Electronic Markets

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 141–156 | Cite as

Design options for supply chain visibility services: learnings from three EPCIS implementations

  • Ralph Tröger
  • Rainer AltEmail author
Research Paper


Supply chains in many industries are experiencing an ever-growing complexity. They involve many actors and, similar to intra-organizational processes, visibility is an important enabler for managing supply chains in an inter-organizational setting. It is the backbone of advanced supply chain (event) management solutions, which serve to detect critical incidents in time and to determine alternative actions. Due to the numerous heterogeneous parties involved, distributed supply chains call for a modular system architecture that aims at re-using visibility data from standardized sources. Following the wide variety of supply chain configurations in many industries there are also many options to design such services. This paper sheds light on these aspects by conducting a case study on EPCIS, a global service specification for capturing and sharing visibility data. Based on three implementations, it shows design options for a supply chain visibility service, generic operator models as well as major potentials.


Supply chain management EPCIS Visibility Service-orientation Supply chain event management Service-oriented architecture (SOA) 

JEL classifications

M15 O14 


  1. Akolkar, R., Chefalas, T., Laredo, J., Perng, C.-S., Sailer, A., Schaffa, F., Silva-Lepe, I., & Tao, T. (2012). The future of service marketplaces in the cloud. In: Proceedings IEEE 8th World Congress on Services.Google Scholar
  2. Alt, R., & Zimmermann, H.-D. (2014). Editorial 24/3: Electronic Markets and general research. Electronic Markets, 24(3), 161–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alt, R., Grünauer, K. M. & Reichmayr, C. (2000). Interaction of electronic commerce and supply chain management - Insights from ‘The Swatch Group’. In: Proceedings 33rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS).Google Scholar
  4. Alt, R., Abramowicz, W., & Demirkan, H. (2010). Service-orientation in electronic markets. Electronic Markets, 20(3–4), 177–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Assmann, M., Haack, M., Hagen, N., Schneider, H., & Zacharias, R. (2010). SOA business case. In F. Keuper, K. Hamidian, E. Verwaayen, & T. Kalinowski (Eds.), TransformIT – optimale Geschäftsprozesse durch eine transformierende IT (pp. 97–125). Wiesbaden: Gabler.Google Scholar
  6. Bartlett, P. A., Julien, D. M., & Baines, T. S. (2007). Improving supply chain performance through improved visibility. The International Journal of Logistics Management, 18(2), 294–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Benbasat, I., Goldstein, D. K., & Mead, M. (1987). The case research strategy in studies of information systems. MIS Quarterly, 11(3), 369–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bertalanffy, L. (2008). An outline of general system theory. E:CO, 10(2), 103–123.Google Scholar
  9. Blichfeldt, B.S. & Andersen, J.R. (2006). Creating a wider audience for action research: Learning from case-study research. Journal of Research Practice, 2(1), Article D2.Google Scholar
  10. Böhm, M., Leimeister, S., Riedl, C., & Krcmar, H. (2011). Cloud computing: outsourcing 2.0 or a new business model for IT provisioning? In F. Keuper, C. Oecking, & A. Degenhardt (Eds.), Application management (pp. 31–56). Wiesbaden: Gabler.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Caridi, M., Moretto, A., Perego, A., & Tumino, A. (2014). The benefits of supply chain visibility: a value assessment model. International Journal of Production Economics, 151(12), 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Computer Economics (2007). Service-oriented architecture: adoption trends in 2007. Computer Economics, 29(2), February 200.Google Scholar
  13. Christopher, M. (2000). The agile supply chain: competing in volatile markets. Industrial Marketing Management, 29(2000)1, 37–44. doi: 10.1016/S0019-8501(99)00110-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Denno, P. (2013). Trade collaboration systems. In IRMA (Ed.), Supply chain management: concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications (pp. 615–633). Hershey: IGI.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Doone, R. (2014). How supply chain management can help to control health-care costs. In: CSCMP’s Supply Chain Quarterly, 8 (3), Logistics/20141110-how-supply-chain-management-can-help-to-control-health-care-costs (accessed on 08.11.2015).
  16. GS1 (2014a). GS1 EPC information services (EPCIS) version 1.1 specification. May 2014.Google Scholar
  17. GS1 (2014b). Core business vocabulary (CBV) version 1.1 standard. May 2014.Google Scholar
  18. GS1 (2016). The GS1 system architecture, issue 5.0. April 2016.Google Scholar
  19. GS1 AISBL (2015). Annual report 2014–2015, GS1_Annual_Report_2015.pdf (accessed on 31.10.2015).
  20. GS1 EPCglobal (2009). Transportation and logistics phase 3 pilot program demonstrates that EPC/RFID technology based upon GS1 EPCglobal standards works in a real live environment, (accessed on 29.03.2013).
  21. Hesse, S. J. (2013). Ereignisbasiertes SCM bei ThyssenKrupp; VDP-Workshop RFID in der Papierindustrie. Sulzbach, March 2013.Google Scholar
  22. Josey, A., Else, S., Franken, H., Jonkers, H., Band, I., Quartel, D., Parker, S., & Homan, P. (2013). ArchiMate 2.1 – A pocket guide. The Open Group, Reading.Google Scholar
  23. Kassim, A., Esfandiari, B., Majumdar, S. & Serghi, L. (2007). A flexible hybrid architecture for management of distributed web service registries. In: Proceedings 5th Annual Conference on Communication Networks and Services Research (CNSR).Google Scholar
  24. Kohlmann, F., & Alt, R. (2009). Business-oriented service design in practice – learnings from a swiss universal bank. In: Proceedings 1st International Symposium on Service Sciences (ISSS), Berlin: Logos, pp. 201–215.Google Scholar
