Vol. 9 No. 1 (2021): Business & Management Studies: An International Journal

Digital transformation in supply chains: Current applications, contributions and challenges

Özden Özkanlısoy
Res. Asst., Istanbul Aydın University
Erkut Akkartal
Prof. Dr., Yeditepe University

Published 2021-03-25


  • Supply Chain, Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0
  • Tedarik Zinciri, Dijital Dönüşüm, Endüstri 4.0

How to Cite

Özkanlısoy, Özden, & Akkartal, E. (2021). Digital transformation in supply chains: Current applications, contributions and challenges. Business & Management Studies: An International Journal, 9(1), 32-55. https://doi.org/10.15295/bmij.v9i1.1673


Digital transformation in supply chain management enables businesses to achieve competitive advantage by using their resources more efficiently, to make every stage of their supply chain smarter, more transparent and more efficient, to be closer to individual customer needs, to provide a significant increase in decision-making quality, and to become increasingly flexible in the near future. and provides the advantages of having new business models that will be efficient.
Unfortunately, today digital transformation is at the stage of digitization rather than digital transformation due to the high initial investment cost and concerns about the success of applications. In this study, successful digital transformation applications implemented in supply chain management to guide companies and supply chains that have not yet entered the digital transformation process, the advantages provided by these applications and the difficulties of the digital transformation process are discussed.
In the study, using qualitative data analysis, open-ended interview questions were applied to a total of 28 companies, and the answers were separated on the basis of sectors and applications and new business models were grouped according to sectors. The advantages of the companies and their supply chains with digital transformation and the difficulties faced in the transformation process are discussed jointly to cover all sectors. The study ends with an evaluation and brief summary of the findings.


Download data is not yet available.


