Dr. Luke Teng obtained a master’s degree in software engineering from the East China Normal University before pursuing a DBA degree at Grenoble Ecole de Management. In his professional career, he spent 11 years in the IT service industry and then moved to the field of supply chain management in the chemical industry for six years during the period of his DBA study. His current objective is to continue researching and developing knowledge products with the focus on supply chain and business operation.
PurposeThe existing research scope regarding supply chain integration is mainly from a focal firm point of view or dyadic view between the focal firm and customers/suppliers. There is no research performed so far regarding how supplier-buyer-customer triad works in a supply chain integration context. The objective of this research is to capture the complex and meaningful dynamics of a triad from a supply chain integration perspective across two supply chain tiers.
Design/methodology/approachIt is the first attempt in the literature to identify the available supply chain integration patterns of a supplier A-buyer B-customer C triad via proposition development from existing literature (supply chain integration theory, structure-hole theory and balancing theory) and pattern match via selected case studies in engineering plastic industry.
FindingsEach supplier-buyer-customer pattern presents a unique configurations of supply chain integration. By proposition developing and pattern matching with case studies, this research is concluded with five available supplier-buyer-customer patterns as the key contribution to the supply chain integration literature. According to the role that buyer B plays in the triad pattern, these five matched triad pattern can be classified in two groups (buyer B as plastic distributor or not). Buyer B as “value integrator” and Customer C as “power user” are the two triad patterns when buyer B is direct customer of supplier A.
Buyer B as “middle facilitator”, Buyer B as “middle distributor” and Customer C as a “Opportunistic purchaser” are the other three triad patterns when buyer B is distributor.
Research limitations/implications Total ten triad supply chain integration patterns are proposed and five of them are matched with observed patterns in engineering plastic industry via case study. This research shift the focus from the tradition focal firm based dyadic view of supply chain to a triad based network view of the supply chain to achieve a better understanding regarding how three parties interact each other in a supplier-buyer-customer triads with various meaningful supply chain arrangements and configurations.
Since all cases selected in this research are from China as an emerging market in engineering plastic industry and the supplier A are the same company where the researcher is working in. This might limit the research result explanation to more general and broader level. Nevertheless, the research proposition and research design can be adjusted and applied further in different industries and markets for further qualitative research. The research findings can be used for survey based quantitative research further as well.
Practical implicationsThis thesis brings insights to the business owners and managers about the different supply chain integration triads that they needs to manage. In a dynamic and fast changing business environment today, it is important to have a clear and st