C 2009, The Author 2009, Decision Sciences Institute
Supply Chain Strategy, Product Characteristics, and Performance Impact: Evidence from Chinese Manufacturers∗ Yinan Qi†
University of International Business and Economics, School of Business, No. 10, Huixing Dongjie, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China, 100029; e-mail: email@example.com
Kenneth K. Boyer
Management Sciences Department, Fisher College of Business, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 43210, e-mail: Boyer_9@osu.edu
Department of Decision Sciences and Managerial Economics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Leung Kau Kui Building, CUHK, Shatin, Hong Kong, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Supply chain management has become one of the most popular approaches to enhance the global competitiveness of business corporations today. Firms must have clear strategic thinking in order to effectively organize such complicated activities, resources, communications, and processes. An emerging body of literature offers a framework that identiﬁes three kinds of supply chain strategies: lean strategy, agile strategy, and lean/agile strategy based on in-depth case studies. Extant research also suggests that supply chain strategies must be matched with product characteristics in order for ﬁrms to achieve better performance. This article investigates supply chain strategies and empirically tests the supply chain strategy model that posits lean, agile, and lean/agile approaches using data collected from 604 manufacturing ﬁrms in China. Cluster analyses of the data indicate that Chinese ﬁrms are adopting a variation of lean, agile, and lean/agile supply chain strategies identiﬁed in the western literature. However, the data reveal that some ﬁrms have a traditional strategy that does not emphasize either lean or agile principles. These ﬁrms perform worse than ﬁrms that have a strategy focused on lean, agile, or lean/agile supply chain. The strategies are examined with respect to product characteristics and ﬁnancial and operational performance. The article makes signiﬁcant contributions to the supply chain management literature by examining the supply chain strategies used by Chinese ﬁrms. In addition, this work empirically tests the applicability of supply chain strategy models that have not been rigorously tested empirically or in the fast-growing Chinese economy.
∗ This research is supported by a research grant from “211” Key Disciplines Development Project of University of International Business and Economics (project #73200033), an RGC Direct allocation grant (project #2070386), and a research fund from Center for Supply Chain Management and Logistics, Li & Fung Institute of Supply Chain Management and Logistics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. † Corresponding
Supply Chain Strategy and Product Characteristics
Subject Areas: Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), Cluster Analysis, Product Characteristics, Strategic Management, and Supply Chain Design. INTRODUCTION Today’s competition is not between autonomous business entities, but between integrated supply chains (Lambert & Cooper, 2000). Therefore, supply chain management has received increasing attention from practitioners and academia. Effectively managing the ﬂow of materials from supply sources to the ultimate customer represents a major challenge for today’s managers (Mabert & Venkataramanan, 1998). Thus, ﬁrms need to posses a clear strategic planning in order to effectively organize such complicated activities, resources, communications, and processes. Prior research has identiﬁed three major supply chain strategies: lean, agile, and lean/agile strategies (Christopher, 2000; Christopher & Towill, 2000; Bruce, Daly, & Towers, 2004; Yusuf, Gunasekaran, Adeleye, & Sivayoganathan, 2004). Research on supply chain strategy is closely linked with product characteristics. For...