Currently I'm developing research in the following domains:
Supply chain resilience
With supply chains crossing several countries and continents, transporting a multi-diversity of materials, from raw material to final product, events that create interruption of material flow, even if they happen in a remote place, can create large-scale disruptions. These disruptions may be propagated throughout the supply chain, causing severe negative effects in supply chains and compromising the ability to meet previously made commitments. The Japan earthquake in March 2011 is an illustrative example of how an unexpected event can affect global supply chains. In my PHd dissertation I had develop an explanatory framework of the supply chain resilience phenomena and propose resilience indices to measure the companies’ ability to be resilient in a supply chain context. The research was done using a theory building approach supported by a case study conducted in seven companies’ belong to the Portuguese automotive upstream supply chain. Future research includes:
· Replication and cross-cultural/multi-national investigations in different industrial contexts
· Identify trade-offs and synergies between resilience and other supply chain practices, such as lean, agile and green to help supply chains to become more efficient, streamlined, and sustainable
Sustainability in business ecosystems
The first definition of sustainable development was made by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED): “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Three main dimensions of sustainability can be found: society, environment and economy. The sustainable development of business means adopting business strategies and activities that meet the needs of the organizations and its stakeholders today while protecting, sustaining and enhancing the human and natural resources that will be needed in the future. It should be a priority to entire business ecosystem, which is composed by different entities including all enterprises and the supplier, the distributor, the outsourcing service company, the financing organization, the key technologies provider, the supplementary product manufacturer, the competitor, the customer, the supervision organization, the media and the related government apparatus etc. In this extended context the deployment of adequate ground-breaking practices becomes a crucial issue to improve organizations, and consequently the business ecosystem, economic, social and environmental performance.
Eco-efficiency is increasingly becoming a key requirement for success in business. World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBSD, 2000) that deﬁnes eco-efficiency as "the delivery of competitively priced goods and services that satisfy human needs and bring quality of life, while progressively reducing ecological impact and resource intensity throughout the life cycle, to a level at least in line with the earth’s estimated carrying capacity”. Eco-efficiency indicators measure the enterprise's efficiency in the consumption of resources with reference to the ability to produce economic value. One ratio suggested in the literature to translate the eco-efficiency is the following Müller & Sturm (2001): Eco-efficiency = Environmental performance / Economic performance. In this ratio, the organization environmental performance is considered as the impact caused by its activities during a specific period and the economic performance is the financial value produced by the same activities during a specific period. Therefore, managers can increase eco-efficiency by decreasing environmental impact while increasing the economic performance.
Eco-innovation is "the innovation that reflects the emphasis on a reduction of environmental impact, whether such an effect is intended or not and includes innovation in products, processes, marketing methods and organisational methods, and also includes innovation in social and institutional structures" (OECD, 2009). The increasing concern for achieving sustainability and green growth is corporate management is leading organizations to revisit or modified processes, techniques, practices, systems and products to avoid or reduce environmental harms and to promote the business sustainability. Eco-innovations practices can be found in different contexts such as: improving energy efficiency of automobiles, sustainable plants, energy-saving types, self-service bicycle sharing system, alternative iron-making processes, advanced high-strength steel for automobiles, energy efficiency in data centres, energy-saving controller for air conditioning water pumps, enhancing recycling of electronic appliances, and managed print services.
Lean and green operations management
Lean and Green paradigms are often seen as compatible because of their joint focus on waste reduction. The removal of non-value adding activities, suggested by Lean paradigm can provide substantial energy savings and reduce the environmental impact, fitting by this way the main concerns of the Green paradigm. Also, waste management has been expanded from the traditional 3R's (reduce, reuse, recycle) to a hierarchy which adds components such as energy recovery and disposal. Since Lean initiatives enable only demanded volumes to flow through the supply chain, a reduced amount of inventory needs to be sourced, produced, transported, packaged and handled, which also minimizes the supply chain negative environmental impacts. The ISO 14001 certification forms the basis for a systematic approach to reducing the environmental impacts of organizations; also it works like a snow ball, influencing all supply chain partners to adopt more environmentally friendly practices. However also trade-offs appear when these paradigms are deployed simultaneously in the supply chain. Lean strategies that employ just in time (JIT) delivery of small lot sizes can require increased transportation, packaging, and handling that may contradict a Green approach. By recognizing this conflict, companies may be able to identify trade-offs or develop solutions that mitigate undesirable consequences. For example, companies that recognize the negative environmental impact of the JIT approach may consider reusable packaging and containers or adapt the lot-size to optimize cube utilization during transportation as a means to achieve both Lean and Green objectives. Therefore, Lean may be Green in some cases, but not in others.