Aligning strategy, structure and performance in supply chain management: A case study in the power systems industry

Axel Baarlid & Anders Claesson

Student thesis: Master thesis


Today's multinational corporations tend to apply generic corporate strategies implemented throughout their entire organizations. Such strategies are in many aspects beneficial but may also imply risks of overlooking differentiated product segments and their specific characteristics. In order to satisfy as many of the potential customers as possible, organizations are creating diversified product portfolios consisting of both innovative and functional products. This may, if not accounted for result in misaligned strategies for less prioritized product segments. The purpose of this research is to examine the present misalignment between product groups with different demand- and supply characteristics and the firm strategy affecting such product segments. In addition, the study aims to investigate a single strategies impact on multiple product segments and provide mitigation strategies in order to cope with existing mismatches and reduce its impact on the supply chain. In order to achieve such objectives, a case study is performed at a manufacturing site that is forced to operate under a corporate lean strategy while manufacturing a wide variety of products with volatile demand characteristics. The research highlights the need for agility within such manufacturing sites and investigates the need for alignment between strategy, structure and performance. On this topic, the research points towards the importance of a holistic organization collaborating across firm borders to achieve a higher degree of transparency among supply chain members in order to better understand customer needs. Furthermore, similarities and differences between possible strategies are illuminated where collaboration and cross-functional integration are seen as generic remedies to present misalignments. By introducing common performance measures within the supply chain, sub-optimization can be avoided and supply chain collaboration can be achieved. Such inter-firm collaboration enables a more efficient exchange of information which is reducing the sacrifice gap, introducing a sense of accountability towards customer needs and finally brings the supply chain closer to its end customers which is enhancing supply chain performance.

EducationsMSc in Supply Chain Management , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages94