Research agenda for SCRM

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Even though supply chain risk has been analyzed in the literature for some time (eg. the Newsvendor / Newsboy problem, with the only uncertainty being demand). Nevertheless there are still many gaps (or opportunities) within this field.

In 2007 Khan and Burnes created a research agenda for the future and most of the topics covered still can be viewed as open.

Major Issues

The authors identify two major shortcomings of the current literature.

1) Locate itself within the wider literature on the theory of risk and the practice of risk management

2) Establish robust and well-grounded models of supply chain risk management, which incorporate risk management tools and techniques from other disciplines of research


Research on risk has its roots in the first applications of probabilities with gambling in the 17th century, in the 1960th the focus within the supply chain field was on risk and purchasing. Khan and Burnes identified the following components of risk from literature:

  • Definition
    risk is defined by a future outcome and its probability
  • Chance and Risk
    Many authors emphasize the negative side of risk
  • Risk and Uncertainty
    Risk as something measurable, uncertainty lacks the quantifiability either of the outcome, the probability or both
  • Subjective or Objective
    Can all risks be quantified or are there qualitative risks as well?
  • Managing Risk
    defining the risk management process as the making and implementing of decisions concerning risks based on risk estimation and risk evaluation

The negative effects of supply chain disruptions are already supported by several studies. Disruptions lead to declining stock prices, negative effects on the organization as a whole and loss of reputation, to name a few. Furthermore it seams, that the economic, political and social developments over the past decade have increased the risk of SC disruptions, since the chains are getting longer and more complex. On the other hand customer expectations for quality, price and response times are increasing.

Integration of the supply chain activities therefore plays a more important role.


Khan, O., & Burnes, B. (2007). Risk and supply chain management: creating a research agenda The International Journal of Logistics Management, 18 (2), 197-216 DOI: 10.1108/09574090710816931

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