Measuring the Strategic Fit of Supply Chain Coordination Systems

Working Paper Authors Publish Date
1 Tim McLaren
Milena Head
Yufei Yuan
Apr. 2003

The benefits of using supply chain coordination systems (SCCSs) to synchronize information among the customers and suppliers of a supply chain are well established. However, recent innovations in flexible e business technologies have led to a confusing variety of SCCS alternatives. Predicting which SCCS will best fit an organization’s strategies is complicated by a lack of a theory for understanding how the various capabilities of SCCSs should be aligned with an organization’s strategies. While analyzing all the possible SCCSs available is beyond the scope of this paper, our goal is to help firms determine the SCCS capabilities that best fit their strategies. The objectives of this paper are:

  • to clarify the concept of the strategic fit of SCCS and its role in supply chain performance, and
  • to report on a study that explored potential measures of strategic fit in SCCS implementations.

We present a preliminary model of the strategic fit of SCCSs, which was informed by studies from multiple disciplines and refined and validated using a panel of experts and evidence from three Canadian manufacturers. The model proposes that strategic fit is achieved by ensuring the capabilities of an SCCS support a firm’s competitive strategy and level of supply chain integration. The pilot study demonstrates that strategic fit of a SCCS can be determined from the degree to which the capabilities of a SCCS match the theoretically ideal capabilities for a firm’s competitive strategy and level of supply chain integration. The survey measures recommended appear to provide reasonable and economical measures of the strategic fit of a SCCS. The model and survey measures have great potential in enabling the rapid identification of possible areas of misalignment in a firm’s supply chain coordination systems and strategies.

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