Frameworks and Policy Applications in Freight and Passenger Transport
Edited by Joseph S. Szyliowicz, Luca Zamparini, Genserik L.L. Reniers and Dawna L. Rhoades
Chapter 4: Assessing vulnerability in multimodal supply chains
Global supply chains are comprised of a multitude of companies acting as part of a long and complex, multimodal logistics system that is increasingly vulnerable to various disturbances (Wagner and Neshat, 2010; Vilko, 2012). The length and complexity of supply chains are derived from the many parallel physical and informational flows that are in place to ensure that products are delivered in the right quantities, to the right place, in a cost-effective manner (Jüttner, 2005). The increased length and complexity of multimodal transportation chains is attributable to multiple sources and this complexity, in turn, drives supply chain vulnerability (Mason-Jones, 1998; Harland et al., 2003; Brindley, 2004; Hult, 2004; Craighead et al., 2007; Waters, 2007; Narasimhan and Talluri, 2009; Thun and Hoenig, 2011). Transport logistics have become increasingly significant in an era of international trade (Beresford et al., 2011). Although logistics were previously seen as purely operational, they are now regarded as a strategic issue for many organizations (Gattorna, 1998; Frankel et al., 2008). In order to be competitive, companies are leaning towards complex logistics networks that act more as an extension of their core competitive advantage. As such, supply chains are becoming more agile, with the purpose of getting products to customers more quickly and at a minimum total cost (Gunasekaran et al., 2008). Thus, the level of logistics service provision can determine how competitive an organization is and whether it will retain its customers or attract new ones (Oflac et al., 2012).
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