Commonalities and Differences between Service and Manufacturing Supply Chains: Combining Operations Management Studies with Supply Chain Management
Ming Zhou • Taeho Park
San Jose State University, San Jose, CA
Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia, PA
The service sector of the US economy has been gaining importance. As the service sector evolves, the study of service supply chain starts to gain attention. In this study, we conduct an exploratory review on the studies of manufacturing and service supply chains. We focus on the studies that explore the differences and commonalities between manufacturing and service supply chains. We combine operations management literature ...view middle of the document...
, 2004). Service firms also transact with their suppliers and serve their downstream customers. This very much resembles the classic manufacturing supply chain structure. In addition, service outsourcing becomes increasingly common a practice (Allen and Chandrashekar, 2000; Adler, 2003; Crockett and Ante, 2004). Hence, service supply chain is of great strategic importance in today’s business. Despite the large amount of research on service supply chains, studies that comprehensively elaborate the commonalities and differences between manufacturing supply chains and service supply chains are still scant. Furthermore, the success of any supply chain management tightly hinges on the operational efficiency of supply chain partners. Although a couple of extant studies already attempted to identify the commonalities or differences from conventional supply chain management perspective, insights from operations management are yet to be integrated. In another words, an inter-disciplinary perspective is not
Volume 7, Number 1, pp 136-143 California Journal of Operations Management © 2009 CSU-POM
Zhou, Park and Yi Commonalities and Differences between Service and Manufacturing Supply Chains: Combining Operations Management Studies with Supply Chain Management
witnessed in existing literature. In this study, an exploratory review is conducted in order to bridge the above gaps and provide a preliminary framework that better enhances our understanding of the service supply chain. Please note that we are making no attempt to exhaust the existing literature relevant to service supply chains. Instead, the purpose of this paper is to identify and discuss major findings that contrast service and manufacturing supply chains as well as adding an operations management perspective to existing understandings. Before we can proceed to compare service supply chains with manufacturing supply chains, a definition of services should be provided. Frohlich and Westbrook (2002) used the standard industry classification (SIC) system to define service industries. As defined by the US Census Bureau, the US economy can be segmented into good-producing industries and non-good producing industries, where retail trade, wholesale trade and service industries all fall under the non-good producing sector. Such a classification is constructive in understanding the structure of the US economy and where the service industry is positioned. Unfortunately, it does not provide much meaningful information as to what service is. Sampson (2000) specifically discussed what service is. One set of definitions focuses on the intangibility of services. However, intangibility is only an important characteristic of services. Sampson (2000) argues that services have tangible part as well. A second definition describes services as a solitary unit that fails to reveal the dynamic aspect of services. For instance, Levitt (1972) defines services as a personal performance. These definitions...