create skills to take advantage of this visibility.

The thesis summary discusses the identified linkages between different perspectives of supply chain visibility. First, it identifies three different types of visibility as visibility of transactions, visibility of the process and visibility in use. Second, the results emphasize visibility as a concept with a dual role. From a tactical perspective, it is about visibility in transactions; from a strategic perspective, it is about the possibility of evaluating and re-shaping the resource network to better meet the demands of customers or changing business environments. The analysis indicates that, by approaching the problem situation from the two complimentary viewpoints of transaction and resource network management, new insight can be provided into how the attainable benefits of improved visibility are interrelated. Third, the thesis confirms that it is possible to exploit improved visibility at the three different levels of direct operative benefits, direct strategic benefits, and enhanced long-term strategic benefits. To be able to realize the long-term strategic benefits related to visibility, the resource network perspective needs to be recognized and the problems related to coordination and collaboration addressed.

Overall, this thesis proposes that the three complementary perspectives of type of visibility, transaction vs. resource network, and level of attainable outcomes are all needed in order to understand the opportunities to exploit visibility in supply chain management. The thesis sets ground for a more normative analysis of the impact of visibility in supply chain management. Based on the empirical generalizations presented in this thesis, it is possible through further concept and proposition formulation to start building a theoretical model to describe the role of visibility in supply chain management.

This thesis consists of an overview and of the following 5 publications:

  1. Auramo, J., Aminoff, A., Punakivi, M., 2002, Research agenda for e-business logistics based on professional opinions, International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management, Vol. 32, No. 7, pp. 513-531. © 2002 Emerald Group Publishing. By permission.
  2. Auramo, J., Kauremaa, J., Tanskanen, K., 2005, Benefits of IT in supply chain management: an explorative study of progressive companies, International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management, Vol. 35, No. 2, pp. 82-100. © 2005 Emerald Group Publishing. By permission.
  3. Auramo, J., Eloranta, K., 2006, Www-system use and business value in project networks, Proceedings of the International Conference on Organizational Learning, Knowledge and Capabilities (OLKC 2006), ISBN 0-902610-79-1, Warwick, UK.
  4. Auramo, J., Tanskanen, K., Småros, J., 2004, Increasing operational efficiency through improved customer service: process maintenance case, International Journal of Logistics: Research and Applications, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 167-180.
  5. Auramo, J., Ala-Risku, T., 2005, Challenges for going downstream, International Journal of Logistics: Research and Applications, Vol. 8, No. 4, pp. 333-345.

Keywords: supply chain management, SCM, supply chain integration, visibility, e-business, service integration, manufacturing

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© 2006 Helsinki University of Technology

Last update 2011-05-26