Determining and applying sustainable supplier key performance indicators

Chunguang Bai, Joseph Sarkis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

179 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to introduce a methodology to identify sustainable supply chain key performance indicators (KPI) that can then be used for sustainability performance evaluation for suppliers.

 Design/methodology/approach: Initially the complexity of sustainable supply chain performance measurement is discussed. Then, a two-stage method utilizing neighborhood rough set theory to identify KPI and data envelopment analysis (DEA) to benchmark and evaluate relative performance using the KPI is completed. Additional analysis is performed to determine the sensitivity of the KPI set formation and performance results.

Findings: The results show that KPI can be determined using neighborhood rough set, and DEA performance results provide insight into relative performance of suppliers. The supply chain sustainability performance results from both the neighborhood rough set and DEA can be quite sensitive parameters selected and sustainability KPI sets that were determined.

Research limitations/implications: The data utilized in this study are illustrative and simulated. Only one model for the neighborhood rough set and DEA was utilized. Additional investigations using a variation of rough set and DEA models can be completed. Practical implications: This tool set is valuable for managers to help identify sustainable supply chain KPI (from among hundreds of potential measures) and evaluate sustainability performance of various units within supply chains, including supply chain partners, departments, projects and programs. Social implications: Sustainability incorporates many business, economic and social implications. The methods introduced in this paper can help organizations and their supply chains become more strategically and operationally sustainable.

Originality/value: Few tools and techniques exist in the sustainable supply chain literature to help develop KPIs and evaluate sustainability performance of suppliers and the supply chain. This paper is one of the first that integrates neighborhood rough set and DEA to address this important sustainable supply chain performance measurement issue.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalSupply chain management
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)275-291
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 06.05.2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Key performance indicators
  • Performance measurement
  • Data envelopment analysis
  • Sustainable supply chains
  • Green supply chains
  • Rough set theory


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