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Article
Publication date: 6 September 2019

Qun Wu, Kun Liao, Xiaodong Deng and Erika Marsillac

Previous literature tends to combine postponement and modularity or view them as parallel factors to achieve mass customization (MC) while ignoring the sequence of a firm…

Abstract

Purpose

Previous literature tends to combine postponement and modularity or view them as parallel factors to achieve mass customization (MC) while ignoring the sequence of a firm to design and implement operations and supply chain strategy. Based on a customer-oriented strategy and theories of organizational information processing theory, three-dimensional (3D) concurrent engineering and resource dependency, the purpose of this paper is to propose a sequential model reflecting the sequence of practices as well as an overview picture for a firm to achieve MC.

Design/methodology/approach

The model links three company antecedents – postponement orientation, operational alignment and information sharing, to three company supply chain practices – product and process modularity and supplier segmentation. These practices, in turn, lead to the company’s MC capabilities. The proposed model is tested with a data set collected from automotive suppliers in China and in the USA. Structural equation modeling is used to analyze the data and test the model.

Findings

The results suggest that, for suppliers to achieve MC, postponement orientation and operational alignment are vital antecedents. The results also reveal the important responsibility and role of information sharing practices in coordinating suppliers’ modularity practices.

Originality/value

This research provides three findings that are of value to both academicians and practitioners of supply chain management. First, this study originally proposed and empirically tested that a postponement orientation is an antecedent of product and process modularity and supplier segmentation to achieve MC in the automotive sector, contrary to the traditional view of parallel relationships for both. Second, it developed and verified measures of operational alignment and supplier segmentation for future research use. Third, the vital role of information sharing to coordinate internal and external supply chain practices to achieve MC is empirically supported.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 31 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2017

Seong-Jong Joo, Philipp A. Stoeberl, Kun Liao and Ke Ke

The purpose of this paper is to identify the efficiency scores of branches and districts, the sources of inefficiency for branches and projections of variables for…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the efficiency scores of branches and districts, the sources of inefficiency for branches and projections of variables for inefficient branches. It measures the comparative performance of branches of a credit union for internal benchmarking.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper measures the performance of 35 branches of a credit union in the USA and suggests managerial insights. Data envelopment analysis is used for measuring the relative performance of the branches and districts of the credit union. The paper also compares performance differences among the districts using non-parametric statistical analyses.

Findings

Parts of the findings indicated that branches should focus on cost containment by reducing operating expenses and increasing their loan balances. In addition, districts were operated in different market conditions, which were evidenced by scale efficiency. The major contributions of the study are filling the void of benchmarking studies at a branch level in the credit union sector, suggesting a framework for internal benchmarking, and providing practical insights to managers of credit unions. The framework of this study can be applied to similar financial institutions with minor revisions.

Research limitations/implications

The limitation of this study is found in the use of cross-sectional data, which is mainly due to the sensitivity of information disclosure of the credit union.

Practical implications

The paper includes implications for the development of benchmarking studies at a branch level in the credit union sector.

Originality/value

This paper fulfills an identified need to study how to identify source of inefficiencies so as to further improve the efficiency of branches.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 24 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Article
Publication date: 8 February 2011

Kun Liao, Erika Marsillac, Eldon Johnson and Ying Liao

The purpose of this paper is to understand and describe the conditions that compel and underscore global supply chain (SC) adaptations.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand and describe the conditions that compel and underscore global supply chain (SC) adaptations.

Design/methodology/approach

Insights from contingency theory, Porter's economic cluster theory and international factory mapping are used to analyze the SC adaptations that follow when an automotive firm moves from a domestic to a global SC.

Findings

An automotive global SC adaptation includes market entry considerations, the establishment of a three‐stage flexible time‐ and production‐based supplier network plan, and the integration of logistics partners.

Research limitations/implications

SC adaptations are an important consideration for any manufacturing expansion effort, especially international ones. Varying production levels impact supplier relationships and decisions and may result in varied supplier perspectives. Government regulations influence entry and routine decisions, while logistics issues and costs play an integral role in supplier perceptions and reactions.

Practical implications

With the rapid expansion of the Chinese auto market, entering manufacturing firms need more information about how to strategically locate, and develop and support supplier networks. A stepped supplier network establishment approach optimizes benefits for both manufacturing firm and suppliers. Evaluating and integrating logistics issues also sets the stage for future expansion efforts at optimal cost and supplier support.

Originality/value

The internationalization of the automotive SC involves adaptations that can only be successful through advance planning, strategic supplier networking, and systematic logistics integration.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2010

Ying Liao, Kun Liao and Robert Hutchinson

The purpose of this paper is to propose a conceptual framework for prototyping outsourcing.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a conceptual framework for prototyping outsourcing.

Design/methodology/approach

This study provides an up‐to‐date literature review and an in‐depth case study.

Findings

This study identifies three factors (i.e. the degree of the prototyping to core competence, prototyping complexity, and supplier's capability of providing knowledge and speed for prototyping) and three types of risks (i.e. losing control over suppliers, dependency on suppliers, and supplier's lack of capabilities) for prototyping outsourcing decisions.

Practical implications

This paper provides guidelines for new product development managers in order to mitigate the risks associated with outsourcing and achieve effective prototyping.

Originality/value

This study provides a strategic outsourcing framework for prototyping.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 26 April 2011

Kun Liao, Zhongming Ma, Johnny Jiung‐Yee Lee and Ke Ke

Trust is essential for business relationships within a supply chain, and information sharing provides a key means to improve the efficiency of a supply chain. The purpose…

Abstract

Purpose

Trust is essential for business relationships within a supply chain, and information sharing provides a key means to improve the efficiency of a supply chain. The purpose of this paper is to test empirically the relationship between trust and manufacturer‐supplier information sharing to determine its (positive) effect on mass customization.

