Impact of Product Characteristics on Supply Chains: An Analytical Literature Review

Impact of Product Characteristics on Supply Chains: An Analytical Literature Review

Anu Bask (Department of Information and Service Economy, Aalto University School of Business, Helsinki, Finland) and Markku Tinnilä (Department of Information and Service Economy, Aalto University School of Business, Helsinki, Finland)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/jal.2013010103

Abstract

Supply chains are typically considered to consist of many stages across several organizations starting from raw material sources through component production to manufacturing and further on via distribution operations to B-to-B customers and consumers. This paper focuses on analyzing product-related characteristics: what the characteristics mentioned in the literature are, and the impact they have on the structure and design of supply chains. The authors look at how product characteristics in general influence the design of supply chains, and their effect on different stages of supply chains. In the literature analysis, the focus is on examining the impact of product characteristics on supply chain strategy and structures, purchasing, manufacturing, distribution, and logistics services. Finally, they draw conclusions on the above. The contribution of this paper is twofold. Firstly, based on supply chain management literature, the authors propose a framework for analyzing the impact of product characteristics on supply chains. Secondly, at the end of the paper, they extend the framework by summarizing the key results pertaining to each supply chain management area under analysis. These include the characteristics of the main frameworks used in previous studies and the generic product characteristics used.
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Defining Supply Chain Management And A Framework For Analysis

Supply chains have been defined as consisting of vertically networked companies extending from raw material production to consumption by end-users. According to one of the first definitions given by Stevens (1989), a supply chain is a connected series of activities involving the planning, coordinating and controlling of materials, parts and finished goods in their journey from the supplier to the customer. It is concerned with two distinct flows – those of material and information – through the organization. Christopher (1992) also includes the service aspect in his definition, in which supply chains consist of networked organizations connected by up and downstream linkages, activities and processes to produce value in the form of products and services for ultimate customers.

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