Vol. 45, No. 3
Development and Analysis of a Supply Chain Strategy Taxonomy
This research derives a numerical taxonomy that classifies manufacturers with similar combinations of supply chain (SC) capabilities into three SC Strategy Groups. This research also explores the relationship between the SC Strategy Groups and contextual factors, competitive priorities and firm performance. There are significant differences among the SC Strategy Groups for the location of the firm, the level of uncertainty, the competitiveness of the market and firm performance. Surprisingly, there is no relationship between the SC Strategy Groups and a firm's competitive priorities, indicating that firms often are not linking their SC strategy to their competitive strategy.
Kathleen McKone-Sweet, Ph.D., is Associate Professor in the Technology Operations and Information Management Division at Babson College, Babson Park, Massachusetts and
Yoo-Taek Lee, D.B.A., is Assistant Professor of Technology and Operations Management at Babson College, Babson Park, Massachusetts.
Special Topic Forum on Supply Networks: Theories and Models
Co-edited by Thomas Y. Choi, Arizona State University and
Kevin J. Dooley, Arizona State University
Triads in Services Outsourcing: Bridge, Bridge Decay and Bridge Transfer (invited paper)
Typically, a triad of actors is involved in any outsourcing situation: the buyer, the supplier, and the buyer's customer. In manufacturing, the buyer acts as a bridge between its supplier and its customer; and maintains this bridge position before, during and after the outsourcing. However, in services, the relationship structures among the three actors change before, during and after the outsourcing. Before outsourcing (i.e., during the contract negotiation stage), the buyer is the "bridge" between its supplier and its customer. During implementation, this bridge position begins to "decay" as its supplier comes in direct contact with the buyer's customer. Post-implementation, the bridge position is intended to be "transferred" to the supplier. However, if left unmanaged, this state of transferred bridge position has serious performance implications for the buyer. The supplier now is the bridge and thus enjoys the leverage inherent in being a bridge. This point has been missed in many services outsourcing ventures by major multinational corporations. To mitigate this effect, we propose that the buyer should continue to actively interact with its customer and closely monitor the supplier in order to prevent the supplier from solidifying its bridge position.
Mei Li is a Ph.D. candidate at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona and
Thomas Y. Choi, Ph.D., is Professor of Supply Chain Management/John G. and Barbara A. Bebbling Professor of Business at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.
Traceability and Normal Accident Theory: How Does Supply Network Complexity Influence the Traceability of Adverse Events?
In this paper, we develop theory about the relationship between supply network complexity and the traceability of adverse events. Because adverse events in complex supply networks are frequent and sometimes catastrophic, understanding how they happen is critical for the management of quality in complex supply networks. Drawing on literatures that deal with normal accidents, traceability, transparency and network complexity, we develop propositions that help explain how traceable adverse events will be in different types of supply networks. Drawing on examples from food supply networks, we illustrate the barriers to traceability associated with different types of complex network structure. We end by discussing managerial and academic implications for the design of traceability systems and supply networks.
Paul F. Skilton, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in the Morrison School of Management and Agribusiness at Arizona State University-Polytechnic in Mesa, Arizona and
Jessica L. Robinson is a Ph.D. candidate at Arizona State University-Polytechnic in Mesa, Arizona.
Investigating Population and Topological Evolution in a Complex Adaptive Supply Network (invited paper)
This paper investigates the dynamics of a complex adaptive supply network (CASN), focusing on understanding stability of the structural evolution of a supply network and supplier population emergence. Supply network evolution data collected from simulated responses of the U.S. automobile industry are used in multivariate statistics and time series analysis to identify patterns of network evolution. This analysis reveals that the type of environment in which a supply network evolves appears to be a major factor in determining the critical timing of structural changes during the evolution of a CASN. Further, time series analysis of firm population evolution highlights how supply networks evolve due to path dependencies in the CASN system. Information about these two aspects of supply network evolution can prove useful to a decision maker in determining how to respond to supply network changes.
Surya D. Pathak, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Operations Management in the Business Program at the University of Washington, Bothell, Washington,
David M. Dilts, Ph.D., is the Director of Clinical Research for the Knight Cancer Institute and Professor of Healthcare Management in the Division of Management at the Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon and
Sankaran Mahadevan, Ph.D., is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the Director of the Reliability and Risk Engineering/Management graduate program, at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee.