Modularity in supply chains: a multiple case study in the construction industry

Hans Voordijk (Department of Construction Management and Engineering, Twente University, Enschede, The Netherlands)
Bert Meijboom (Department of Organisation and Strategy, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands)
Job de Haan (Department of Organisation and Strategy, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Publication date: 1 June 2006

Abstract

Purpose

The objective of this study is to assess the applicability of Fine's three‐dimensional modularity concept as a tool to describe and to analyze the alignment of product, process, and supply chain architectures. Fine claims that the degree of modularity in the final output product has a one‐to‐one correspondence with the degree of modularity in transformation processes and supply chains.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory three‐company case study is used to investigate Fine's three‐dimensional modularity concept.

Findings

Empirical research shows that Fine's three‐dimensional modularity concept works well for descriptive purposes. However, the concept needs refinement when it is used for analytical purposes. For process modularity, the spatial aspect can be related to the concept of the territorial economy of firms, while the time aspect can be elaborated using a product life‐cycle perspective and the concept of interface reversibility. With respect to supply chain modularity, the concept of modular production networks, which specifies combinations of different degrees of geographic, organizational, cultural, and electronic proximity, is appropriate. In the specific setting of the building industry, a methodology for developing product platform architectures would refine the dimension of product modularity.

Research limitations/implications

Starting from the above‐mentioned concepts, several strands of research are outlined for a further elaboration of product (developing a methodology for developing product platform architectures), process (taking a life‐cycle perspective on module development), and supply chain modularity (analyzing conditions for the application of modular networks).

Originality/value

The application of systematic engineering design methods, interface reversibility, and interorganizational ICT allows firms to align product, process, and supply chain modularity.

Keywords

Citation

Voordijk, H., Meijboom, B. and de Haan, J. (2006), "Modularity in supply chains: a multiple case study in the construction industry", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 26 No. 6, pp. 600-618. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443570610666966

Download as .RIS

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.