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Supply chain integration and performance: US versus East Asian companies

Suhaiza Zailani (School of Management, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia)
Premkumar Rajagopal (School of Management, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 1 December 2005




Though there is a wide acceptance of the strategic importance of integrating operations with suppliers and customers in the supply chain, many questions remain unanswered about how best to characterize supply chain strategies. Is it more important to link with suppliers, customers, or both? Similarly, little is known about the connections between supplier and customer integration and improved operations performance. This article seeks to investigate supplier and customer integration strategies by comparing US and East Asian companies. It is of paramount interest to find out how these strategies actually differ and affect performance of the companies.


This was carried out in three phases. In the first phase, a number of operations‐management related journals were skimmed to select about 30 research articles related to supply chain concepts and practices. In the second phase, investigation efforts narrowed down to supply chain management research conducted in East Asia and the USA. In the third phase, comparisons were made between East Asian and US companies' indicators of supply chain integration and performance.


The need to react to market changes and the critical role of the supply chain in meeting this need, and the potential benefits of integrating the supply chain, can no longer be ignored. This potential, however, will be realized only if the interrelationships among different parts of the supply chain are recognized, and proper alignment is ensured between the design and execution of the company's competitive strategy.

Practical implications

The implications for article findings on future research and practice in the new millennium are considered.


The aim is to recommend these findings to companies which are still at the infancy stage when it comes to supply chain management and integration with customers and suppliers.



Zailani, S. and Rajagopal, P. (2005), "Supply chain integration and performance: US versus East Asian companies", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 10 No. 5, pp. 379-393.



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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited