An analysis of the variables that provide a supply chain with sustainable competitiveness

Iván A. Arana-Solares, Rafaela Alfalla-Luque, José A.D. Machuca


Purpose: An agile, adaptable and aligned (Triple A) supply chain (SC) would seem to be key to obtaining sustainable competitive advantages. Little previous research has been done into the topic, however, and there are even discrepancies on the conceptual level. For this reason this study aims to propose a reference framework to determine the dimensions and factors that define agility, adaptability and alignment in the SC and to facilitate both the evaluation of its state by managers and researchers with respect to these variables and also the development of empirical research that determines its impact on performance.

Design/methodology: A systematic literature review was carried out of specialist Operations Management, Logistics, Management and Supply Chain Management journals using the ProQuest (Abi/Inform Global) database. The articles retrieved were examined and those that were relevant for this study were selected. Using these, a qualitative analysis was done that led to the proposed goal being achieved. Findings: This study sets out the definitions, dimensions and factors of the three variables and groups them together for the first time, thus providing a solid conceptual frame. Although the number of articles that analyse one or other of the variables is growing, it is still low. Agility is the variable on which most research has been done, while adaptability is the least analysed.

Research limitations/implications: A theoretical reference framework is proposed for the Triple A in the SC based on earlier studies which do not discuss the joint effect of three variables, as a result of which there is no tested theoretical base. The model will be analysed empirically in future research.

Originality/value: The lack of papers on agility, adaptability and alignment in the supply chain and the lack of a consensus regarding the dimensions and factors to define them reveal a need for studies such as this.



supply chain, adaptability, agility, alignment


Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Intangible Capital, 2004-2024

Online ISSN: 1697-9818; Print ISSN: 2014-3214; DL: B-33375-2004

Publisher: OmniaScience