Customer responsive supply chain strategy: an unnatural act?

Godsell, J.; Harrison, A.; Emberson, Caroline and Storey, John (2006). Customer responsive supply chain strategy: an unnatural act? International Journal of Logistics: research and applications, 9(1) pp. 47–56.



There has been a shift in the last few years from prescriptive models of supply chain strategy to more embracing frameworks that accommodate a range of different approaches. However, there has been a tendency for these models to differentiate by product type. In order to achieve alignment between demand creation and fulfilment this basis for differentiation should, we conclude, change to buying behaviour. We have explored the opportunities for increasing customer responsiveness through the alignment of demand creation and fulfilment by means of empirical studies of six supply chains in three sectors (electronics, process industries and third-party logistics). Our study found that there is currently little evidence of such alignment in practice. There was a marked absence of proactive “management” of the supply chain, and a lack of alignment within the demand fulfilment process itself, and between the demand fulfilment and creation process (including new product introduction). Performance measures were used to optimise functional performance at operational levels within a supply chain rather than the performance of the supply chain as a whole.

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