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The role of digital transformation to empower Supply Chain Finance: Current Research Status and Future Research Directions


Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Operations & Production Management

The role of digital transformation to empower Supply Chain Finance: Current Research Status and Future Research Directions
Call for Papers for a Special Issue in the
International Journal of Operations and Production
Management

Guest Editors

Prof Fu (Jeff) Jia, University of York, UK
Prof Federico Caniato, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
Dr Lujie Chen, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China
Dr Antonella Moretto, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
Prof Yu Xiong, Northumbria University, UK

Background

Over decades of research on operations and supply chain management, the integration of physical and information flows along the supply chain has received considerable attention among academics and industries. However, only limited attention has been bestowed on the financial flow and its integration with other types of flow along the supply chain. In the last few years, the concept of supply chain finance (SCF) has been put forward as an effective way of managing the financial flow and mitigating financial and operational risks in the supply chain (Gelsomino et al., 2016; Hofmann & Johnson, 2016; Wuttke et al., 2013). Nevertheless, SCF remains an understudied topic in the field of operations and supply chain management (Xu et al., 2018; Bals, 2019; Jia et al., 2019 in press).
The economic depression of 2008 has hampered banks’ willingness in granting new loans to borrowers and caused substantial increases in the cost of corporate borrowing (Ivashina & Scharfstein, 2010), thus generating a series of problems and leading firms to liquidity issues (Cornett et al., 2011). Consequently, to solve the liquidity issues, the buyers with substantial bargaining power in the supply chain tend to demand extended trade credits from their suppliers (Coulibaly et al., 2013). However, offering more trade credit further exhausts the suppliers’ liquidity, especially of small and medium enterprise (SME) suppliers, which usually lack access to financial resources owing to their limited business scale and credit rating (Hasan & Cheung, 2018). Therefore, SME suppliers’ cash-constrained status is exacerbated, posing obstacles to their daily operation (Lekkakos & Serrano, 2016) and to the efficiency of the supply chain as a whole (Wuttke et al., 2013). With the recognition that financial flow in the supply chain operation is of paramount importance, and that the control of information and physical flow cannot further improve supply chain management (Ali et al., 2018), academics and enterprises have a growing interest in SCF concepts and practices.
SCF refers to a broad range of solutions that facilitate the integration of financial flow with product and information flow along the supply chain to ensure cash-flow optimisation, mitigate financial and operational issues, and create value for all SCF participants (Pfohl & Gomm, 2009; Wuttke et al., 2013; Gelsomino et al., 2016; Caniato et al., 2016). The current research themes on SCF in the field of operations and production management (O&PM) are mainly centred around four major themes:

  •     Buyer-led finance (e.g., reverse factoring). This stream mainly considers the reverse factoring antecedents and barriers (Liebl et al., 2016), factors that influence results of reverse factoring (Dello Iacono et al., 2015), benefits of reverse factoring to supply chain performance (Lekkakos & Serrano, 2016; Tunca & Zhu, 2017), and potential integration of reverse factoring with alternative solutions such as inventory financing or dynamic discounting (Gelsomino et al., 2019). This stream extended also in considering the supplier perspective in the adoption of reverse factoring solutions (Martin & Hofmann, 2019).
  •     Supplier-led financing (e.g., trade credit). This research category investigates aspects such as optimal trade credit terms (Kouvelis & Zhao, 2012; Li et al., 2019), impacts of trade credit on operational decisions (Robb & Silver, 2006) and overall benefits of trade credit to the supply chain (Devalkar & Krishnan, 2018;  Luo & Zhang, 2012).
  •     SCF risk management. Research within this aspect emphasises risk assessment against information asymmetry and moral hazards (Pfohl & Gomm, 2009) and supplier assessment to determine supplier default risk (Moretto et al., 2019; Zhu et al., 2019).
  •     SCF-related stakeholders. This category addresses the role of different organizational functions within a firm in the implementation of SCF solutions (Caniato et al., 2016), the role of different supply chain actors participating in SCF (Silvestro & Lustrato, 2014) and the role of SCF on network performance (Carnovale et al., 2019).

