Call for Papers

CfP special issue on "Supply Chain Automation"

Submission deadline: June 30, 2024

Guest Editors

* Giovanni Miragliotta, Politecnico di Milano, Italy, giovanni.miragliotta(at)
* Nizar Abdelkafi, Politecnico di Milano, Italy,
* George Huang, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong,
* Andrea Patrucco, Florida International University, USA, apatrucc(at)


Supply chain (SC) management is undergoing a significant transformation that is primarily driven by advances in digital technologies. In particular, by integrating diverse technologies, higher automation levels can be achieved, leading to improvements from different perspectives such as efficiency, responsiveness, resilience, and sustainability along the supply chain. Recognizing the importance of these developments, we are pleased to announce a special issue on supply chain automation (SCA). After Electronic Markets’ last special issue on supply chain management (Prockl et al. 2017), this special issue seeks contributions from researchers and academics to share their latest research results and to set a new research agenda on SCA.

This call of papers does not seek research on physical automation, such as the use of physical robots in warehousing or the implementation of self-guided vehicles in last-mile delivery. Instead, it aims to collect original papers that investigate software-based systems that automate repetitive tasks previously performed by humans along the supply chain and digital systems that augment human decision-making and streamline the plan, source, make, deliver, enable, and return processes in the supply chain. For example, SCA can be enabled by Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and other automated data collection tools, artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation (RPA), digital platforms, digital twins, office automation and advanced software and data analytics, only to name a few. Especially, AI (e.g., Toorajipour et al. 2020) and RPA (e.g., Flechsig et al. 2022) can automate key supply chain functions.

In addition, the special issue is looking for research that addresses the potential of new digital technologies in advancing collaboration and automating information flows among supply chain actors as well as papers on innovative applications of digital platform technology, not only in upstream and downstream supply chains but also in transportation and reverse logistics. Multi-sided digital platforms (e.g., Abdelkafi et al. 2019) exhibit a high potential in automating transactions and execution among the supply chain actors. They can streamline processes and improve collaboration. For example, supplier platforms, which are digital hubs that connect organizations with their suppliers, can facilitate automated order management and inventory control. Other types of digital platforms such as transportation marketplaces, e.g., in road freight transport management (Heinbach et al. 2022), provide a matching platform for fleet owners to automatically respond to shippers’ demand and for leveraging new concepts such as crowd shipping. The integration of digital platforms with technologies such as RPA or AI can lead to unprecedented applications in SCA. Furthermore, cloud-based platforms (e.g., Ivanov et al., 2022) facilitate seamless collaboration, enabling supply chain actors to coordinate activities, share information and optimize processes in real-time. Finally, supply chain digital twins supported by Industry 4.0 technologies may mimic physical supply chain assets and processes while enabling real-time monitoring, analysis, and control (Ivanov and Dolgui, 2021), thus making it possible to increase SCA levels.

Central issues and topics

Electronic Markets invites researchers and practitioners to submit original manuscripts, research papers, case studies, and reviews that contribute to the advancement of SCA. This special issue accepts conceptual research and literature reviews as well as qualitative and quantitative research. Contributions that advance state-of-the-art knowledge while conceptualizing SCA are especially welcome. We are also looking for integrative approaches and meta-level research that aims to bring together independently developed automation concepts. In this regard, different analysis perspectives are also welcome, encompassing strategic implications, impacts on workers’ skills, and interaction with other digital trends, to name a few. Authors are encouraged to submit original research papers, case studies, or reviews that address, but are not limited to the following topics:

  • Innovative use of AI and RPA for SCA
  • AI-enabled anomaly detection and root cause analysis for supply chain performance improvement
  • Data analytics and AI applications in digital twin-based SC optimization
  • Integration of RPA with SC management information systems for streamlined processes
  • Governance and control mechanisms for RPA implementation in the SC context
  • Role and typologies of (multi-sided) digital platforms for SCA
  • Integration of digital platforms with other digital technologies (e.g., AI, metaverse)
  • Benefits of digital platforms for SCA and SC execution
  • RFId, IoT, and other automated data acquisition technologies, in conjunction with the use of digital twins to enable SCA
  • Integrative concepts and frameworks for SCA


Supply chain automation, Digital platforms and technologies, Automated supply chain execution, Big data and data analytics, Artificial intelligence and Robotic process automation, Supply chain digital twins


Electronic Markets is a Social Science Citation Index (SSCI)-listed journal (IF 8.5 in 2022) in the area of information systems. Authors are invited to submit their original manuscripts electronically through the Electronic Markets online submission system ( All submissions should fit the journal scope (for more information, see and will undergo a double-blind peer-review process. Manuscripts should adhere to the journal's formatting guidelines. Authors should clearly indicate that their submission is intended for the special issue on "Supply Chain Automation". The preferred average article length is approximately 10,000 words, excluding references. Instructions, templates and general information are available at If you would like to discuss any aspect of this special issue, you may either contact the guest editors or the Editorial Office.



Abdelkafi, N., Raasch, C., Roth, A., & Srinivasan, R. (2019) Multi-sided platforms. Electronic Markets, 29(4), 553–559.

Flechsig, C., Anslinger, F., & Lasch, R. (2022). Robotic Process Automation in purchasing and supply management: A multiple case study on potentials, barriers, and implementation. Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, 28(1), pp. 100718.

Heinbach, C., Beinke, J., Kammler, & F. Thomas, O. (2022). Data-driven forwarding: a typology of digital platforms for road freight transport management. Electronic Markets, 32(2), 807–828.

Ivanov, D., & Dolgui, A. (2021). A digital supply chain twin for managing the disruption risks and resilience in the era of Industry 4.0. Production Planning and Control, 32(9), 775–788.

Ivanov, D., Dolgui, A., & Sokolov, B. (2022). Cloud supply chain: Integrating Industry 4.0 and digital platforms in the “Supply Chain-as-a-Service”. Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, 160, pp. 102676.

Prockl, G., Bhakoo, V. & Wong, C. (2017). Supply chains and electronic markets - impulses for value co-creation across the disciplines. Electronic Markets, 27(2), 135–140.

Toorajipour, R., Sohrabpour, V., Nazarpour, A., Oghazi, & P. Fischl, M. (2021). Artificial intelligence in supply chain management: A systematic literature review. Journal of Business Research, 122, pp. 502-517.