How to design the right supply chains for your customers

Jari Collin (Elisa, Helsinki, Finland)
Eero Eloranta (Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Helsinki University of Technology, Espoo, Finland)
Jan Holmström (Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Helsinki University of Technology, Espoo, Finland)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Publication date: 25 September 2009



This paper aims to present an approach that two leading supply chain companies have used to identify and design alternative supply chain solutions according to their customers' demand chains.


The paper describes industry best practice.


The supplier of telecommunications equipment found that by deploying three different supply chains that corresponded to three types of customers' demand chains it could simultaneously improve customer satisfaction and effectiveness. The supplier of fasteners found it could serve its different industrial customers with essentially two supply chain designs.

Research limitations/implications

This is a practical best practice description and does not aim to contribute to academic research. However, there are no academic contributions on procedures for supply chain re‐design according to customer demand chains. Thus, the best practice described in the paper implies a need for research on this type of supply chain customization.

Practical implications

Customer requirements and collaboration capabilities can be systematically taken into consideration in supply chain designs.


The paper presents a practical approach for taking both product characteristics and customer differences into account in supply chain re‐design.



Collin, J., Eloranta, E. and Holmström, J. (2009), "How to design the right supply chains for your customers", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 14 No. 6, pp. 411-417.

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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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