Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Supply chain evolution: theory, concepts and science

MacCarthy, Bart L.; Blome, Constantin; Olhager, Jan; Srai, Jagjit Singh; Zhao, Xiande


Constantin Blome

Jan Olhager

Jagjit Singh Srai

Xiande Zhao


The supply chain landscape is changing. New supply chains emerge and evolve for a variety of reasons. In this paper we examine the nature of new and changing supply chains and their influences, and address the broad question “What makes a supply chain like it is?”. The paper highlights and develops key aspects, concepts, and principal themes concerning the emergence and evolution of supply chains over their life cycle. We identify six factors that interact and may affect a supply chain over its life cycle. A number of emergent themes and propositions on factors affecting a supply chain’s characteristics over its life cycle are presented. We argue that a new science is needed to investigate and understand the supply chain life cycle. Supply chains are essential to the world economy and to modern life. Understanding the supply chain life cycle and how supply chains may evolve provides fresh perspectives on contemporary supply chain management. The paper presents detailed reflections from leading researchers on emerging, evolving and mature supply chains.


MacCarthy, B. L., Blome, C., Olhager, J., Srai, J. S., & Zhao, X. (2016). Supply chain evolution: theory, concepts and science. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 36(12),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 29, 2016
Online Publication Date Jun 27, 2016
Publication Date Dec 30, 2016
Deposit Date Feb 9, 2017
Publicly Available Date Feb 9, 2017
Journal International Journal of Operations & Production Management
Electronic ISSN 0144-3577
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 36
Issue 12
Keywords Supply Chain, Evolution, life cycle, emergence, segmentation, differentiation
Public URL
Publisher URL


MacCarthy et al. Supply Chain Evolution IJOPM 2016 IN PRINT REPOSITORY.pdf (619 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:

You might also like

Downloadable Citations