The impact of supply chain performance measurement systems on dynamic behaviour in supply chains

  • James Stone

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The amplification of demand variation up a supply chain widely termed ‘the Bullwhip Effect’ is disruptive, costly and something that supply chain management generally seeks to minimise. Originally attributed to poor system design; deficiencies in policies, organisation structure and delays in material and information flow all lead to sub-optimal reorder point calculation. It has since been attributed to exogenous random factors such as: uncertainties in demand, supply and distribution lead time but these causes are not exclusive as academic and operational studies since have shown that orders and/or inventories can exhibit significant variability even if customer demand and lead time are deterministic. This increase in the range of possible causes of dynamic behaviour indicates that our understanding of the phenomenon is far from complete.
One possible, yet previously unexplored, factor that may influence dynamic behaviour in supply chains is the application and operation of supply chain performance measures. Organisations monitoring and responding to their adopted key performance metrics will make operational changes and this action may influence the level of dynamics within the supply chain, possibly degrading the performance of the very system they were intended to measure.
In order to explore this a plausible abstraction of the operational responses to the Supply Chain Council’s SCOR® (Supply Chain Operations Reference) model was incorporated into a classic Beer Game distribution representation, using the dynamic discrete event simulation software Simul8. During the simulation the five SCOR Supply Chain Performance Attributes: Reliability, Responsiveness, Flexibility, Cost and Utilisation were continuously monitored and compared to established targets.
Operational adjustments to the; reorder point, transportation modes and production capacity (where appropriate) for three independent supply chain roles were made and the degree of dynamic behaviour in the Supply Chain measured, using the ratio of the standard deviation of upstream demand relative to the standard deviation of the downstream demand.
Factors employed to build the detailed model include: variable retail demand, order transmission, transportation delays, production delays, capacity constraints demand multipliers and demand averaging periods. Five dimensions of supply chain performance were monitored independently in three autonomous supply chain roles and operational settings adjusted accordingly.
Uniqueness of this research stems from the application of the five SCOR performance attributes with modelled operational responses in a dynamic discrete event simulation model. This project makes its primary contribution to knowledge by measuring the impact, on supply chain dynamics, of applying a representative performance measurement system.
Date of Award17 Jan 2012
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorDouglas M Love (Supervisor) & Ming K Lim (Supervisor)


  • bullwhip
  • demand amplification
  • supply chain performance measurement
  • dynamic discrete event simulation
  • SCOR

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