Another major concern that systems theory
may not holds good is since every system is a part of sub system of a larger
system the concern is how far the boundary for system should be drawn. Not
every problem is clear, few problems will be involved in social behaviour, few problems
may be concerned with economic behaviour and few may have concerned with
political behaviour. The systems theory will bring a good reliable solution
only if a problem is considered, viewed and defined in a right way. Problem
solving in systems theory is also based on how and how well a problem is
defined. Because a problem may look different to particular parties and it may
looks different for the concerned parties, the problem that may felt by one
group may not be a problem for another group. So before intervening the things
should be defined in a right way. For instance, the clothes that people wear.
For one customs it will be acceptable or the other it may not. That why during
the disaster relief most of the times there will be mismatch between what the
people receives and what the people really needs contradicts. Clear demarcation
and definition fails most of the times. This will be one of the complexities
within the systems theory.
transdisciplinary approach should enable the participants in HL in general and logisticians
in particular to have an overview, as complete as possible, on various interdependent
subsystems of humanitarian relief operations. In fact, many organizations have
pieces of information, the role of the logistics manager is to put them together
by blending first- and third-world logistics and private and public-sector outlooks.
Systems theory’s relevance to Supply Chain
Management and its applicability in various aspects of supply chain management
Supply chain is can be explained in a
better way that, it is a combination of series of processes ranging right from
raw material suppliers to the end users. This series includes a wide range of
information, cash flow and the material flow. A bullwhip effect could be caused
very easily with a slight change in the information and material flow. Systems
theory is an approach to solve the problem, which doesn’t look at problems as
an isolated challenge but rather it looks in the context of the larger system.
Supply chain is nothing but, a combination of people, structures, process and
environment that works together to come out with desired outcomes. The life
which we live in this environment is more complex, we are surrounded by complex
systems, peoples and complex actions. With the help of systems theory, one
should be acquiring the ability to know about the components of the system, the
kind of interaction that it happens with its components to understand clearly
about the operation it does in larger system. Systems approach helps in
analysing the supply chains and it helps in improving the performance of the
whole system by the application of logical and structural methods rather than
making improvements in particular areas of the system.
Systems approach considers and improves
the performance of the entire system involved in supply chain rather than
improving the efforts of particular sub systems. Improving the performance of
the particular system alone may not help in the entire functioning of the
supply chain. Developing the best solution for a supply chain requires the
analysis, planning and implementation of certain aspects in a systemic way that
is developing it methodologically. For which it involves a far-reaching
investigation and radical reappraisal of the whole supply chain and which often
results in a complete redesign of supply chain organisation and operations.
Systems thinking helps in understanding
the behaviour of the system that arises from the interaction of its agents over
a period of time. It rightly identifies the stock and flow relationships which
is one of the very needy thing in Supply chain management. Systems thinking is
the very basis for inventory management, finance and order management which
helps a logistician to work effectively in mobilising the resources during
In humanitarian supply chain management,
effectiveness ensures that time is saved and if time is saved more life are
saved and efficiency ensures that is cost is saved means more lives are helped.
Restoration of sub stages of Disaster cycle (sub systems) is made possible
A holistic picture of the situation
provides a chance to the observer to see all the loops in the system and it
also gives him chance to reject those which are deemed less efficient and can
incorporate the effective sub system for the overall goal of the system.
Deterministic approach create a great
emphasis for reducing complexities and focus on actions to improve the
conceptualised system in order to reach an optimal state.
Irrelevance/ non-applicability of Systems
theory in Supply Chain Management
The wholistic view of systems theory in
supply chain management is with a lot of strategies that needs to follow the
operational issues, while in supply chain management looks into more strategic,
conceptual and philosophical ways, which lack the operational terms which will
be a practical difficulty to the logistician who employs it. Contemporary
challenges in organisational complexities in supply chain management makes the
application of systems approach difficult.
Challenges are right from challenges of sustainability, innovation,
collaboration and sense making. Structure driven behaviour are more prevalent
in systems approach. The complexity of the systems approach is complexity lies
within the system, like how many subsystems are involved and present over
there. The major irrelevance of systems theory is it tries to eliminate all
uncertainties in the process and it considers that all actors should play
similar which is practically not possible in most of the situations that too
especially in disaster supply chain management context. System theory makes a
system complicated which makes the moving parts that interact with each other
in fixing or defining the predictable ways which doesn’t holds good in each and
every disaster situation say for example, last mile connectivity can’t be
achieved or rescue operation couldn’t be achieved properly due to change in
actual weather situation.