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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2017

Juneho Um

A trade-off exists between product variety and supply chain (SC) performance. To help mitigate the impact on SC of increased product variety, the purpose of this paper is…

Abstract

Purpose

A trade-off exists between product variety and supply chain (SC) performance. To help mitigate the impact on SC of increased product variety, the purpose of this paper is to examine how variety management activities including variety management strategy (VMS), supplier partnerships and close customer relationships affect SC flexibility and agility at different levels of customisation.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey-research methodology is employed using data from 363 manufacturing firms from the UK and South Korea. In particular, cluster analysis and structural equation modelling were used to evaluate the proposed model according to the level of customisation.

Findings

The results suggest that internal variety management strategy and external SC integration have a positive influence on SC flexibility and agility. Customer relationships and variety management strategies influence SC flexibility more than partnerships with suppliers whereas variety management strategies and partnerships with suppliers influence SC agility more than customer relationships. In fact, for external integration in particular, customer relationships influence SC flexibility (i.e. reaction capability) rather than agility (i.e. reaction time) whereas partnerships with suppliers influence SC agility rather than flexibility. In a high-customisation context, close customer relationships are the most effective way to increase SC flexibility, whereas partnerships with suppliers are the most effective way to increase SC agility. In a low-customisation context, a VMS and customer relationships are the most effective way to increase both SC flexibility and agility.

Originality/value

This paper suggests key variety management activities to aid managers to better manage product variety ambitions in SC under varying customisation profiles through internal and external approaches.

Details

The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 28 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1998

Giovani Da Silveira

This study introduces a framework for the management of product variety in strategy and operations. It combines the analysis of five case studies in the UK and Brazil with…

Abstract

This study introduces a framework for the management of product variety in strategy and operations. It combines the analysis of five case studies in the UK and Brazil with a research background based on the existing literature. The framework describes the elements and steps involved in the process of dealing with product variety needs in manufacturing systems. The results suggest how operations management should evaluate the gaps between the importance and performance of product variety to develop appropriate adaptive and flexibility measures when dealing with product variety requirements in operations and strategy.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 9 February 2010

Luiz Felipe Scavarda, Andreas Reichhart, Silvio Hamacher and Matthias Holweg

The need for an efficient provision of product variety has been widely established as a means of competing in the marketplace, yet previous studies into the management of…

Abstract

Purpose

The need for an efficient provision of product variety has been widely established as a means of competing in the marketplace, yet previous studies into the management of product variety have commonly analysed products in isolated developed markets. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how firms manage their product variety in emerging markets. This paper aims to investigate the rationale underlying the restriction of variety in such settings, and define general mechanisms by which firms can adapt their product variety when operating in both emerging and developed markets simultaneously.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses the case of a global vehicle manufacturer that offers common products across developed and emerging markets to illustrate the difference between them in terms of product variety, and examine the process that underlies its management. The paper utilises a combination of data collection techniques.

Findings

The paper shows empirically how product variety (in particular ex factory variety) is restricted in emerging markets, as one would expect, and it identifies the mechanisms by which product variety is managed across different markets. The paper further illustrates how emerging markets have developed secondary coping mechanisms to deliver additional variety through late configuration in the distribution system.

Originality/value

By examining the differential management of product variety in emerging and developed markets, the findings yield several novel aspects by providing both empirical evidence and explanations for the restriction of product variety in emerging markets.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2005

Jo Bramham, Bart MacCarthy and Jane Guinery

Manufacturers across many sectors increasingly operate in high variety environments. Research evidence suggests that variety has a negative impact on performance. However…

Abstract

Purpose

Manufacturers across many sectors increasingly operate in high variety environments. Research evidence suggests that variety has a negative impact on performance. However, the research literature is limited on the enablers that allow variety to be managed effectively and efficiently at the “front‐end” of an organisation and in quotation processes in particular.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents case analysis of the quotation processes from manufacturers operating in high‐variety environments. Qualitative process modelling tools have been developed to allow representation of process complexities and informal process elements.

Findings

Findings are presented on generic mechanisms for absorbing and mitigating the impact of variety on quotation processes. A generic quotation process model is presented comprising four key decisions centres: customization request initiation and information gathering on customer needs, classification of requests, resource control, and identification of information for reuse.

Practical implications

The implications of the study for the automation of quotation processes in high variety and mass customization environments are discussed and it is speculated that different decision centres will dominate in different environments.

