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The impact of product complexity and variety on supply chain integration

Yongyi Shou (School of Management, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China)
Ying Li (School of Management, Shandong University, Jinan, China)
Young Won Park (Faculty of Economics, Saitama University, Saitama, Japan) (Manufacturing Management Research Center, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan)
Mingu Kang (School of Management, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 2 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to examine the antecedents of supply chain integration (SCI) at the product level. More specifically, it aims to show the relationship between product-level characteristics (i.e. product complexity and product variety) and different dimensions of SCI (i.e. internal, supplier and customer integration).


A survey-based research design is developed to measure different dimensions of SCI, product complexity and product variety. The authors use structural equation modelling to test the related hypotheses.


This research shows that internal integration is an enabler to supplier and customer integration. The results also show that under high product complexity, firms tend to implement internal and supplier integration, while product complexity does not have a direct impact on customer integration. Product variety is confirmed to be positively related to all dimensions of SCI.


This paper contributes to the SCI literature by first, providing empirical evidence which supports the study of the product design-supply chain interface; and second, exploring the relationships between product complexity, variety and internal, supplier and customer integration based on a governance view.



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant Number 71472166, The Fundamental Research Funds of Shandong University, and Shandong Provincial Social Science Foundation Grant Number 16CGLJ13.


Shou, Y., Li, Y., Park, Y.W. and Kang, M. (2017), "The impact of product complexity and variety on supply chain integration", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 47 No. 4, pp. 297-317.



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