Subject and Keywords:
In the up to date competition, the optimal degree of complexity severely influences the success of distribution networks and therefore the success of the entire company. Nevertheless, it seems that up to now, limited research has been done on distribution network complexity. Therefore, this paper deals with current theoretical and practical approaches of complexity management in distribution networks. Methodologically, first an in-depth literature review is conducted, highlighting the existing complexity handling tools in different areas. Since this analysis shows that no approach specifically copes with the requirements of distribution networks, exploratory expert interviews are carried out. Comparing the findings shows that neither literature, nor industrial practice investigate or institutionalize complexity management in distribution networks. Thus, this paper provides opportunities to close this gap. On the one hand, a framework which can be used to elaborate suitable complexity management strategies for distribution networks is presented. On the other hand, the relevant areas of distribution networks are narrowed down in order to create a basis for developing a comprehensive method for complexity management in distribution systems.