Editorial: Special issue from the NOFOMA conference, Reykjavik 7-8/6 2007
Magazine article, 2007
This is the first of a two-part Special Issue. It contains four out of 104 papers presented at the 19th Nordic Logistics Research Network (NOFOMA) conference, arranged by the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, Iceland, in June 2007. Adjacent to NOFOMA were the Nordlog Doctoral Workshop (Getting published? – making your work publishable) and Educator's Day (Executive programs – management development), with more than 60 participants, both arranged by Reykjavik University.
The review of abstracts and papers submitted to NOFOMA emphasized high quality and significance of contributions. A total of 165 abstracts were submitted and reviewed in January 2007, of which 39 abstracts were rejected after being reviewed by at least three members of the scientific committee. A total of 104 papers were presented at the conference, 72 full papers, and 32 categorized as work-in-progress. The former group of papers competed for the Schenker Best Paper Award in two categories, based on scientific rigor, contribution to the discipline, and practical implications: best paper involving a senior researcher's work, and best paper written by doctoral student(s), respectively. The competitive papers were all peer reviewed through a double blind process. After the first review, eight full papers were downgraded to work-in-progress on the basis of reviewers' recommendations and further scrutiny made by the scientific committee. The 72 papers were either “accepted as is” or “accepted with revision” and second submission encouraged. With the second submission, a report from the authors was mandatory. The report was reviewed by the scientific committee to ensure that the authors had improved the papers as requested by reviewers.
Although, the conference has a Nordic flavor, we have been honoured by presentations and discussion of a growing number of scholars from countries all around the world. The large number of participants and papers presented is a record in the history of NOFOMA. We are proud to present four papers that were in particular acknowledged by peer reviewers and the scientific committee.
The first paper, “Framework for characterizing the design of VMI systems,” received the Schenker Best Paper award in the first category mentioned above. It is a joint effort of researchers from two Nordic Universities, Elvander and Mattsson, Lund University, Sweden, and Sarpola at Helsinki School of Economics, Finland. The paper presents a framework that characterises the design of a vendor managed inventory (VMI) system that can be used as a tool to profile VMI system designs, but also compare different configurations. An important feature of the research design is that the empirical evidence is based on nine dyadic relationships; perceptions of both suppliers and customers in a particular VMI setting are used as a source of evidence. By this way, concepts such as VMI are given a distinct inter-organisational meaning.
Johansson and Hellström, both at Lund University, Sweden, received the best paper award for doctoral students for their paper, “The effect of asset visibility on managing returnable transport items.” Increased asset visibility of these high-value items, that are vulnerable to theft and critical for production and distribution may result in significant cost saving for asset owners. A very interesting combination of case studies with simulations leads the authors to conclude that in order to release the benefits of this approach, visibility must be followed by management actions.
In the third paper, Jonsson and Kjellsdotter, both at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, and Rudberg, Linköping University, Sweden, offer a planning approach with the supply chain – “a holistic construct” – as level of analysis: “Applying advanced planning systems for supply chain planning: three case studies.” Supported by comparative case study evidence, the authors explore the use of advanced planning systems at both tactical and strategic levels of supply chain problems. This application has influence on cost efficiency, capacity utilisation and service delivery, and supports furthermore, “... integration between different functions and commitment to a common plan throughout the supply chain.”
The fourth paper in this Special Issue raises a critical but relevant question: “Supply chain integration improves performance – the emperor's new suit?” Here, Fabbe-Costes, University of the Mediterranean Aix-Marseille II, France, and Jahre, Norwegian School of Management, Norway, conduct a comprehensive literature review, in particular of empirical studies. They observe that the relationship between integration and performance may not be as self-evident in practice as theory may suggest. Implications allow us to look ahead, but also urge scholars to make more use of prior research when studying this subject so as to improve measures of supply chain integration and performance.