Supply chain management practices in toy supply chains

Chee Yew Wong (Center for Industrial Production, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark)
Jan Stentoft Arlbjørn (University of Southern Denmark, Engstein, Denmark)
John Johansen (Center for Industrial Production, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Publication date: 1 December 2005



Innovative products usually experience highly unpredictable and variable demand. This is especially valid for the volatile and seasonal toy industry, which produces high obsolete inventory, lost sales and markdown. In such a volatile industry, what supply chain management (SCM) practices are applicable and effective? This study seeks to explore SCM practices, and identify practical and theoretical gaps in toy supply chains.


This article includes a longitudinal and in‐depth case study during the past year in an international toy manufacturer, which includes qualitative semi‐structured interviews and questionnaire with 11 main European toy retailers.


The study concludes that there are three main SCM practices for toy retailers in terms of ordering behaviours (one‐off, JIT, and mixed model), and one dominated SCM practice for toy manufacturers (traditional mass‐production or push‐models). These low‐responsive practices in the toy supply chain are not caused only by slow knowledge diffusion. SCM know‐how is not yet capable of managing such levels of volatility and seasonality. Therefore, explanations of these theoretical gaps and what new theories are required for such extreme volatility and seasonality are proposed.


It reveals actual SCM practices in a volatile and seasonal supply chain, such that theoretical and practical gaps are identified. Also, it proposes a model to match manufacturing SCM‐practices with retailer SCM‐practices.



Yew Wong, C., Stentoft Arlbjørn, J. and Johansen, J. (2005), "Supply chain management practices in toy supply chains", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 10 No. 5, pp. 367-378.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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