A Design Science Research Approach to Smart and Collaborative Urban Supply Networks


Urban supply networks are facing increasing demands and challenges and thus constitute a relevant field for research and practical development. Supply chain management holds enormous potential and relevance for society and everyday life as the flow of goods and information are important economic functions. Being a heterogeneous field, the literature base of supply chain management research is difficult to manage and navigate. Disruptive digital technologies and the implementation of cross-network information analysis and sharing drive the need for new organisational and technological approaches. Practical issues are manifold and include mega trends such as digital transformation, urbanisation, and environmental awareness. A promising approach to solving these problems is the realisation of smart and collaborative supply networks. The growth of artificial intelligence applications in recent years has led to a wide range of applications in a variety of domains. However, the potential of artificial intelligence utilisation in supply chain management has not yet been fully exploited. Similarly, value creation increasingly takes place in networked value creation cycles that have become continuously more collaborative, complex, and dynamic as interactions in business processes involving information technologies have become more intense. Following a design science research approach this cumulative thesis comprises the development and discussion of four artefacts for the analysis and advancement of smart and collaborative urban supply networks. This thesis aims to highlight the potential of artificial intelligence-based supply networks, to advance data-driven inter-organisational collaboration, and to improve last mile supply network sustainability. Based on thorough machine learning and systematic literature reviews, reference and system dynamics modelling, simulation, and qualitative empirical research, the artefacts provide a valuable contribution to research and practice

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