  1. Alexopoulos, K., Makrıs, S., Xanthakıs, V., Sıpsas, K. and Chryssolourıs, G. (2016). A concept for context-aware computing in manufacturing: The white goods case. International Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing, 29(8), 839-849.
  2. Albukhitan, S. (2020). Developing Digital Transformation Strategy for Manufacturing. Procedia Computer Science, 170, 664–671. doi: 10.1016/j.procs.2020.03.173
  3. Ashurst, C., Doherty, N. F. and Peppard, J. (2008). Improving the impact of I.T. development projects: the benefits realisation capability model. European Journal of Information Systems, 17(4), 352-370.
  4. Atzori, L., Iera, A. and Morabito, G. (2017). Understanding The Internet Of Things: Definition, Potentials, And Societal Role Of A Fast Evolving Paradigm. Ad Hoc Networks, 56, 122-140.
  5. Benlian, A. and Hess, T. (2011). Comparing the relative importance of evaluation criteria in proprietary and open-source enterprise application software selection – a conjoint study of ERP and Office systems. Information Systems Journal, iVol. 21, 503 – 525, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2575.2010.00357.x
  6. Billington, P. J., McClain, J. O. and Thomas, L. J. (1983). Mathematical Programming Approaches to Capacity-Constrained MRP Systems: Review, Formulation and Problem Reduction. Management Science, 29(10), 1126–1141. doi:10.1287/mnsc.29.10.1126
  7. Bradley, J. M. and Atkins, E. M. (2015). Optimisation and control of cyber-physical vehicle systems. Sensors, 15(9), 23020-23049.
  8. Brennen, J. S. and Kreiss, D. (2016). Digitalisation. The international encyclopedia of communication theory and philosophy, 1-11.
  9. Chen, Y., Miao, W. M., Lin, Z. Q. and Chen, G. L. (2008). Adjusting MRP for dynamic differentiation of identical items for process customisation. Production Planning and Control, 19(6), 616-626.
  10. Chong, S., Pan, G.T., Chin, J., Show, P.L., Yang, T.C.K. and Huang, C. M. (2018). Integration of 3D Printing and Industry 4.0 into Engineering Teaching. Sustainability. 10, 1-13.
  11. Chopra, S. and Meindl, P. (2007). Supply Chain Management: Strategy, Planning, and Operation. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, p. 57.
  12. Cichosz, M., Wallenburg, C. M. and Knemeyer, A. M. (2020). Digital transformation at logistics service providers: barriers, success factors and leading practices. The International Journal of Logistics Management, 31(2), 209-238.
  13. Centobelli, P., Cerchione, R. and Ertz, M. (2020). Agile supply chain management: where did it come from and where will it go in the era of digital transformation? Industrial Marketing Management, 90, 324-345.
  14. Coleman, D. C. (1956). Industrial growth and industrial revolutions. Economica, 23 (89), pp. 1-22.
  15. Curtis, S. (2019). Digital transformation—the silver bullet to public service improvement? Public Money & Manageurtisment, 39(5), 322-324.
  16. Denzin, N. K. (1994). Romancing the text: The qualitative researcher-writer-as-bricoleur. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, 122, 15-30.
  17. DePuy, G. W., Usher, J. S., Walker, R. L. and Taylor, G. D. (2007). Production planning for remanufactured products. Production Planning & Control, 18(7), 573–583. doi:10.1080/09537280701542210
  18. Drath, R. and Horch, A. (2014). Industrie 4.0: Hit or hype?. IEEE industrial electronics magazine, 8(2), 56-58.
  19. Edirisuriya, A., Weerabahu, S. and Wickramarachchi, R. (2018). Applicability of lean and green concepts in Logistics 4.0: a systematic review of literature. In 2018 International Conference on Production and Operations Management Society (POMS) (pp. 1-8). IEEE.
  20. Ellram, L. M. and Cooper, M. C. (1990). Supply chain management, partnership, and the shipper-third party relationship. The International Journal of Logistics Management, 1(2), 1-10.
  21. Gartner, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2019-10-21-gartner-identifies-the-top-10-strategic-technology-trends-for-2020 Accessed date 14.09.2020.
  22. Goodwin, T. (2019). Digital Darwinism: Survival of the Fittest in the Age of Business Disruption. London: Kogan Page Publishers. pp.124-125.
  23. Greengard, S. (2017). Internet of Things (Nesnelerin İnterneti), Çev: Müge Çavdar, Optimist Yayınları: İstanbul. pp.30-31.
  24. Geisberger, E. and Broy, M. (Eds.). (2012). agendaCPS: Integrierte Forschungsagenda Cyber-Physical Systems. Vol: 1. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. p.314.
  25. Georgakopoulos, D., Jayaraman, P. P., Fazia, M., Villari, M. and Ranjan, R. (2016). Internet of Things and Edge Cloud Computing Roadmap for Manufacturing. IEEE Cloud Computing, 3(4), 66-73.
  26. Haddara, M. (2014). ERP selection: the SMART way. Procedia Technology, 16, 394-403. doi:10.1016/j.protcy.2014.10.105.
  27. Hammer, M. and Stanton, S. A. (1995). The reengineering revolution: A handbook. New York: HarperBusiness. p.28.
  28. Hammer, M. (2001). The superefficient company. Harvard business review, 79(8), 82-93.
  29. Hartley, J. L. and Sawaya, W. J. (2019). Tortoise, not the hare: Digital transformation of supply chain business processes. Business Horizons, 62(6), 707-715.
