Balanced scorecard metrics and specific supply chain roles

Antonio Andre Cunha Callado, Lisa Jack

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An Agri-food supply chain (ASC) is a network of individual companies that delivers agricultural products to end consumers (Christopher, 2005). However, within an ASC there is a greater tendency for companies to keep their own identity or autonomy than in other supply chain (SC) configurations (van der Vorst, 2006). The structure of an ASC can be complex and include many entities performing numerous interactions (Matopoulos et al., 2004). For example, intermediary companies have one-to-many relationships with retailers downstream and separate one-to-many relationships upstream. The relationships can dissolve and re-form frequently because, although they typically want the quality and delivery that comes from long-term relationships, retailers and processors also want the prices that come from trading (Jack et al., 2012). Therefore, ASCs provide an interesting environment in which to explore the use of performance metrics to manage relationships between SC partners. It is argued that the balanced scorecard (BSC) approach can provide a suitable basis for performance measurement in the supply chain context (Brewer and Speh, 2000).
There is little survey evidence regarding key practical aspects of BSCs, such as the characteristics of the models tested, the information generated or the combinations of metrics that should be used (Chenhall, 2005). Limitations of BSC frameworks designed for SC performance measurement include their top-down approach, lack of formal implementation methodology and subjectivity of metrics selection (Abu-Suleiman et al., 2003). The identification of the appropriate set of metrics to be applied by multiple individual companies across a SC structure is not an easy task and there is insufficient literature about the selection of suitable metrics (Chan et al., 2003). The design of specific approaches addressing this issue could provide a significant contribution to this field of study (Lambert and Pohlen, 2001).
The objective of this research note is to identify whether particular metrics used in BSCs relate to specific supply chain roles in ASCs. The overarching question to this investigation is whether common BSCs are possible between partners in supply networks. From data gathered in Brazil, customer satisfaction was the single common metric used by all roles (input suppliers, producers, distributors and retailers). In addition, the set of metrics and their distribution across the four perspectives of a BSC are different for each SC role. These findings suggest that it may be very difficult to achieve, in practice, a common BSC framework for all supply chain participants and that other alternatives should be investigated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-300
JournalInternational Journal of Productivity and Performance Management
Issue number2
Early online date7 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2015


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