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Journal cover: International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Online from: 1971

Subject Area: Operations and Logistics Management

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Postponement strategy from a supply chain perspective: cases from China


Document Information:
Title:Postponement strategy from a supply chain perspective: cases from China
Author(s):Jeff Hoi Yan Yeung, (Department of Decision Sciences and Managerial Economics, Faculty of Business Administration, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China), Willem Selen, (Institute for Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia), Zhou Deming, (Department of Decision Sciences and Managerial Economics, Faculty of Business Administration, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China), Zhang Min, (Department of Decision Sciences and Managerial Economics, Faculty of Business Administration, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China)
Citation:Jeff Hoi Yan Yeung, Willem Selen, Zhou Deming, Zhang Min, (2007) "Postponement strategy from a supply chain perspective: cases from China", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 37 Iss: 4, pp.331 - 356
Keywords:China, Information exchange, Supplier relations, Supply chain management
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/09600030710752532 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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.



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