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Beyond Fisher’s Product-Supply Chain Matrix: Illustrating the Actual Impact of Technological Maturity on Supply Chain Design
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Industrial Development, IT and Land Management. University of Gävle, Center for Logistics and Innovative Production. (Industriell ekonomi)
2012 (English)In: International Journal of Logistics Systems and Management, ISSN 1742-7967, Vol. 12, no 3, 318-333 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The literature suggests that supply chains should be designed based on product characteristics, with particular focus on technological maturity and its effect on the predictability of demand. However, other factors influence the predictability of demand and technological maturity has effects that go beyond demand forecasts. This paper discusses the actual challenges of designing a supply chain and, based on a single case study, illustrates how a leading technology-based company solves these problems. The study found that although technological maturity drives a change towards a more efficient supply chain, a partially separate supply chain had to be maintained for unpredictable demand.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 12, no 3, 318-333 p.
Keyword [en]
supply chain, management, technological maturity, demand predictability, responsive, cost-efficient, Ericsson
National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-11782DOI: 10.1504/IJLSM.2012.047604Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84863686732OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-11782DiVA: diva2:517674
Available from: 2012-01-09 Created: 2012-04-24 Last updated: 2013-01-24Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Manufacturing capabilities: expendable commodities or catalysts for effective supply chain management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Manufacturing capabilities: expendable commodities or catalysts for effective supply chain management
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Many large companies have for a long time been very successful in their industries by combining leading edge R&D and marketing with strong internal manufacturing capabilities. An alternative model is now getting increased attention, where R&D and marketing is conducted internally and manufacturing performed by outsourcing partners. This development is partly due to divergent views on the strategic role of manufacturing capabilities: expendable commodities that can be purchased from a low-cost provider versus resources essential for sustaining long-term competitive advantage. Although assessments of the strategic role of manufacturing capabilities have been performed previously, recent supply chain trends such as globalisation and fragmentation mean that they may no longer be relevant. The purpose of the thesis is to assess the strategic role of manufacturing capabilities for a product-owning firm, by focusing on what impact its internal manufacturing capabilities have on the effectiveness of the supply chain.

Two methods have been used for the research: survey and case study. The survey is representative for the entire Swedish manufacturing sector, whereas the case studies are to some extent industry- or company-specific. Two companies were researched: one in the telecom equipment sector, the other a supplier to multiple sectors, including the telecom equipment sector. The results of the research have been presented in five scientific articles that are also found in the appendices.

The thesis argues that in order to evaluate the strategic role of manufacturing capabilities, it is important to look at how they contribute to the focal firm’s competitive priorities. When the technology is new, the competitive priority tends to be innovation, and the role of manufacturing capabilities is to facilitate more efficient NPD. When products mature, low cost becomes the dominant competitive priority, and the role of manufacturing capabilities is to facilitate a high operational efficiency of the supply chain. Although the potential role of manufacturing capabilities is dependent on the firms’ competitive priorities, just possessing manufacturing capabilities will not automatically translate into high performance. Instead, the performance outcome is dependent on both the level of manufacturing capabilities and, even more importantly, how they are leveraged through the integration of customers, suppliers and the product development department.

This thesis contributes to the discourse on the role of manufacturing in two ways. First, the thesis investigates how competitive priorities impact the role of manufacturing capabilities in the supply chain. Second, this thesis explores how manufacturing capabilities influence the efficiency of integration. The main theoretical contribution is to develop and test the concept of manufacturing absorptive capacity within the context of manufacturing capabilities’ role in the supply chain. The thesis concludes that manufacturing capabilities are almost inevitably seen as strategic because they help firms integrate external sources more efficiently, thereby achieving performance improvement in terms of both operational efficiency and efficient product development. When the performance improvement corresponds with the prevailing competitive priority, the supply chain can be said to be effective. Manufacturing capabilities can thus act as a catalyst for effective supply chain management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2012. viii, 73 p.
Series
Trita-IEO, ISSN 1100-7982 ; 2011:08
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-11243 (URN)978-91-7501-212-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-01-20, Sal F3, Entréplan, Lindstedtsvägen 26, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-04-24 Created: 2012-01-09 Last updated: 2012-04-24Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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