  30. Hanley, T., Daecher, A., Cotteleer, M. and Sniderman, B. (2018). The industry 4.0 paradox. Deloitte Insights, Retrieved from https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/focus/industry-4-0/challenges-on-pathto-digital-transformation/summary.html Accessed date 06.02.2019
  31. Horenberg, D. (2017). Applications within Logistics 4.0 A research conducted on the visions of 3PL service providers. 9th IBA Bachelor Thesis Conference, 5 July, University of Twente, Enschede. p.59.
  32. Hofmann, E. and Rüsch, M. (2017). Industry 4.0 and the current status as well as future prospects on logistics. Computers in Industry, 89, 23–34.
  33. Ivanov, D., Dolgui, A., Sokolov, B., Werner, F. and Ivanova, M. (2016). A dynamic model and an algorithm for short-term supply chain scheduling in the smart factory industry 4.0. International Journal of Production Research ,54(2): 386-402.
  34. İlyasoğlu, E., Barbarosoğlu, G., Tanyaş, M. and Duruiz L. (1994). MRP II Üretim Kaynak Planlaması Seminer Notları. İstanbul: Trio Çözüm Evi, p. 28.
  35. Johannson, L. (1994). How can a TQEM approach add value to your supply chain?. Environmental Quality Management, 3(4), 521-530.
  36. Kupiainen, J. (2006). Translocalisation over the Net: digitalisation, information technology and local cultures in Melanesia. E-learning and Digital Media, Vol3. p.280.
  37. Jänicke, M. and Jacob, K. (2009). A Third Industrial Revolution? Solutions to the crisis of resource-intensive growth. Solutions to the Crisis of Resource-Intensive Growth.
  38. Junge, A. L. and Straube, F. (2020). Sustainable supply chains–digital transformation technologies' impact on the social and environmental dimension. Procedia Manufacturing, 43, 736-742.
  39. Keil, M. and Tiwana, A. (2006). Relative importance of evalu- ation criteria for enterprise systems: a conjoint study. Information Systems Journal, 16, 237–262.
  40. Kehoe, D. and Boughton, N. (2001). Internet based supply chain management: A classification of approaches to manufacturing planning and control. Internatioal Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol 21, No.4, 516-524.
  41. Khan, S. (2016). Leadership in the digital age – A study on the effects of digitalisation on top management leadership. (Master Thesis). Stockholm Business School. p.6.
  42. Kersten W., Schröder M. and Indorf M. (2017). Potenziale der Digitalisierung für das Supply Chain Risikomanagement: Eine empirische Analyse. In: Seiter M., Grünert L., Berlin S. (eds) Betriebswirtschaftliche Aspekte von Industrie 4.0. ZfbF-Sonderheft, vol 71/17. Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-18488-9_3, pp. 47–74.
  43. Koch, C. (2005). The ABC of ERP, Retrieved from http://www.cio.com/research/erp/edit/erpbasics.html Accessed date 15.07.2005.
  44. Koh, S. C. L., Saad, S. M. and Jones, M. H. (2002). Uncertainty under MRP-planned manufacture: Review and categorisation. International Journal of Production Research, 40(10), 2399–2421. doi:10.1080/00207540210136487
  45. Kotarba, M. (2017). Measuring digitalisation–key metrics. Foundations of Management, 9(1), 123-138.
  46. Lee, H.L. and Billington, C. (1992), Managing supply chain inventory: pitfalls and opportunities. Sloan eManagement Review, Vol.33 No.3, 65-73.
  47. Lee, C. K. M., Lv, Y., Ng, K. K. H., Ho, W. and Choy, K. L. (2018). Design and application of internet of things-based warehouse management system for smart logistics. International Journal of Production Research, 56(8), 2753–2768.
  48. Lee J,, Kao H. and Yang S. (2014). Service Innovation and Smart Analytics for Industry 4.0 and Big Data Environment. Procedia CIRP, 16, 3- 8.
  49. Liboni, L. B., Cezarino, L. O., Jabbour, C. J. C., Oliveira, B. G. and Stefanelli, N. O. (2019). Smart industry and the pathways to HRM 4.0: implications for SCM. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 24(1), 124- 146.
  50. Li, F. (2020). The digital transformation of business models in the creative industries: A holistic framework and emerging trends. Technovation, 92, 102012, 1-10.
  51. McLeod, J. (2011). Qualitative research in counselling and psychotherapy. London: Sage, pp.279.
  52. Mell, P. and Grance, T. (2011). Retrieved from A Nist Definition of Cloud Computing [WWW document] http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-145/SP800-145.pdf Accessed date 28.04.2015.
  53. Menon, S., Shah, S. and Courtoubis, A. (2019). An Overview of Smart Manufacturing for Competitive and Digital Global Supply Chains. In 2018 IEEE International Conference on Technology Management, Operations and Decisions (ICTMOD) (pp. 178-183). IEEE.
  54. Metz, P. J. (1998). Demystifying supply chain management. Supply Chaın Management Review, V. 1, No. 4, 46-55.
  55. Müller, J. M. and Voigt, K. I. (2018). The Impact of Industry 4.0 on Supply Chains in Engineer-to-Order Industries – An Exploratory Case Study. IFAC-PapersOnLine, 51(11), 122–127.
  56. Olhager, J. and Selldin, E. (2004). Supply Chain Management Survey of Swedish Manufacturing Firms. International Journal of Production Economics, Vol. 89, 2004, p. 353.
  57. Orlicky, J. A. (1975). Material Requirements Planning. New York: McGraw-Hill Company: New York, 33-98.
  58. Pagano, A. M. and Liotine, M. (2020). Technology in Supply Chain Management and Logistics: Current Practice and Future Applications. United States: Elsevier. p.9.
