Title: Virtual or vertical? Achieving integrated global supply chains: comparison and analysis of virtual integration and vertical integration in Japanese and Korean steel industry

Authors: Sungwoo Byun; Changmin Lee

Addresses: Manufacturing Management Research Center, Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan ' Division of Integrated Japanese Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, 107 Imun-ro, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea

Abstract: Supply chain management strategies such as push strategy, pull strategy and push-pull strategy have been discussed and their advantages and disadvantages also have been empirically investigated in a number of industries in supply chain management literature. However, general assumption has been that one business entity implements supply chain strategies, even though there can be different strategies applicable for different points in supply chain timeline. This paper expands the framework of push-pull supply chain with ownership patterns. Through case studies on steel industry, we suggest that after push-pull boundary, service becomes critical competitiveness factor, and at this point, a firm can have a choice on vertical integration or not. The purpose of this paper is expanding and re-interpreting traditional supply chain strategies focusing on pull-pull boundary strategy and its ownership patterns through comparative case studies between Japanese and Korean steel processing centres.

Keywords: push-pull boundary; steel processing centres; supply chain strategy; push strategy; pull strategy; vertical integration; virtual integration; supply chain management; SCM; steel industry; Japan; Korea; supply chain integration; ownership patterns.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPQM.2015.067761

International Journal of Productivity and Quality Management, 2015 Vol.15 No.2, pp.169 - 184

Published online: 18 Apr 2015 *

Full-text access for editors Full-text access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article