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Educational supply chain management: a case study

Antonio K.W. Lau (Based in the Department of Manufacturing Engineering and Engineering Management, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, China)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 6 February 2007




The purpose of this paper is to implement the philosophy of supply chain management in the current higher education environment so as to suggest innovative management ideas in higher education management.


This paper conducted an in‐depth case study approach in a university. This study follows Yin's approach to interview the personnel of a supply chain department and collected the university documents.


The study identified three supply chains of the university, i.e. commodity, special requested and outsourcing supply chains. Rearrangements of the existing supply chain are suggested to further improve the efficiency and effectiveness of higher education.

Research limitations/implications

This research, which used a case study approach to examine a university, affects the research generalization. This research, which qualitatively reviewed the supply chain management in a university, failed to obtain objective instruments of the supply chain performance in the university.

Practical implications

Two innovative ideas for managing the supply chain in the higher education environment are explored. The findings provide interesting and innovative ways for the manager in the education section to review their works.


From an academic perspective, this research may be an innovative way to implement the latest business management philosophy into the higher education environment. This connects education management with general business management. From a managerial perspective, this research provides education management a new way to understand how supply chain management impacts on the performance of a university. It also identifies unanswered questions for further study.



Lau, A.K.W. (2007), "Educational supply chain management: a case study", On the Horizon, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 15-27.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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