Postponement strategy from a supply chain perspective: cases from China

Jeff Hoi Yan Yeung, Willem Selen, Zhou Deming, Min Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose – This research widens the scope of the use of postponement by addressing how the generic supply chain structure and information sharing/relationship among supply chain actors affects the postponement decision, based on empirical data of Chinese manufacturers in the Pearl River Delta. Design/methodology/approach – Case analysis, cross-case comparisons, semi-structured interviews. Findings – A cross-case analysis including study of the downstream structure, downstream relationship, upstream structure, upstream relationship, production method and inventory position produced a postponement classification into five categories: balanced structure without customer information; customer dominated; manufacturer dominated; balanced structure with loose suppliers, and finally virtual supply chain. Based on this classification, two propositions are postulated: when a supply chain has a balanced structure, it should use speculation or production postponement. When the supply chain has an unbalanced structure, it should use purchasing postponement or product development postponement. Research limitations/implications – This study is exploratory in nature, and more empirical data is needed to further validate the postulated results. Another limitation of the study is in its measurement of postponement, measured in this instance by the production method and inventory positions used. Other characteristics of postponement may be included in future research. Practical implications – This research has extended the scope of the use of postponement by addressing how the generic supply chain structure and information sharing/relationship among supply chain actors affects the postponement decision. Originality/value – Addresses postponement on the level of the supply chain, rather than company-level. Addresses how the supply chain structure (balanced/unbalanced) and information sharing/relationship among supply chain actors affect the postponement decision.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-356
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management
Volume37
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

Emerald Literati Network 2008 Highly Commended Award

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