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SCM 4.0: Supply Chain Management in the Digital Age

Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

Submission deadline: November 30, 2017

Guest editors:

Erik Hofmann, Haozhe Chen, Alexander Pflaum, Günter Prockl, and Henrik Sternberg

Background of the special issue:


The term “Industry 4.0” encompasses the promise of a new industrial revolution – one that marries advanced manufacturing techniques with the internet of things (IoT) to create a digital manufacturing enterprise that is not only interconnected, but communicates, analyzes, and uses information to further drive intelligent action back into the physical world. “Industry 4.0, referred to as the ‘fourth industrial revolution’, also known as ‘smart manufacturing’, ‘industrial internet’ or ‘integrated industry’, is currently a much-discussed topic that supposedly has the potential to affect entire industries by transforming the way goods are designed, manufactured, delivered and payed (sic)” (Hofmann and Rüsch, 2017, p. 23). Among many other similar consulting studies, a recent McKinsey & Company report indicates that the basic principle of Industry 4.0 is that by connecting machines, work pieces and systems, businesses are creating intelligent networks along the entire supply chain that can control each other autonomously. This operating model is a new way of running the organization that combines digital technologies and operations capabilities in an integrated, well-sequenced way to achieve step-change improvements in revenue, customer experience, and cost (Alicke et al., 2017).

Undoubtedly, such developments will bring profound impacts and changes to supply chain management (Klötzer and Pflaum, 2017). We refer to supply chain management (SCM) in the new era of Industry 4.0 as “SCM 4.0”. In SCM 4.0, the digital and autonomous linkages within and between companies become a focal point of supply chain management (Stölzle et al., 2017). However, little research has been done to address this imperative topic and little is known about the supply chain impacts of Industry 4.0 (Patterson et al., 2003; Richey et al., 2016). This special issue attempts to explore the abundant research opportunities associated with SCM 4.0 and lay down a foundation for future research on this important topic.

Purpose and prospective themes of the special issue:

This special issue focuses on how new technologies and applications such as the internet of things (IoT), blockchains, cyber-physical systems (CPS), big data analytics or virtualization will reshape the supply chain in the digital age. We encourage researchers to submit forward-thinking research papers to explore different aspects of future digital supply chains. Thus, we prefer exploratory research methods such as design science research, theoretical papers based on simulation studies, case studies of pilot projects, Delphi methods, or nominal group techniques.
The topics to be discussed in this special issue include but are not limited to the following:

  • Internet of things (IoT) and its impact on supply chain management
  • Advanced tracking and tracing technologies and applications in the supply chain context
  • Blockchain technologies and applications in supply chains
  • Impacts of autonomous transportation technologies on supply chains
  • Smart supply chain processes
  • Effects of digitization and automation on efficiency, effectiveness, and flexibility in supply chains
  • Impacts of digitization on supply chain decision making, leadership practices, and management principles
  • Innovative smart services for supply chain management
  • Concepts of data security for supply chain applications
  • Maturity models for digital transformation of supply chain management
  • Innovative supply chain models based on big data analytics
  • Analysis of diffusion and digital transformation in supply chains
  • Effects of product and service virtualization on supply chain management

Submission guidelines:

In preparing manuscripts, authors are asked to follow the IJPDLM author guidelines at http://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/products/journals/author_guidelines.htm?id=IJPDLM.
Prospective authors are also encouraged to submit abstracts of their papers to the guest editors in advance to ensure proper fit. All articles should be submitted in English. We strongly advise that non-native English speakers have their manuscripts proofread prior to submission. In addition, the final version of the manuscripts can be max. 10,000 words in length, including references, figures and tables.

To submit your paper online you must first create an author account at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ijpdlm then follow the on-screen guidance which takes you through the submission process. If you do not have an author account at the International Journal of Physical Logistics & Distribution Management, then you will need to create one, even if you have an account at a different journal. Please see the instructions below explaining how to register.
All papers should be submitted to the “SCM 4.0” special issue option on ScholarOne.

Registration on ScholarOne Manuscripts:

Log on to http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ijpdlm

  • Click on the “Create account” link at the top right of the screen.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions, filling in the requested details before proceeding.
  • Your username will be your email address and you have to input a password.
  • Click “Finish” and your account has been created.

Submitting an article:

Once registered go to: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ijpdlm with your username and password. This will take you through to the Welcome page.

  • Click on the “Author Centre” button.
  • Click on the “Click here to submit a new manuscript” link.
  • Complete all fields and browse to upload your article. Please include your structured abstract in your article file.
  • At the “Please select the type of issue” highlight “Logistics and Customer Service Revisited” in the dropdown list.
  • You must upload a minimum of 2 files: your article file (with no author details), a separate title page (with all author contact details).
  • When all required sections are completed, preview your PDF proof.
  • Submit your manuscript.

You will receive an email indicating that your paper has been received together with its unique identity number.

Questions about expectations, requirements, the appropriateness of a topic, etc., should be directed to the guest editors of the special issue.

Contact information of guest editors

Erik Hofmann
University of St. Gallen, Switzerland
Email: erik.hofmann@unisg.ch

Haozhe Chen
Iowa State University, USA
Email: hzchen@iastate.edu

Alexander Pflaum
University of Bamberg, Germany
Email: alexander.pflaum@scs.fraunhofer.de

Günter Prockl
Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Email: gp.om@cbs.dk

Henrik Sternberg
Lund University, Sweden
Email: henrik.sternberg@plog.lth.se


Alicke, K., Rexhausen, D. and Seyfert, A. (2017) ‘Supply chain 4.0 in consumer goods’. Available at: http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/consumer-packaged-goods/our-insights/supply-chain-4-0-in-consumer-goods.
Hofmann, E. and Rüsch, M. (2017) ‘Industry 4.0 and the current status as well as future prospects on logistics’, Computers in Industry, 89, pp. 23–34.
Klötzer, C. and Pflaum, A. (2017) ‘Toward the development of a maturity model for digitalization within the manufacturing industry’s supply chain’, Conference Proceedings HICSS 2017, pp. 4210–4219.
Patterson, K. A., Grimm, C. M. and Corsi, T. M. (2003) ‘Adopting new technologies for supply chain management’, Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, 39(2), pp. 95–121.
Richey, R. G., Morgan, T. R., Lindsey-Hall, K. and Adams, F. G. (2016) ‘A global exploration of big data in the supply chain’, International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 46(8), pp. 710–739.
Stölzle, W., Hofmann, E. and Oettmeier, K. (2017) Fokusstudie: ‘SCM 4.0: Supply Chain Management und digitale Vernetzung’. Bern.