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An empirical investigation of the impact of cloud computing on container supply chain agility : a dynamic capability theory perspective

Shakourloo, A ORCID: 0000-0002-7646-0439 2020 , 'An empirical investigation of the impact of cloud computing on container supply chain agility : a dynamic capability theory perspective', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

A container supply chain is an integrated network of companies which carry out different operations such as transport, loading, discharging and transhipment of the containers. Companies within the container supply chain system need diverse capabilities to perform container operations efficiently. One of these capabilities is managing the ever-changing, unexpected and unpredictable container supply chain environment. Agility is a capability that can enable organisations to manage these environmental changes.
Based on dynamic capability theory, agility is the ability of sensing, seizing and transforming. Sensing is organisations' capability in identifying opportunities and threats in their environment. Seizing is the capability of organisations in implementing their works in a way to preserve responsiveness and transforming is the capability of organisations to reconfigure their resources to adapt to change and achieve agility. Agility can be developed by boosting these three areas of capabilities and utilising different enablers such as information technology.
Information technology is an important agility enabler, which can facilitate agility in different aspects of the system, such as sensing market changes and responding accordingly. Employing agility has encouraged organisations to select and replace traditional information technologies with new agility-enabling information technology innovations. However, in extreme competition, restricted budget and an unstable economy, investment in information technology may not necessarily lead to an improvement in agility unless it is cost-efficient and flexible. Cloud computing is an IT opportunity that has provided access to a modern and powerful information system at a low cost. Cloud computing is a type of technology that provides on-demand hardware and software services to clients throughout a network in a self-service mode independent from their location and devices.
To date, there is no empirical research which has studied cloud-enabled capabilities, supply chain agility and the relationship between these two constructs in the context of the container supply chain. Understanding cloud-enabled capabilities and its impact on container supply chain agility are critical to the improvement of the container supply chain capability in addressing the changing environment. To cover this gap, the main objectives of the current thesis was to: 1) exploring container supply chain agility dimensions from dynamic capability theory perspective 2) examining created capabilities via cloud computing application 3) investigating the impact of cloud-enabled capabilities on container supply chain agility dimensions.
A quantitative approach utilising a web-survey instrument was adopted to conduct this research. Data were collected from 737 most influential Australian organisations which were active in the container supply chain, including freight forwarders, container logistics companies, shipping companies/agencies and port service providers.
After data collection, the exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was applied to implement the model modification. Thereafter, convergent and discriminant validities of constructs were assessed by employing suitable statistical methods. In the next stage, confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was applied to evaluate and improve model fit criteria. Next, structural equation modelling (SEM) was employed to explore the relationships between cloud-enabled capabilities and container supply chain agility dimensions. The key findings are:
• Cloud computing application can create two capabilities of integration and flexibility in the context of the container supply chain.
• Information sharing is the most crucial factor that can create cloud integration among organisations in the container supply chain network.
• Access to cloud computing service providers with a low cost has a significant impact on improving cloud flexibility.
• Container supply chain agility mainly contains two dimensions of transforming and proactive sensing, which the last one is a combination of sensing and seizing capabilities.
• The most powerful capability to improve proactive sensing is the capability of organisations in setting an optimal capacity in a way that makes them able to respond to the sudden changes in customers' needs.
• Organisations' capability to cooperate with new partners to achieve operational efficiency is the most influential factor that can improve transforming capability in the container supply chain context.
• Created integration and flexibility through cloud computing application in organisations within the container supply chain can help to improve proactive sensing capability as one of the container supply chain agility dimensions.
Also, contributions of this research and possible managerial usages are:
• A valid and reliable instrument was developed to measure cloud-enabled capabilities in the container supply chain context through statistical processes of exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis.
• An instrument to measure supply chain agility was provided in the context of the container supply chain based on dynamic capability theory.
• The influence mechanism of cloud computing on container supply chain agility was discovered.
• A richer and more in-depth understanding of dynamic capability theory was provided through implementing an empirical study.
• A framework was presented to provide a better understanding of areas that cloud computing can be leveraged to enhance container supply chain agility.
• The areas that managers can focus on improving their supply chain agility were highlighted.
• Useful guidelines were provided to aid the better decision making about cloud computing adoption based on agility.
The findings of this research indicate that cloud computing as a tangible resource can create integration and flexibility in organisations which are active in the container supply chain, and these two capabilities have a positive impact on supply chain agility.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Shakourloo, A
Keywords: Supply chain, Agility, Container, Dynamic capability, Cloud computing
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Copyright 2020 the author

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