Publication Details

Dunn, LJ & Gibson, PR, Strategic development of service orientated architecture in supply chain networks, 2007 Oxford Business & Economics Conference, 2007, p 1-14, Oxford, United Kingdom: ABER.


relative strategic positioning and competitive advantages. The traditional 'make and sell' attitude is rapidly becoming a customer orientated 'sense and respond' philosophy. Further, the needs for avoidance of waste, cost efficiency and service to the customer have the potential to become the major competitive focus especially in industries where there is little differentiation in product design and technology. This paper examines the strategic opportunities for participants in the pipeline construction industry to adopt state of the art industry philosophies. It is postulated that competitors are relying on functional hierarchy and command and control governance where operations rely on a chain of commitments, linked by process designs that are poorly connected and difficult to reconfigure. A new model is proposed where organizations can utilize strategic design for action, consisting of dynamic modular capabilities that are driven by context and coordination. Traditional supply chains involve an enormously complex and often adversarial web of contractors and suppliers where numerous reasons for error and departure from the plan are created. The model proposed here utilizes ideas of complexity absorption, described by Ashmos et al, (2000) rather than the traditional complexity reduction found in Tayloristic organizations that typify many industries, where predictable stability becomes the goal and change is considered to be a too radical departure from the norm. The model described here is built on the premise that complexity dealt with by absorption creates an organization that is strategically superior because it becomes a complex adaptive system that is unique. Complexity absorption is differentiated by varied information exchange mechanisms, the emergence of multiple interpretations due to conflicting goals and structural flexibility that can make sense of interactions. The paper contrasts tradition views of supply chain processes with a proposed view consisting of design, plan deliver and maintain, centred on integrated access to all processes. A proposed Pipeline Construction Portal and Service Oriented Architecture is illustrated. The model is internet-based and has three main constituents of Web Services, Portal and Client Services. Strategic implications for internet technology in this application are discussed where it is hypothesized that internet technology has now become a very powerful strategic tool because much improved usability has allowed a viable proposition for firms to build a strategic position by unique internet applications of the type described in this paper.

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