The articulation of supply networks, as an extension of supply chains, seeks to accommodate and explain the commercial complexity associated with the creation and delivery of goods and services from the source of raw materials to their destination in end-customer markets. In place of the simplistic, linear and unidirectional model sometimes presented for supply chains, the supply network concept describes lateral links, reverse loops, two-way exchanges and so on, encompassing the upstream and downstream activity, with a focal firm as the point of reference. A review of classifications of supply networks reveals that none of the existing approaches appears adequate for managers facing the practical problems of creating and operating them on a day-to-day basis. This research identifies differing emphases that may be required for managing within supply networks, according to the nature of the products for which they are created. Taking an established categorisation of supply chains as its starting point, the research first develops the conceptual basis, using strategy literature, and then tests the resultant initial model in 16 case studies. Finally, a new categorisation for supply networks is presented, using the type of product as a differentiator.
International Journal of Operations & Production Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 1, 2000
Keywords: Product innovation; Supply‐chain management; Classification
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