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Supply chain structures shaping portfolio of technologies: Exploring the impact of integration through the “dual arcs” framework

Vikram Bhakoo (Department of Management and Marketing, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)
Prakash Jagat Singh (Department of Management and Marketing, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)
Austin Chia (Department of Management and Marketing, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 5 May 2015

2159

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a better understanding of how the supply chain structure (i.e. degree of vertical integration) of a focal organization shapes the breadth of its portfolio of technologies.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, three case studies were conducted involving key players in the Australian mass grocery retail sector. Each had a distinct supply chain structure (i.e. totally vertically disintegrated, partially vertically integrated and totally vertically integrated). Each supply chain case study included manufacturers or suppliers, transport and logistics service providers, wholesalers/distributors, as well as the mass grocery retail organizations. Interviews with key personnel from these organizations and other relevant information informed the findings and conclusions.

Findings

The information technologies employed by the three focal case organizations and their extended trading partners varied in terms of level, type, complexity and sophistication. The authors highlight how the choice of supply chain technologies is affected by supply chain structure (extent of vertical integration). The authors found that disintegrated supply chain structures have a broader portfolio of technologies, whereas integrated supply chains have a narrow portfolio.

Research limitations/implications

This study is confined to three organizations in the Australian mass grocery retail sector, so any extensions should be made with caution.

Practical implications

The framework presented in this study can guide organizations in assessing the appropriateness of their supply chain portfolios of technologies with the structure of their supply chains. For standard setting bodies, the findings of this study suggest that technologies need to be tailored to the requirements of the supply chains, with the level of vertical integration being one easy way to segment the supply chain types.

Originality/value

The study adapts and extends the “arcs of integration” framework. The propositions enhance the understanding of how supply chain structure, in the form of degree of vertical integration influences an organization’s supply chain portfolio of technologies.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided by GS1 Australia and the Australian Research Council in funding this project. The authors are grateful to the organizations that participated in this study and GS1 Australia for providing access.

Citation

Bhakoo, V., Singh, P.J. and Chia, A. (2015), "Supply chain structures shaping portfolio of technologies: Exploring the impact of integration through the “dual arcs” framework", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 45 No. 4, pp. 376-399. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPDLM-12-2014-0298

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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