FROM BUYER TO INTEGRATOR: THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE SUPPLY-CHAIN MANAGER IN THE VERTICALLY DISINTEGRATING FIRM

Authors

  • GEOFFREY G. PARKER,

    1. A. B. Freeman School of Business, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana 70118, USA
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      Edward Anderson is an Assistant Professor of Operations Management in the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and history from Stanford University. His research interests include supply chain management (especially service supply chains), outsourced product development, knowledge management, and system dynamics. He has published articles in such journals as Management Science, The Journal of Production and Operations Management, the European Journal of Operational Research, and The Systems Thinker. He sits on the publications board of the Production and Operations Management Society and has received researchgrants from SAP and Hewlett-Packard. Professor Anderson has consulted with Ford, Dell, HewlettPackard, Frito-Lay, and Atlantic-Richfield. Prior to his academic work, he was a product design engineer at the Ford Motor Company, from which he was granted three U.S. patents.

  • EDWARD G. ANDERSON Jr

    1. McCombs School of Business, University of Texas, Austin, Texas 78712, USA
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      Geoffrey Parker is an Assistant Professor of Management at the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University. Parker's primary research interests are in the areas of learning, integration, and supply chain design. Parker has additional research interests in network and information economics. Parker's recent projects include an examination of outsourcing policies in the presence of learning effects and integration costs, an exploration of why firms choose to give away information products, and an examination of the interaction between product design and supply chain design. Parker received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University. Parker received an M.S. in Electrical Engineering (Technology and Policy Program) and a Ph.D. in Management Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to graduate school, Parker held positions in engineering, finance, and business development at the General Electric Company.


Abstract

Using case study data, we describe how a large personal computer manufacturer changed its supply-chain management strategy after outsourcing the majority of its design and manufacturing activities to a network of focused suppliers. To cope with this new structure, the firm created highly skilled generalists, “supply-chain integrators,” who coordinate product development, marketing, production, and logistics from product concept to delivery across firm boundaries. We particularly focus on the skill-set that characterizes these integrators. Finally, we use the case evidence, combined with previous theory, to suggest a specific program of research into coordinating product development across disaggregated supply chains.

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