Production Systems and Supplier Selection: A Multi-Phase Process Model

Isabel Pedraza-Acosta, Alan Pilkington, David Barnes

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Purpose: This paper presents a combined multi-phase supplier selection model. The process repeatedly revisits the criteria and sourcing decision as the development process continues. This enables a structured adoption of product and production system innovation from strategic suppliers, where previously the literature purely focuses on product innovation or cost reduction. Design/methodology/approach: The authors adopted an embedded researcher style, inductive, qualitative case study of an industrial supply cluster comprising a focal automotive company and its interaction with three different strategic stamping suppliers.
Findings: Our contribution is the multi-phased production and product innovation process. This is an advance from traditional supplier selection and also an extension of ideas of supplier-located product development as it includes production system development, and complements the literature on working with strategic suppliers. Specifically, we explicitly articulate the previously unreported issue of whether a supplier chosen for its innovation capabilities at the start of the new product development process will also be the most appropriate supplier during the production system development phase, when an ability to work collaboratively may be the most important attribute, or in the large-scale production phase when an ability to manufacture at low unit cost may be most important.
Originality/value: The paper identifies a multi-phase approach to tendering within a fixed body of strategic suppliers which seeks to identify the optimum technological and process decisions as well as the traditional supplier sourcing choice. These areas have not been combined before and generate a valuable approach for firms to adopt as well as for researchers to extend our understanding of a highly complex process.
Original languageEnglish
JournalProduction Planning & Control
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)717-726
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Supplier selection
  • Innovation
  • Decision process
  • Production system

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