  59. Plenert, G. (1999). Focusing material requirements planning (MRP) towards performance. European Journal of Operational Research, 119(1), 91–99. doi: 10.1016/S0377-2217(98)00339-7
  60. Polites, G. L. and Karahanna, E. (2012). Shackled to the status quo: The inhibiting effects of incumbent system habit, switching costs, and inertia on new system acceptance. MIS quarterly, 36(1), 21-42.
  61. Qu, S.Q. and Dumay, J. (2011). The qualitative research interview. Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 238-264. https://doi.org/10.1108/11766091111162070
  62. Redclift M., (2005). Sustainable development (1987–2005): An oxymoron comes of age. Sustainable development, 13 (4), pp. 212-227.
  63. Rifkin J. (2015). Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism. New York: St. Martin׳s Griffin Publisher.
  64. Roblek, V., Meško, M. and Krapež, A. (2016). A complex view of industry 4.0. Sage Open, 6(2), 2158244016653987.
  65. Singh, A., Klarner, P. and Hess, T. (2020). How do chief digital officers pursue digital transformation activities? The role of organisation design parameters. Long Range Planning, 53(3), 101890. pp.1-12.
  66. Smartindustry. (2017). Retrieved from Smart Industry Dutch Industry Fit for The Future. http://smartindustry.nl/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/opmaaksmart-industry.pdf. Accessed date 02.10.2018.
  67. Supulniece, I., Polaka, I., Berzisa, S., Meiers, E., Ozolins, E. and Grabis, J. (2015). Decomposition of Enterprise Application: A Systematic Literature Review and Research Outlook. Information Technology and Management Science, 18(1), 30-36. doi:10.1515/itms-2015-0005
  68. Stolterman, E. and Fors, A. C. (2004). Information technology and the good life. In Information systems research (pp.687-689). Boston: Springer, MA.
  69. Sawyer, S. (2001). Information systems development: a market-oriented perspective. Communications of the ACM, 44, 97–102.
  70. Schneider, S., Wollersheim, J., Krcmar, H. and Sunyaev, A. (2018). How do requirements evolve over time? A case study investigating the role of context and experiences in the evolution of enterprise software requirements. Journal of Information Technology, 33(2), 151-170.doi: 10.1057/s41265-016-0001-y
  71. Teng, S. Y., Li, X. J., Zhao, Z., Qin, P. L. and Lu, Y. Y. (2018). Countermeasure Analysis on Internet Logistics. In E3S Web of Conferences (Vol. 38, p. 01036). EDP Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1051/e3sconf/20183801036
  72. Thames, L. and Schaefer, D. (2016). Software-defined cloud manufacturing for industry 4.0. Procedia cirp, 52, 12-17.
  73. Tiersky, H. (2017). The 5 key drivers of digital transformation today. Retrieved from https://www.cio.com/article/3198121/it-industry/whats-now-indigitaltransformation.html Accessed date 9.11.2019.
  74. Titze, C. and Barger, R. (2015). Evolving concepts in supply chain visibility. The Gartner Group, ID G, 270855. Retrieved from http://hughfinerty.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Gartner-Evolving-Concepts-in-Supply-Chain-Visibility.pdf Accessed date 30.11.2016.
  75. Themistocleous, M., Irani, Z. and Love, P. E. (2004). Evaluating the integration of supply chain information systems: A case study. European Journal of Operational Research, 159(2), 393-405. pp. 395–396
  76. Usländer, T. (2016). Agile service-oriented analysis and design of industrial internet applications. Procedia CIRP, 57, 219-223.
  77. Vasin, S., Gamidullaeva, L., Shkarupeta, E., Palatkin, I. and Vasina, T. (2018). Emerging trends and opportunities for industry 4.0 development in Russia. European Research Studies Journal, 21(3), 63–76.
  78. Verville, J. and Halingten, A. (2003). A six-stage model of the buying process for ERP software. Industrial Marketing Management,32(7), 585-594. doi:10.1016/s0019-8501(03)00007-5
  79. Ward, M., Halliday, S., Uflewska, O. and Wong, T.C. (2016). Three dimensions of maturity required to achieve future state, technology-enabled manufacturing supply chains, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture, 232, 605–620.
  80. Westerman, G., Calméjane, C., Bonnet, D., Ferraris, P. and McAfee, A. (2011). Digital Transformation: A roadmap for billion-dollar organisations. MIT Center for Digital Business and Capgemini Consulting, 1, 1-68.
  81. Witkowski K. (2017). Internet of Things, Big Data, Industry 4.0–Innovative Solutions in Logistics and Supply Chains Management. Procedia Engineering, Vol: 182, 7th International Conference on Engineering, Project, and Production Management, pp.763-769.
  82. Wu, D., Greer, M. J., Rosen, D. W. and Schaefer, D. (2013). Cloud manufacturing: Strategic vision and state-of-the-art. Journal of Manufacturing Systems, 32(4), 564-579.
  83. Xu, X. (2012). From cloud computing to cloud manufacturing. Robotics and computer-integrated manufacturing, 28(1), 75-86.
  84. Yu, F. and Schweisfurth, T. (2020). Industry 4.0 technology implementation in SMEs–A survey in the Danish-German border region. International Journal of Innovation Studies, 4(3), 76-84.
  85. Zhou, K., Liu, T. and Zhou, L. (2015). Industry 4.0: Towards future industrial opportunities and challenges. In 2015 12th International conference on fuzzy systems and knowledge discovery (FSKD) (pp. 2147-2152). IEEE. pp. 2147- 2152.