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Customer‐supplier duality and bidirectional supply chains in service organizations

Scott E. Sampson (Marriott School of Management, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA)

International Journal of Service Industry Management

ISSN: 0956-4233

Article publication date: 1 October 2000



Supply chains are quite easy to define for manufacturing organizations where each participant in the chain receives inputs from a set of suppliers, processes those inputs, and delivers them to a distinct set of customers. With service organizations, one of the primary suppliers of process inputs is customers themselves, who provide their bodies, minds, belongings, or information as inputs to the service processes. We refer to this concept of customers being suppliers as “customer‐supplier duality.” The duality implies that service supply chains are bidirectional, which is that production flows in both directions. This article explores the customer‐supplier duality as it pertains to supply chain management, including practical and managerial implications.



Sampson, S.E. (2000), "Customer‐supplier duality and bidirectional supply chains in service organizations", International Journal of Service Industry Management, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 348-364.




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