Although the research on SCF in the field of O&SCM has blossomed in recent years, compared with other topics in operations management, SCF literature is still under-researched, and shows a limited theoretical development (Caniato et al., 2019). There are requirements and also valuable opportunities to deepen the research on SCF from the perspective of O&SCM. Particularly, the implementation of SCF solutions can benefit of the digital transformation journey pursued by companies and in this view SCF research could provide a contribution. Artificial intelligence, blockchain, smart contracts, electronic invoicing, internet of things, big data analytics are just some possible technological trends that could contribute to boost the adoption of SCF solutions, mitigating the related risk and exploiting potential benefits (Caniato et al., 2019). Innovative technologies might enable an extension of SCF solutions beyond a dyadic view, exploiting multi-tier applications of existing solutions or involving new actors (e.g., fintech players, logistics service providers, insurance companies, etc.). In addition, there is great potential in extending the research scope beyond a focus on reverse factoring and developing theoretical models considering implications for O&SCM of innovative solutions such as dynamic discounting, invoice auction, inventory financing, distribution finance, purchase order finance, and several others. Finally, considering the coordination functions of SCF in the supply chain, further research is needed to investigate the potential connections between SCF and operations management topics and data. Through the exploitation of information technology, the combination of financial and operational performance of a company, measured by different actors in the supply chain, could allow the development of innovative models to improve the prediction of the probability of default of each actor of the supply chain and thus supporting specific risk mitigation strategy.
The investigation of these innovative research topics should be strengthened by applying proper operations and supply chain management theories to the SCF research (e.g., Jia et al., 2019 in press). Empirical evidence collected from in-depth case studies, large scale surveys or action research, complemented by secondary data, is required in the SCF research, as this may offer significant insights in testing existing models and hypotheses in the conceptual research of SCF.

Potential research topics

This Special Issue aims at stimulating research interest towards SCF, focusing on the innovative directions of implementation of SCF enabled by the digital transformation, contributing to the development of SCF in the field of O&SCM. The submitted papers must clarify the relevance of the SCF research perspective to operations management. The potential research topics in SCF in O&SCM include, but are not limited to:

  •     the role of digital technologies (e.g., artificial intelligence, blockchain, smart contracts, internet of things, big data analytics, etc) in supporting, enabling, fostering or reshaping the SCF practice
  •     the technological development of implementation and assessment models for innovative SCF solutions (e.g., dynamic discounting, invoice auction, inventory financing, distribution finance, purchase order finance, etc.)
  •    the role of emerging technologies for the combination of different SCF solutions beyond reverse factoring
  •     the validity of reverse factoring and other SCF solutions under different supply chain contracts
  •     the organizational implications of the adoption of SCF solutions
  •     the adoption of SCF in multi-tier supply chains
  •     the role of SCF in managing the operational and financial risks and the assessment of probability of default along the global supply chain
  •     the role of innovative actors (e.g., third-party logistic service providers, insurance companies, fintech companies, etc) in integrating material flow, information flow and financial flow
  •     investigation of SCF performance evaluation models
  •     investigation of the contribution of SCF solutions beyond financial ones (e.g., sustainability)
  •     new insights from SCF research with the application of proper theories

Types of papers to be published

In this Special Issue of the International Journal of Operations and Production Management, we expect papers with both a strong theoretical basis and a robust empirical evidence, that make contributions to either SCF theory development or SCF practice implementation. We particularly welcome papers that aim to provide innovative perspectives and a broad view of SCF and its relationships with other operations and supply chain management areas. Cross-disciplinary papers are also expected, but the contribution to the field of O&PM must be clarified.
The full range of empirically based research methodologies in the O&SCM context—including (but not limited to) surveys, case studies, action research and secondary data analysis (e.g., event study and panel data analysis)—are welcome. Papers adopting mixed methodology are also welcome. However, pure modelling and simulation papers or literature reviews are beyond our consideration.

Submission and review process

The submission process and papers must adhere to the normal author guidelines of the International Journal of Operations and Production Management, which can be found at http://emeraldgrouppublishing.com/products/journals/author_guidelines.htm?id=ijopm.
Submission must be made via Manuscript Central with clear selection indicating that the submission is for this Special Issue.
Papers submitted to the Special Issue will be subjected to the normal thorough double-blind review process.


The following deadlines apply to this Special Issue:

  •     manuscript to be submitted to the guest editors by: April 30th, 2020
  •     first review outcome by: July 31st, 2020
  •     first revised manuscript to be submitted to the guest editors by: October 30th, 2020
  •     final decision outcome by: February 28th, 2021
  •     expected publication date of this Special Issue: April 30th, 2021

 

Special Issue Editorial Team

Professor Fu (Jeff) Jia, University of York, UK is Chair Professor of Supply Chain Management at the York Management School, University of York. His research interests include supply relationship management in a cross-cultural context, global sourcing, supply chain learning and innovation, and sustainable supply management. Prof Jia is currently leading a project team investigating the adoption of new technologies in SCF. Prof Jia has an extensive track record of publications in supply chain management and logistics journals such as Journal of Operations Management, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, International Journal of Production Economics, Journal of Business Logistics, International Business Review, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Journal of Cleaner Production, Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management and International Journal of Logistics Management. Prof Jia is Associate Editor and a Guest Editor of (The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Technologies’ Disruption on Operations and Supply Chain Management) of International Journal of Operations and Production Management and Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, sits on the editorial review board of Industrial Marketing Management and serves as a regular reviewer for many leading OM/SCM and general management journals.