Originality/value

The generic model developed by this research offers insight into the functioning of the core process elements of the quotation system. Reviewing an organisation's structure and the information systems infrastructure supporting these decision centres should lead to the identification of potential system or reorganisation improvements.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2020

Victor Santos, Mauro Sampaio and Dario Henrique Alliprandini

The impact of product variety decisions on fill rate, inventory and sales performance in a consumer goods company has been examined. From a marketing perspective, it is…

Abstract

Purpose

The impact of product variety decisions on fill rate, inventory and sales performance in a consumer goods company has been examined. From a marketing perspective, it is possible to leverage sales, reach new segments and consequently increase competitiveness when there is a greater product variety on the market. However, operations and logistics professionals indicate potential impacts on the supply chain, such as production, storage and distribution complexity. The nature of the product variety-cost-sales performance relationship is not clear, and empirical evidence about whether and how operations cost and sales performance increases with variety is inconclusive.

Design/methodology/approach

The multiple linear regression and the Tobit regression techniques were applied over a seven-year horizon of data from a business intelligence platform of a consumer goods company.

Findings

Our results show that sales performance is negatively associated with product variety. The total effect of product variety on sales performance has been examined, including both the direct effect and the indirect effect through inventory and fill rate. Therefore, the findings provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of product variety on operations and sales performance.

Originality/value

Several studies have researched the impact of product variety on fill rate, inventory and sales performance separately; however, the research of the impact and the relationship of these factors is scarce and limited.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 31 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article
Publication date: 16 March 2010

Margherita Pero, Nizar Abdelkafi, Andrea Sianesi and Thorsten Blecker

The purpose of this paper is to develop a framework that explains how new product development and supply chain variables are related to one another and how they affect performance.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a framework that explains how new product development and supply chain variables are related to one another and how they affect performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The insights from literature and an exploratory case study are combined to develop an alignment framework, which is then tested using a multiple case study design.

Findings

Variety, modularity, and innovativeness are the product features that are taken into account when studying alignment. From the supply chain viewpoint, configuration, collaboration, and coordination complexities are the variables that matter. Innovativeness is found to have a stronger effect than variety on supply chain complexity. In addition, there is evidence that matching product features with supply chains improves performance.

Originality/value

The paper provides empirical support to the relationships among the variables within the alignment framework. There is evidence that product innovativeness, a variable so far neglected in the alignment literature, can have a critical impact on the supply chain. Furthermore, supply chain complexity must be adequately adapted, depending on the product features.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

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Article
Publication date: 19 November 2018

Juneho Um, Neungho Han, Tonci Grubic and Asad Ghalib

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the strategic alignment between product variety and supply chain (SC) focus through cost leadership or differentiation to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the strategic alignment between product variety and supply chain (SC) focus through cost leadership or differentiation to improve business performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The research investigated product variety-related capabilities and strategies in SCs including level of variety, SC agility, SC cost efficiency, cost leadership, differentiation and business performance, and aimed to justify the theory by testing structural equation modelling using survey data from the UK and South Korea.

Findings

Differentiation links high product variety and agile SC while cost leadership is aligned with low product variety and SC efficiency. High product variety negatively impacts on cost leadership strategy. Also, product variety should be mediated by cost leadership or differentiation strategy to improve business performance. Companies in South Korea display higher SC agility, cost leadership and cost efficiency than companies in the UK, while the UK companies exhibit a higher level of product variety and differentiation than those in South Korea.

Research limitations/implications

The findings contribute to theoretical development of variety issues at the alignment of business strategy and SC management according to the level of product variety.

Originality/value

The findings can help international companies set up specific variety-related strategies to achieve global competitiveness.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 67 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2006

Mahendrawathi Er and Bart MacCarthy

For manufacturing enterprises, today's business environment is characterised by globally dispersed supply and manufacturing networks. In addition, the level of variety in…

Abstract

Purpose

For manufacturing enterprises, today's business environment is characterised by globally dispersed supply and manufacturing networks. In addition, the level of variety in products continues to increase in almost all sectors. Greater understanding of the management of product variety in international operations is required. Aims to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

A generic simulation model representing a multinational corporation (MNC) supply chain is used to investigate the impact on supply chain performance of increasing product variety in combination with supply lead‐time and demand uncertainty in an international setting. The simulation focuses on the upstream activities of production planning, inbound supply and manufacturing. The structure and logic of the simulation model are based on insights obtained from an empirical study of real MNC supply networks.

