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Who changes what, when and where? Elaborating postponement when integrating hardware and software objects in global supply chains

Lorenzo Bruno Prataviera (Centre for Logistics, Procurement, and Supply Chain Management, Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK)
Andreas Norrman (Division of Engineering Logistics, Faculty of Engineering, Lund University, Lund, Sweden)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 16 May 2024

Issue publication date: 30 May 2024

73

Abstract

Purpose

The postponement principle concerns defining when and where value is added, usually referring to hardware components for physical products. However, in modern supply chains, software’s importance is increasing, impacting the timing and location of value-adding operations. Lacking insights into software-driven implications for postponement, we aim at elaborating on the postponement principle by contextualizing its evolution when integrating different objects (i.e. hardware and software).

Design/methodology/approach

We adopted an abductive approach to elaborate on the existing knowledge with original empirical insights. A single-case study with four subcases allowed us to explore postponement dimensions in the context of a global high-tech enterprise offering products that integrate hardware and software objects. As global supply chains involve multiple jurisdictions with heterogeneous regulations, we also analyzed in depth the emerging fiscal and legal implications.

Findings

Besides where and when value is added, the study illustrates that deciding who (i.e. what legal entity) is carrying out what operation on what kind of object is highly important. Moreover, fiscal and legal implications for the various legal entities strongly depend on what operations are executed and in which jurisdiction (where). The study identifies critical interrelationships among postponement dimensions when integrating hardware and software objects, highlighting the importance of understanding and managing their reciprocity with the emerging fiscal and legal risks.

Originality/value

We elaborate on the postponement principle by contextualizing its applications when integrating hardware and software objects in global supply chains, which include multiple jurisdictions. By formalizing the impact of the who dimension, the study contributes to developing the interorganizational perspective for postponement. Moreover, it extends the traditional cost perspective for postponement beyond the trade-off between responsiveness and cost-efficiency, suggesting that firms applying global postponement should extend their focus to also examine fiscal and legal risks for all the legal entities involved.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Data availability statement: The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

Citation

Prataviera, L.B. and Norrman, A. (2024), "Who changes what, when and where? Elaborating postponement when integrating hardware and software objects in global supply chains", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 54 No. 4, pp. 355-391. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPDLM-06-2023-0222

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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