The influence of digital technologies on supply chain coordination strategies

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Purpose: This paper aims to investigate the impact of the strategic transformation of engineering to order company (ETO) at the level of the internal value-adding chain of operations on its position as a sub-supplier. The transformation is motivated and enabled by end-to-end business intelligence related to processes revolving around the product’s design, configuration and engineering. The investigation builds on case-based research following the company’s decision of converting its product portfolio to only one family of products, thus increasing process efficiency whilst at the same time enlarging its market reach by offering individualized and innovative products. By digitally integrating operations related to sales, product development and production preparation, the traditional trade-off between cost-effective solutions with high product variety and low lead-time is significantly reduced. Design/methodology/approach: A design science research project has been conducted to create knowledge on the effects of integration across the value-adding chain of operations. Several design cycles illustrate how development based on business intelligence and available technological enablers for inter-operation integration influence the traditional approach towards supply chain pipeline selection strategies. Findings: Relating to digital transformation, the consequences and means of adopting digital business intelligence for integrating several administrative and engineering operations in small-medium enterprises (SME) are studied. The product delivery performance of the SME is improved, thus, having ETO lead-time comparable to manufacturing to order company. The findings show how the adoption of state-of-the-art technological solutions for cross-operation digital integration challenges traditional supply chain, coordination models. Research limitations/implications: The conclusions are drawn based on a single case. The limitations associated with case-based research call for further work to support generalization. Furthermore, the long-term influence of the effects of increased interoperability on supply chain coordination strategies requires further investigation. Practical implications: As technological solutions evolve, new opportunities for supply chain management arise, which put into question the traditional understanding that complex supply chain pipeline characteristics should be handled by complexity reducing initiatives, which opens up new competitive opportunities for companies in high-cost countries. Social implications: Enabling the use of human resources towards expanding the business (rather than running it only) are aligned with the current economic and political situation in high-cost countries like Denmark and potentially releases skilled employees from repetitive and low value-adding work and reengages them in business development. Originality/value: By embracing flexibility and volatility as an opportunity, this publication exemplifies how to move beyond hedging the supply chain volatility, but systematically enable the supply chain to deal with complexity efficiently.

TidsskriftJournal of Global Operations and Strategic Sourcing
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)636-658
Antal sider23
StatusUdgivet - 19 aug. 2021


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