Developing Market Specific Supply Chain Strategies

Martin Christopher, Denis R. Towill
2002 International Journal of Logistics Management  
This paper examines the issues underlying the appropriate matching of pipelines to marketplace needs under conditions of demand volatility and price pressure. It describes a scenario where the philosophy of "one size fits all" does not apply to pipeline design, implementation, and control. The paper reports on research conducted by the authors and others on how appropriate global supply chain strategies can be developed contingent upon market characteristics and which seek simultaneously to
more » ... eve higher levels of customer responsiveness at less total cost to the supply chain as a whole. The selection of the right strategy within a supply chain lends itself to a taxonomic approach. We find that three dimensions (leading to eight possible configurations) are adequate for this purpose. These key dimensions are product characteristics, demand characteristics and replenishment lead-time. Over the last decade or so, there has emerged a view that recognises that the route to competitive advantage lies through the supply chain. Indeed, it has been suggested that "supply chains compete, not companies" (1). The idea being that the unique set of relations that typify the web of inter-connections between organisations in a network enable the achievement of competitive advantage through lower costs and/or greater differentiation. Because of the complexity of todays supply chains, due in part to out-sourcing and globalisation, the way in which these relationships are structured and managed can make the difference between profit and loss. As McCullen and Towill (2) have shown, globalisation of supply chains compounds the logistical problem along three dimensions. These are replenishment level; time; and distance. Hence a marketplace ripple can be amplified and distorted as it passes pp1-14
doi:10.1108/09574090210806324 fatcat:zfk4hjnyqvauzbkjet6qqkvfnq