To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

A comparative study of manufacturing and service sector supply chain integration via the uncertainty circle model

James Aitken (University of Surrey, Guildford, UK)
Paul Childerhouse (School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, Massey University, Auckland/ Palmerston North, New Zealand)
Eric Deakins (Department of Management Systems, Waikato University, Hamilton, New Zealand)
Denis Towill (Business School LSDG, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)

The International Journal of Logistics Management

ISSN: 0957-4093

Article publication date: 9 May 2016



The purpose of this paper is to investigate the differences and similarities between the manufacturing and services sectors in order to develop a methodology that can provide the opportunity for the transfer of best practice between the two sectors. This paper aims to describe an audit methodology capable of yielding objective comparisons of supply chain integration performance that can assist practitioners and academics to transfer learned solutions.


A robust, site-based, multi-method supply chain diagnostic for detecting manufacturing supply chain system uncertainty was amended for the service sector in order to yield objective comparisons of the (normalised) supply chain integration performances of 119 organisations.


The research confirms the value of using a lens enabled by the uncertainty circle model (UCM) for generating meaningful comparative supply chain performances. The research found that services do not always exhibit unique attributes which effectively bar manufacturing-based supply chain best practice from being adopted within the service sector.


Combining the UCM and Quick Scan Audit Methodology approach has the potential to assist the spread of proven good practice across both sectors. The framework provides realistic and repeatable performance vectors, capable of aligning estimates of value stream health status even when comparing supply chains with differing objectives, configurations, and performance goals.



Aitken, J., Childerhouse, P., Deakins, E. and Towill, D. (2016), "A comparative study of manufacturing and service sector supply chain integration via the uncertainty circle model", The International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 188-205.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited