Co‐located supplier clusters: forms, functions and theoretical perspectives

Reichhart, Andreas and Holweg, Matthias (2008) Co‐located supplier clusters: forms, functions and theoretical perspectives. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 28 (1). pp. 53-78.


– The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to develop a typology of co‐located supplier clusters, such as logistics centres or supplier parks, and second, to evaluate the theoretical perspectives at hand to investigate the co‐location phenomenon.

– The research encompasses 28 semi‐structured interviews with key operations executives from vehicle manufacturers, component suppliers and logistics service providers at nine co‐located supplier clusters, the findings of which are triangulated with secondary sources.

– The investigation yields two main findings: first, a typology is proposed based on two key dimensions “spatial integration and infrastructure” and “local value‐added”. From a theoretical perspective, the paper further concludes that transaction cost economics is less suited for studying dedicated co‐location, and suggests that future investigations should focus on consolidating the contributions on the spatial dimension of sourcing configurations into a novel theoretical framework.

Research limitations/implications
– The study is based on an exploratory research design, investigating a selected number of co‐located supplier clusters only. While the research does not claim to provide a comprehensive survey of co‐located supplier clusters, it proposes a general categorisation that aims to provide a structure currently lacking further research into this phenomenon.

– A structured overview of the phenomenon of co‐located supplier clusters is provided, extending the existing morphological debate. Furthermore, the discussion of their theoretical foundations provides novel insights into this phenomenon as well as into the operational implications of value chain modifications in general, with the intention of guiding further research in this area.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Suppliers, Automotive industry, Sourcing
Subject(s): Operations management
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2015 16:03
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2015 11:25
Funders: N/A

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