Supply chain management integration: a critical analysis

Dag Näslund (Department of Management, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, USA and Department of Industrial Management and Logistics, Lund University, Lund, Sweden)
Hana Hulthen (Department of Industrial Management and Logistics, Lund University, Lund, Sweden)

Benchmarking: An International Journal

ISSN: 1463-5771

Publication date: 6 July 2012



The purpose of this paper is to examine various aspects of integration in order to structure and define the concept of supply chain management integration.


The study is based on an extensive literature review in three steps and a series of interviews with leading supply chain management (SCM) consulting firms.


The authors found limited empirical research discussing SCM integration beyond the dyadic level and there is a lack of empirical evidence supporting the claimed benefits of supply chain management integration, especially beyond the dyadic level. There is also a lack of detailed frameworks and concrete recommendations for how supply chains can become more integrated. In fact, there is significant confusion regarding the term SCM integration and thus the paper proposes a definition of supply chain management integration.

Research limitations/implications

In terms of limitations, it is feasible that an extended literature review could have provided additional information. Similarly, additional interviews would have been preferable, yet given the level of expertise; and the access granted, the authors believe the current number of respondents is sufficient.

Practical implications

The findings, and the authors' effort to structure and define the term supply chain management integration, can facilitate organizational developments in this area.


Academic literature suggests that integration is a requirement for supply chain management. However, integrated supply chain management is difficult to define and it seems hard to operationalize in practice. It could also be argued that there has been a significant amount of hype regarding the potential as well as the results of SCM integration.



Dag Näslund and Hana Hulthen (2012) "Supply chain management integration: a critical analysis", Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 19 No. 4/5, pp. 481-501

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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