Findings

The study shows that increasing the level of product variety has a detrimental impact on supply chain performance. In the presence of supply lead‐time and demand uncertainty, high levels of variety result in much longer flow times and much higher system inventory relative to more stable conditions. The impact is greatest when variety involves critical materials which are required early in the production process and that entail long set‐up times.

Research limitations/implications

The study could be extended to incorporate more advanced inventory control models, the inclusion of downstream activities, multiple manufacturing sites and multiple potential supply routes.

Practical implications

Implications for the selection of suppliers and for inventory control policies are discussed in the context of international operations. The potential value of postponement strategies and the need in some cases for fundamental product and process redesign to mitigate the negative impacts of variety are highlighted.

Originality/value

Managing product variety in the context of international operations has received very little attention to date in the research literature. This study quantifies the potential impact of increasing product variety on supply chain performance in an international setting.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 17 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article
Publication date: 29 May 2009

Luiz Felipe Scavarda, Jens Schaffer, Annibal José Scavarda, Augusto da Cunha Reis and Heinrich Schleich

The purpose of this paper is to develop a product variety multi‐market study in the auto industry and to conduct a benchmarking analysis of the practical findings against…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a product variety multi‐market study in the auto industry and to conduct a benchmarking analysis of the practical findings against the theoretical ones obtained in a European Community Research Project (Intelligent Logistics for Innovative Product Technologies – ILIPT) that aims to rethink the automotive supply chain.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conduct an exploratory research including an empirical multi‐market study, which embraces many significant passenger car models from a global vehicle manufacturer in relevant automotive markets. To provide a rich dataset, the authors utilize a combination of data collection techniques including interviews, contextual performance data and a detailed analysis of product offerings available from the vehicle manufacturer's regional web sites. This paper also shares the experience of a European Community Research Project benchmarking the results for the automobile industry.

Findings

In this paper, product variety in the auto industry is classified into four general categories. The empirical results suggest that the platform (most aggregated form of variety) follows the same logic worldwide while all the other product variety categories (in particular variants) are restricted in emerging markets and very refined in Europe. The benchmarking shows that the European variety offered exceeds the “appropriate” level of variety considered best in class by the ILIPT project while the emerging countries variety offered is below this level. This fact points to space for improvement in the product variety management of both supply chains.

Originality/value

This is a valuable empirical research study that examines the current behaviour of the auto product variety in significant markets and gives an overview where the variety is created world wide. A benchmarking analysis is also offered, which gives an idea of how far vehicle manufacturers are in terms of providing the “appropriate” level of variety.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 16 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Article
Publication date: 28 June 2013

Cenk Budayan, Irem Dikmen and M. Talat Birgonul

The positive effect of differentiation strategy on achieving competitive advantage among construction companies is widely acknowledged in the literature. However, there…

Abstract

Purpose

The positive effect of differentiation strategy on achieving competitive advantage among construction companies is widely acknowledged in the literature. However, there exists only a limited number of studies in the construction management literature that investigate the drivers and modes of differentiation. The purpose of this study is to determine appropriate modes and drivers of differentiation strategy in the Turkish construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

In this study, based on the results of an extensive literature survey, a set of modes and drivers are defined as well as a conceptual framework to investigate their interrelations. Structural equation modelling (SEM) is proposed as an effective tool to investigate the relations between various factors of differentiation and data regarding the Turkish contractors have been used to demonstrate its applicability.

Findings

The results demonstrate that construction companies can differentiate on two modes of differentiation, either on “quality and image” or “product variety and speed”. Among the identified drivers, project management capabilities influence “product variety and speed related differentiation” and “quality and image related differentiation” directly; corporate management affects “quality and image related differentiation” directly, whereas corporate management influences “product variety and speed differentiation” indirectly. “Resources” has a strong direct effect on project and corporate management, in addition “resources” influences “product variety and speed related differentiation” and “quality and image related differentiation” modes indirectly through corporate and project management.

Originality/value

Research findings may help companies to choose an appropriate differentiation mode considering their strengths and weaknesses related with the drivers. Although findings reflect the competitive environment prevailing in the Turkish construction industry, it is believed that the parameters identified in this study can further be used as a benchmark to conduct similar studies in other countries.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 20 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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