What is it about?

Collaborative supply chains involve multiple entities working together towards a series of common objectives: enhancing efficiency, reducing costs, increasing customer satisfaction, and addressing the Bullwhip Effect. However, the achievement of these goals requires effective coordination and decision-making process between the parties. This can be challenging due to differences in capabilities, objectives, and information availability. In particular, models such as Information Exchange (IE), Vendor Managed Replenishment (VMR), and Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment (CPFR), allow companies to mitigate the Bullwhip Effect. Sharing information, making collective decisions, and sharing benefits are typical components of these schemes, which aim to achieve potential synergies and to optimize supply chain operations. To gain a better understanding of these collaborative models, a systematic literature review was conducted, examining different operational perspectives. A total of 92 articles were deeply reviewed and classified into three categories: Information Exchange, Vendor Managed Replenishment, and Synchronized Supply Chain. The analysis was based on various factors such as the type of research, supply chain structures, forecasting models, demand characteristics, replenishment policies, and assumptions used.

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Why is it important?

The results of the study revealed several key findings, including the importance of accurate demand forecasting and the need of a higher level of coordination among supply chain partners. The study also identified several gaps and opportunities for further research, such as the need to investigate the impact of emerging technologies on collaborative schemes and the role of trust and power in collaborative relationships.


The study emphasizes the importance of effective collaboration between parties in supply chain management. However, the success of collaborative models depends on a range of factors, including the quality and availability of information, the alignment of objectives and incentives, and the degree of trust and communication between partners. It becomes apparent that there is only few instancies where these collaboration models are actually applied. By leveraging these models and adopting effective collaboration practices, companies can enhance their supply chain performance, mitigate the Bullwhip Effect and better meet the needs of their customers, as well as improving the overall efficiency and responsiveness of the supply chain.

Enrique Holgado
Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A literature review on operational decisions applied to collaborative supply chains, PLoS ONE, March 2020, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0230152.
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