Both postponement and outsourcing have been identified as important characteristics of modern and competitive supply chains. The implementation of postponement may require extensive (spatial) reconfiguration of the supply chain. Presents findings from interviews with managers of food, electronics, automotive and clothing manufacturers in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Findings reveal that in food supply chains both postponement and outsourcing are applied to a lesser extent than in other industries. Reasons, which refer to the industry-specific characteristics, are given. Ways for food companies to assure competitiveness are then described on the dimensions of postponement, outsourcing and spatial reconfiguration. A framework is developed to position chains in terms of degree of outsourcing, level of post-ponement and spatial configuration. The framework can help managers diagnosing and repositioning their organizations, along the dimensions mentioned.

Implementation, Operations management, Organizational behaviour, Outsourcing, Supply chain,
Supply Chain Management: an international journal
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

van Hoek, R.I. (1999). Postponement and the reconfiguration challenge for food supply chains. Supply Chain Management: an international journal, 4(1), 18–34. doi:10.1108/13598549910255068