Professor Federico Caniato, Politecnico di Milano, Italy is Full Professor of Supply Chain and Purchasing Management at the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano. His research interests are in the field of supply chain and purchasing management; in the last years he has focused on SCF, supply chain sustainability and supply chain resilience. He is Director of the Supply Chain Finance Observatory, the leading research initiative in Italy on the topic, and he serves as board member of the International Supply Chain Finance Community and the European Operations Management Association (EurOMA). He has authored many international publications in leading operations and supply chain management journals, including International Journal of Operations and Production Management, International Journal of Production Economics, Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, Industrial Marketing Management and Journal of Cleaner Production. He is Associate Editor of Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management and has been Guest Editor of two special issues, one of which is focused on SCF (JPSM), and he serves as a regular reviewer for many OM journals.


Dr Lujie Chen, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China is Associate Professor of Management at Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University. Her research includes sustainable supply chain management, SCF and CSR reports investigations, as well as other related empirical operations management research. She is one of the first authors who carry out SCF research using empirical methods. Her publications have appeared in leading international journals such as Harvard Business Review, International Journal of Production Economics, International Journal of Production Research, Business and Society, Journal of Cleaner Production and Journal of Purchasing and Supply Chain Management among others. She serves as Lead Guest Editor for the Supply Chain Finance Special Issue of International Journal of Production Economics in 2018. She has also provided SCF training and consulting services for international and Chinese corporations.


Dr Antonella Moretto
, Politecnico di Milano, Italy is Assistant Professor in Management Engineering at the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano. Her research focuses on strategic purchasing and supply chain management, with a main focus on SCF and sustainability topics. Regarding this topic, she is involved in various research and practitioner projects, and is part of the International Supply Chain Finance Community. Dr Moretto has published in leading operations management and international business journals such as International Journal of Production Economics, International Journal of Production Research, Journal of Cleaner Production, Production Planning and Control and Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management. She has served as reviewer of many leading international journals (including International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, International Journal of Production Economics and Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management).


Professor Yu Xiong, Northumbria University, UK is Chair of Technology and Operations Management at Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University. He is Co-Director of North East Innovation Observatory, run by North East Local Economic Partnership, to advise the region’s innovation development. He has published widely in high-impact journals such as European Journal of Operational Research, Journal of the Operation Research Society, International Journal of Production Research, International Journal of Production Economics and Production Planning and Control. His research has been funded by, for example, Innovation UK, British Academy, British Council, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult and Satellite Application Catapult. He has been Guest Editor to several journals including Technovation and International Journal of Technology Management. He has a first degree in Computer Science, and PhD in Computing Engineering. Prof Xiong is currently Chief Scientist of China Block Chain Research Centre at Southwest University of Finance and Economics of China, and Chief Strategic Advisor to iFlytek, the 6th most clever company in the world according to MIT Technology Review 2017. Prof Xiong is a Fellow of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, University of Cambridge and Visiting Professor at the Digital Creativity Lab of Computer Science Department, University of York, UK.

References

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Bals, C. (2019). Toward a supply chain finance (SCF) ecosystem–Proposing a framework and agenda for future research. Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, 25(2), 105-117.


Caniato, F., Gelsomino, L. M., Perego, A., & Ronchi, S. (2016). Does finance solve the supply chain financing problem?. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 21(5), 534-549.


Caniato, F., Henke, M., & Zsidisin, G. A. (2019). Supply Chain Finance: Historical Foundations, Current Research, Future Developments. Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management. 25(2), pp. 99-104.


Carnovale, S., Rogers, D. S., & Yeniyurt, S., 2019. Broadening the perspective of supply chain finance: The performance impacts of network power and cohesion. Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, 25(2), pp. 134-145.


Cornett, M.M., McNutt, J.J., Strahan, P.E. and Tehranian, H., 2011. Liquidity risk management and credit supply in the financial crisis. Journal of Financial Economics, 101(2), pp.297-312.


Coulibaly, B., Sapriza, H. and Zlate, A., 2013. Financial frictions, trade credit, and the 2008–09 global financial crisis. International Review of Economics & Finance, 26, pp.25-38.


Dello Iacono, U., Reindorp, M. and Dellaert, N., 2015. Market adoption of reverse factoring. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 45(3), pp.286-308.


Devalkar, S.K. and Krishnan, H., 2018. The impact of working capital financing costs on the efficiency of trade credit. Production and Operations Management.


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