A theoretical and empirical investigation into the implementation of postponement
The concept of postponement has a long history of academic literature and practical applications. Features and benefits of postponement have also existed for many years, but postponement has only recently received more attention. This development has become mandatory to many companies in view of today's market and business environment. However, its applications are still not as widespread as expected. Therefore, I am interested in what factors enable or hinder the successful implementation of postponement. Based on the literature review, I first conducted a theoretical study to: (I). Further develop the concept of postponement to include product development postponement, purchasing postponement, production postponement and logistics postponement; (2). Investigate the postponement implications for such issues around the supply chain as the decoupling point, supply chain integration, power and control, and capacity planning; and (3). Propose an integrated framework for postponement applications, where I am also concerned with the development of a set of general ideals upon which future work can be based. Then, I carried out a questionnaire survey with 368 British companies in four industrial sectors (namely electronics, automotive, food and clothing industries). In doing so, I attempted to investigate the relationships among postponement, environmental uncertainty, managerial practices and company performance. The survey data was also used to gain insight to the level of postponement applications and various barriers to postponement.