Original Research

An exploration of supply chain risk management in the South African third-party logistics industry

Arno Meyer, Wesley Niemann, Gerhard Uys, Déan Beetge
Acta Commercii | Vol 19, No 1 | a612 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v19i1.612 | © 2019 Arno Meyer, Wesley Niemann, Gerhard Uys, Déan Beetge | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 February 2018 | Published: 28 January 2019

About the author(s)

Arno Meyer, Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Wesley Niemann, Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Gerhard Uys, Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Déan Beetge, Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: The management of supply chain risks, disruptions and vulnerabilities has become a significant issue in supply chain management research in recent times.

Research purpose: The purpose of this study was threefold, namely to (1) determine whether there is a clear understanding of supply chain risk management (SCRM) within the South African third-party logistics service providers (3PL) industry, (2) investigate the primary sources that lead to disruptions and vulnerabilities within the supply chains of South African 3PL organisations and (3) establish the current tools or methods used by supply chain practitioners to mitigate supply chain risks within the 3PL industry in South Africa.

Motivation for the study: Supply chain risks are ever increasing and evolving which may have a substantial influence on organisational and supply chain performance.

Research design, approach and method: A generic qualitative research method was used to gather data. A total of 20 purposively selected participants drawn from 20 3PL organisations with headquarters located in Gauteng province participated in semi-structured interviews.

Main findings: The findings indicate a juxtaposition regarding South African 3PL supply chain practitioners’ understanding of SCRM compared to literature, as the participants were found to only identify certain tenets of SCRM with no single participant comprehensively describing SCRM according to the literature. External disruptions, namely customer- and supply-side disruptions within the South African 3PL industry were found to be the primary sources of supply chain disruptions. The findings further indicate that supply chain vulnerabilities emanate predominantly from labour strikes and cyberattacks.

Practical/managerial implications: The implementation of SCRM is constrained by the high costs of implementation, the unwillingness of supply chain partners to buy into SCRM, power imbalances in supply chain relationships and other uncontrollable factors between different supply chain members.

Contribution/value-add: Supply chain practitioners in the 3PL industry should realise the significance of effective SCRM practices, as well as the positive impact proactive SCRM practices could have on their organisations as well as on supply chain partners.


Keywords

supply chain risk management; supply chain vulnerability; supply chain disruption; 3PL industry; qualitative research; South Africa

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