Design/methodology/approach

The data come from 208 firms in North America and China. Structural equation modeling supports the data analysis.

Findings

The results suggest that high mutual trust can lead to free information sharing between suppliers and manufacturers, which in turn leads to improved mass customization capabilities. In addition, cultural differences have significant moderating effects on the relationship between trust and information sharing.

Originality/value

The study described in this paper measures mutual trust between manufacturers and suppliers and regards information sharing as the free flow of information, both to and from the manufacturer and supplier.

Details

Management Research Review, vol. 34 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8269

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 2 October 2007

Kun Liao and Paul Hong

The purpose of this article is to address critical issues on how a global enterprise establishes an effective supply network. The example of a Japanese firm operating in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to address critical issues on how a global enterprise establishes an effective supply network. The example of a Japanese firm operating in China illustrates a supplier portfolio entry model that has not previously been examined in the literature.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper proposes a research model based on theories of resource dependency and supplier networks. The model shows how profit optimization is achieved through a series of decisions that build an effective supplier network.

Findings

The concept of portfolio management is useful in optimizing profits through a supplier network.

Research limitations/implications

This research is based on a single case in one country, so it has limited validity. Further studies are also needed to examine more complex cases in multiple countries.

Practical implications

The leading enterprise (e.g. original equipment manufacturer) may effectively build its global network by strategically applying the key features of the supplier portfolio model.

Originality/value

Practitioners and academics may gain new insights into how a global enterprise was able to build an effective supplier network in China.

Details

Journal of Enterprise Information Management, vol. 20 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0398

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2008

Kun Liao and Qiang Tu

This paper aims to address the differing impacts of automation and integration on manufacturing performance (MP) under different levels of environmental uncertainty.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to address the differing impacts of automation and integration on manufacturing performance (MP) under different levels of environmental uncertainty.

Design/methodology/approach

Responses from 303 companies are analyzed and presented.

Findings

Under industrial (low uncertainty) environment, manufacturing system automation has significant positive impact on MP, while the impact of manufacturing system integration is not significant. Under post‐industrial (high uncertainty) environment, manufacturing system integration has significant positive impact on MP, while the impact of manufacturing system automation is not significant.

Research limitations/implications

This paper emphasizes manufacturing strategy responses to different uncertainty levels of environment; either manufacturing system integration strategy or manufacturing system automation strategy plays the primary role for a manufacturing firm to achieve high performance under different uncertainty levels.

Practical implications

This paper strongly supports that the key to effective management of automation technology is to improve manufacturing system integration before implementation under high uncertain environment.

Originality/value

This paper is one of the first large‐scale empirical studies to address the differing impacts of automation and integration on MP under different levels of environmental uncertainty (EU). Another contribution of this study is the development of valid and reliable measurement instruments for MP and EU, which can be widely used in other manufacturing technology management studies.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 19 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2010

Kun Liao, Qiang Tu and Erika Marsillac

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impacts of modularity‐based manufacturing practices (MBMP) and manufacturing system integration (MSI) on manufacturing…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impacts of modularity‐based manufacturing practices (MBMP) and manufacturing system integration (MSI) on manufacturing performance (MP) using absorptive capacity as an important enabling factor.

Design/methodology/approach

Constructs were developed through a comprehensive literature review. Structural equation modeling was used to test the research model and hypotheses based on a large sample of 303 US manufacturing firms.

Findings

Both MBMP and MSI have significant impacts on MP. The positive effects of MBMP on MP are stronger than those of system integration. The absorptive capacity of a firm facilitates better use of modularity practices and system integration.

Practical implications

More attention should be given to modularity practices in resource allocation planning. Also, system integration together with modularity practices can generate significantly higher MP.

Originality/value

The paper is the first large‐scale empirical study to examine the effects of absorptive capacity on MSI and MBMP, which in turn impacts MP. Furthermore, the findings empirically support that a combination strategy of modularity and system integration can help manufacturing firms to achieve higher performance.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 21 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 6 July 2012

Kun Liao, Thomas W. Sharkey, T.S. Ragu‐Nathan and Mark Vonderembse

The purpose of this paper is to identify relationships among buyer‐supplier trust, joint operational activities, and the degree of mass customization as well as the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify relationships among buyer‐supplier trust, joint operational activities, and the degree of mass customization as well as the interactions between cultural factors (i.e. long‐term strategic alignment and autonomy) and trust in the context of supply chain management.

Design/methodology/approach

The model of trust is based on joint operational activities and mass customization using theories of social capital and the resource‐based view of the firm. Also, culture‐related antecedents of trust are identified. Based on 208 responses from suppliers in the USA and China, this study uses structural equation modeling to test the hypotheses.

Findings

This study empirically supports the notion that trust positively drives manufacturer‐supplier activities in operations. It also supports the claim that joint operational activities contribute to mass customization capabilities in a significant way. Moreover, two culture‐related antecedents are found to be significantly related to trust.

Research limitations/implications

The sample is limited to the auto industry in North America and China. As in other supply chain studies, individual respondents may have somewhat limited information about different aspects of their company's supply chain.

Practical implications

In general, it appears that trust is important in determining mass customization capabilities regardless of culture. For practitioners, long‐term strategic alignment is more important for firms to increase trust than autonomy although both can significantly increase the level of trust between buyer and supplier.

Originality/value

Long‐term strategic alignment and autonomy are identified as antecedents of trust and empirically supported.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 19 no. 4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 January 2013

Abstract

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 24 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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