ORIENTATION : The management of supply chain risks, disruptions and vulnerabilities has
become a significant issue in supply chain management research in recent times.
RESEARCH PURPOSE : The purpose of this study was threefold, namely to (1) determine whether
there is a clear understanding of supply chain risk management (SCRM) within the South
African third-party logistics service providers (3PL) industry, (2) investigate the primary
sources that lead to disruptions and vulnerabilities within the supply chains of South African
3PL organisations and (3) establish the current tools or methods used by supply chain
practitioners to mitigate supply chain risks within the 3PL industry in South Africa.
MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY : Supply chain risks are ever increasing and evolving which may
have a substantial influence on organisational and supply chain performance.
RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD : A generic qualitative research method was used to
gather data. A total of 20 purposively selected participants drawn from 20 3PL organisations
with headquarters located in Gauteng province participated in semi-structured interviews.
MAIN FINDINGS : The findings indicate a juxtaposition regarding South African 3PL supply
chain practitioners’ understanding of SCRM compared to literature, as the participants were
found to only identify certain tenets of SCRM with no single participant comprehensively
describing SCRM according to the literature. External disruptions, namely customer- and
supply-side disruptions within the South African 3PL industry were found to be the primary
sources of supply chain disruptions. The findings further indicate that supply chain
vulnerabilities emanate predominantly from labour strikes and cyberattacks.
PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS : The implementation of SCRM is constrained by the high costs of implementation, the unwillingness of supply chain partners to buy into SCRM, power
imbalances in supply chain relationships and other uncontrollable factors between different
supply chain members.
CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD : Supply chain practitioners in the 3PL industry should realise the
significance of effective SCRM practices, as well as the positive impact proactive SCRM
practices could have on their organisations as well as on supply chain partners.
G.U. and D.B. conducted the research as part of their honours
degree. A.M. and W.N. acted as the supervisors of the
research and prepared the manuscript.