Improving supply chain performance through improved visibility

Paul A. Bartlett, Denyse M. Julian, Timothy Baines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – This paper seeks to investigate the links between different types of visibility, joint initiatives and business performance using the concepts of transparency as a measure of visibility in supply chains. The prognosis that increased supply chain visibility can be achieved through suppliers and customers working on joint initiative(s), the deployment of which leads to collaborative successes, is tested.

Design/methodology/approach – Lamming et al.'s transparency concept was used as a basis for the development of a framework for assessing the visibility gaps between the focal company – Rolls-Royce (RR) – and their suppliers. The framework was applied to a particular supplier to identify visibility gaps; subsequently a joint initiative was launched across the supply chain and the benefits measured and assessed. A case study approach was followed due to the contemporary nature of the work undertaken.

Findings – The supply chain's performance vis-à-vis schedule adherence was significantly improved as a result of the initiative launched. Additionally, there were improvements in visibility across capacity planning, material ordering and inventory management.

Practical implications – The study demonstrated the value of using the developed transparency framework in a structured manner to generate improvements in the supply chain. RR will look to extend its use across other supply chains; the approach could also be extended out to other sectors.

Originality/value – The development and application of the transparency frameworks in the aerospace sector are unique and have shown the value of the approach. The work has demonstrated tangibly that the exchange of high-quality information as part of an improvement initiative does lead to significant improvements in the overall performance of the supply chain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-313
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Logistics Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

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  • automotive industry
  • joint ventures
  • supply chain management


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