BACKGROUND : Despite risk management efforts, supply chains have become increasingly
vulnerable to disruptions. Disruptions should be successfully managed if organisations are to
thrive in today’s ever-changing world.
PURPOSE : This study explored supply chain disruptions of third-party logistics service
providers (3PLs) and their clients based in South Africa by investigating the disruptions these
organisations face, and how they go about managing them.
METHOD : A generic qualitative research approach was used to gather data by conducting semistructured
interviews with 22 participants, which comprised 11 3PLs and 11 client organisations
operating in South Africa.
FINDINGS : This study classified disruptions as intra-, inter- and extra-organisational.
South African 3PLs and their clients face the majority of their disruptions either intra- or interorganisationally.
The focus of 3PLs and clients has shifted from risk management to disruption
management. The findings show that 3PLs and their clients based in South Africa prefer
disruption learning over traditional risk management as a method to better manage future
CONCLUSION : This study contributes to existing literature by providing insight into the specific
supply chain disruptions that 3PLs and their clients based in South Africa face, according to
the disruption location in the supply chain and how 3PLs and clients manage supply chain
This article is based on the honours dissertation of E.D.G.
and J.N. and they were therefore the main researchers. W.N.
assisted as supervisor with the conceptualisation, literature
review, methodology, data analysis and preparation of