Research Paper

Interactive adaption in ‘mid-chain’ firms: How are supply chains enabling digital and net zero transitions?

Research Paper No. 93

Associated Themes
  • Innovation
  • Sustainability

The business landscape is changing as manufacturing processes undergo the digital transition and the shift towards net zero practices. Conceptual perspectives suggest that supply chains might play an important role in these transitions where they are characterised by: (a) firms which are aware of the advantages of new technologies and able to evaluate their benefits; (b) goodwill trust which facilitates open and intensive knowledge sharing; and, (c) power imbalances which might facilitate knowledge flows where innovative firms hold more power. Our empirical evidence suggests that for mid-chain companies their lived experience of the supply chains in which they operate is rather different. While goodwill trust with suppliers is not uncommon, trust-based relationships with customers are less evident, often complicated by commercial pressures, short-term or intermittent contracts and power imbalances.