The Role of Information-Sharing on Supply Chain Resilience: A Study in the South African Retail Industry


Vol 17 | Issue 2 pp. 2-16


Background: Retail firms are operating in an increasingly tumultuous global economy, with extended supply chains and ever-increasing customer demand. Retail firms also face heightened vulnerability towards disruptions and disasters that could bring their supply chain to a complete standstill. Building a resilient supply chain and being able to share critical information, is essential to a retail firm’s survival and success.

Objectives: The purpose of this study is to investigate the role of information-sharing on supply chain resilience (SCRES), within buyer-supplier relationships in the South African retail industry. More specifically, the role of information-sharing on the pillars of SCRES, namely, flexibility, visibility, velocity and efficiency, were investigated.

Method: A generic qualitative research design was implemented. Data were collected by conducting 13 semistructured interviews with both buyer and supplier firms operating in the South African retail industry.

Results: The study’s findings indicate that the antecedents of resilience can be achieved through the sharing of accurate and timely information. The results suggest that retail firms acknowledge the urgency of building resilient supply chains to enable them to mitigate the impact of an extremely disruptive economic business environment. Retail firms with close and open customer and supplier relationships achieved a higher degree of informationsharing and faster response times to disruptions and market fluctuations. Retail firms that share information can foresee and respond to disruptive events better, and before they become catastrophic, providing them with a competitive advantage.

Keywords: Supply chain resilience, disruptions management, information-sharing, qualitative research, South Africa, retail industry

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