  25. Kouki, Y. & Ledoux, T. (2012). SLA-driven capacity planning for cloud applications. In: Proceedings International Conference on Cloud Computing Technology and Science (CloudCom), pp. 135–140.Google Scholar
  26. Kurbel, K. E. (2013). Enterprise resource planning and supply chain management. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lee, H. L., Padmanabhan, V., & Whang, S. (1997). Information distortion in a supply chain: the bullwhip effect. Management Science, 43(4), 546–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Levina, O. & Stantchev, V. (2009). Realizing event-driven SOA. In: Proceedings 4th International Conference on Internet and Web Applications and Services (ICIW), pp. 37–42.Google Scholar
  29. Liu, R., Kumar, A., & van der Aalst, W. (2007). A formal modeling approach for supply chain event management. Decision Support Systems, 43(3), 761–778.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Luthria, H., & Rabhi, F. A. (2012). Service-oriented architectures: myth or reality? IEEE Software, 29(4), 46–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Marufuzzaman, M., & Deif, A. M. (2010). A dynamic approach to determine the product flow nature in apparel supply chain network. International Journal of Production Economics, 128(2), 484–495.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Matthams, R. (2012). Despite high fuel prices, many trucks run empty. In: The Christian Science Monitor, (accessed on 08.11.2015).
  33. McIntire, J. S. (2014). Supply chain visibility: From theory to practice. Farnham: Gower Publishing.Google Scholar
  34. McKay, J. & Marshall, P. (2000). Rethinking current conceptualisations of action research. In: Proceedings of the Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems (PACIS), paper 44.Google Scholar
  35. McLaren, T., Head, M., & Yuan, Y. (2002). Supply chain collaboration alternatives: understanding the expected costs and benefits. Internet Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy, 12(4), 348–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mentzer, J. T., DeWitt, W., Keebler, J. S., Min, S., Nix, N. W., Smith, C. D., & Zacharia, Z. G. (2001). Defining supply chain management. Journal of Business Logistics, 22(2), 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Müller, J., Tröger, R., Alt, R., Zeier, A. (2009). Gain in transparency vs. investment in the EPC network – analysis and results of a discrete event simulation based on a case study in the fashion industry. In: Proceedings 7th International Joint Conference on Service Oriented Computing, pp. 145–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Naslund, D., & Williamson, S. (2010). What is management in supply chain management? - a critical review of definitions, frameworks and terminology. Journal of Management Policy and Practice, 11(4), 11–28.Google Scholar
  39. Nissen, V. (2002). Supply chain event management. Wirtschaftsinformatik, 44(5), 477–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Otto, A. (2003). Supply chain event management: three perspectives. The International Journal of Logistics Management, 14(2), 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Pelzl, N., Helferich, A., & Herzwurm, G. (2013). Wertschöpfungsnetzwerke deutscher Cloud-Anbieter. HMD – Praxis der Wirtschaftsinformatik, 50(292), 42–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Pilioura, T., & Tsalgatidou, A. (2009). Unified publication and discovery of semantic web services. ACM Transactions on the Web, 3(3), 11:1–11:44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Schmidt, C. (2004). The analysis of semi-structured interviews. In U. Flick, E. Kardorff, & I. Steinke (Eds.), A companion to qualitative research (pp. 253–258). London et al.: Sage.Google Scholar
  44. Schwaninger, M. (2001). System theory and cybernetics: a solid basis for transdisciplinarity in management education and research. Kybernetes, 30(9/10), 1209–1222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sellami, M., Gaaloul, W. & Tata, S. (2011). An implicit approach for building communities of web service registries. In: Proceedings 13th International Conference on Information Integration and Web-based Applications and Services (ii- WAS).Google Scholar
  46. Speyerer, J.K. & Zeller, A.J. (2004). Managing supply networks: symptom recognition and diagnostic analysis with web services. In: Proceedings 37th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS).Google Scholar
  47. Swedberg, C. (2008). EPCglobal transportation and logistics pilot takes visibility to a global level. RFID Journal, (accessed on 24.04.2015).
  48. Tanja, P. T., & Ruijgrok, C. J. (1990). Logistical information systems and their importance for integral logistical control. Transports, 339, 8–16.Google Scholar
  49. Tribowski, C., Goebel, C., & Günther, O. (2009). EPCIS-based supply chain event management – a quantitative comparison of candidate system architectures. In: Proceedings International Conference on Complex, Intelligent Software Intensive Systems (CISIS).Google Scholar
  50. Tröger, R. (2014). Supply Chain Event Management – Bedarf, Nutzen und Systemarchitektur aus Perspektive fokaler Unternehmen der Modeindustrie. Doctoral Thesis,
  51. Wei, H.-L., & Wang, E. T. G. (2010). The strategic value of supply chain visibility: increasing the ability to reconfigure. European Journal of Information Systems, 19(2), 238–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wessel, R. (2007). ThyssenKrupp to use EPC UHF tags to track steel. In: RFID Journal; (accessed on 27.12.2013).
  53. Wyllie, D. (2013). Moderne ERP-Lösungen aus der deutschen Cloud. In: Computerwoche; Oktober 2013;,2541640 (accessed on 30.11.2013).
  54. Yin, R. (2009). Case study research: design and methods, 4th edition, Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  55. Zimmermann, R., Winkler, S. & Bodendorf, F. (2006). Agent-based supply chain event management – concept and assessment. In: Proceedings 39th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Institute of Applied Informatics at University of Leipzig 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.KölnGermany
  2. 2.LeipzigGermany

Personalised recommendations