Integration of supply chain IT and lean practices for mass customization: Benchmarking of product and service focused manufacturers

  • Hong P
  • Dobrzykowski D
  • Vonderembse M
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Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the use of specific supply chain information technologies (IT) for e-commerce, e-procurement, and enterprise resource planning (ERP), when implementing lean practices to achieve mass customization (MC) performance. The study further investigates how these technologies may be deployed differently in product and service focused contexts. “Best practices” of high performing MC firms are also explored. Design/methodology/approach – Survey method was employed to collect data from 711 firms in 23 countries. Exploratory factor analysis was employed to establish simple factor structure and construct validity. Hierarchical multiple regression was used to analyze relationships between lean practices, IT use, and MC performance in aggregated and bifurcated samples of product and service focused manufacturers. T-tests were used to examine differences between the practices employed by high and low MC performers. Findings – Findings suggest that lean practices can reasonably predict MC performance. In this context, of lean practices, e-commerce and e-procurement reasonably predict MC performance. ERP is not shown to predict MC performance. Results suggest that e-commerce use is a better predictor of performance than e-procurement or ERP for service focused manufacturers. E-commerce and e-procurement appear to be reasonable predictors of MC performance in product manufacturers, while ERP is not. “Best practices” related to lean practices, e-commerce, e-procurement, and ERP emerge among high MC performers. Originality/value – This paper describes what is believed to be the first study to examine these three IT approaches in the context of lean practices and supply chain MCperformance. This paper also contributes to the growing interest in differences among product and service focused manufacturing firms. Finally, specific “best practices” are provided to add value for practitioners. Keywords

Author-supplied keywords

  • Best practice
  • Communication technologies
  • Electronic commerce
  • Lean production
  • Quality improvement
  • Supply chain management

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