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Complementarities Between Product Design Modularity and IT Infrastructure Flexibility in IT-Enabled Supply Chains

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3 Author(s)
Ashley A. Bush ; College of Business, Florida State University, Tallahassee, USA ; Amrit Tiwana ; Arun Rai

As contemporary firms become reliant on networks of supply chain partners, their performance increasingly depends on their supply chains' ability to be responsive to changing markets. This research addresses the theoretically neglected question of how and why the interplay between product design modularity and information technology (IT) infrastructure flexibility influences supply chain performance. We develop two key ideas. First, product design modularity enhances performance because it increases supply chain responsiveness, a critical mediating explanatory concept. Second, product design modularity and IT infrastructure flexibility are complementary design choices: Increasing one increases the benefits of increasing the other. We propose a mediated-moderation relationship; IT infrastructure flexibility enhances performance by strengthening the influence of product design modularity on supply chain responsiveness. Tests using primary and archival data from 102 firms provide strong support for both ideas. Implications for theory and practice are also discussed.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management  (Volume:57 ,  Issue: 2 )