How is Supply Chain Visibility Affecting SME's Operating in International Supply Chains?
Supply chain visibility is generally seen as a positive attribute for individual supply chain partners and the supply chain as a whole. There is limited research on how increasing levels of supply chain visibility can impact individual organizations, particularly smaller entities (SME's). This paper uses an Australasian SME (Orion) as a case study to investigate how increasing visibility is affecting them and the way they operate within international supply chains. The results indicate that increasing visibility can pose significant challenges and potentially negative consequences for smaller organizations. In addition to the extra resources required and complexity for the SME itself, diverging expectations and a lack of trust between supply partners can negatively impact on supply chain relations and long term supply chain innovation. Within the supply chains Orion operates, increasing visibility does not appear to be leading to improvements in collaboration, risk sharing or shared goals. Viewed through the lens of Michael Porter's five forces model Orion is in a precarious environment, although there remain options for increased visibility to be used to Orion's advantage.