IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/inm/ormnsc/v47y2001i1p189-204.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Sourcing By Design: Product Complexity and the Supply Chain

Author

Listed:
  • Sharon Novak

    () (Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, 2001 Sheridan Road, Evanston, Illinois 60208-2009)

  • Steven D. Eppinger

    () (Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 50 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142)

Abstract

This paper focuses on the connection between product complexity and vertical integration using original empirical evidence from the auto industry. A rich literature has addressed the choice between internal production and external sourcing of components in the auto industry. More recent literature has developed the concept of product architecture as another choice variable that may be one of the important contributors to product complexity. In this paper, we connect these two important decisions and study them jointly. We use the property rights approach to argue that complexity in product design and vertical integration of production are complements: that in-house production is more attractive when product complexity is high, as firms seek to capture the benefits of their investment in the skills needed to coordinate development of complex designs. We test this hypothesis with a simultaneous equations model applied to data from the luxury-performance segment of the auto industry. We find a significant and positive relationship between product complexity and vertical integration. This has implications for optimal incentive structures within firms, as well as for interpreting firm performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Sharon Novak & Steven D. Eppinger, 2001. "Sourcing By Design: Product Complexity and the Supply Chain," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(1), pages 189-204, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:47:y:2001:i:1:p:189-204
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.47.1.189.10662
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-1158, December.
    2. Kirk Monteverde & David J. Teece, 1982. "Supplier Switching Costs and Vertical Integration in the Automobile Industry," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 206-213, Spring.
    3. Williamson, Oliver E, 1979. "Transaction-Cost Economics: The Governance of Contractural Relations," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 233-261, October.
    4. Joskow, Paul L, 1988. "Asset Specificity and the Structure of Vertical Relationships: Empirical Evidence," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 95-117, Spring.
    5. Kim B. Clark, 1989. "Project Scope and Project Performance: The Effect of Parts Strategy and Supplier Involvement on Product Development," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(10), pages 1247-1263, October.
    6. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
    7. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    8. Jerry A. Hausman, 1996. "Valuation of New Goods under Perfect and Imperfect Competition," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of New Goods, pages 207-248 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817.
    10. Fujimoto, Takahiro, 1997. "The Japanese Automobile Supplier System Framework, Facts, and Reinterpretation (preliminary draft)," CIRJE F-Series 97-F-13, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    11. Susan Athey & Scott Stern, 1998. "An Empirical Framework for Testing Theories About Complimentarity in Organizational Design," NBER Working Papers 6600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Pimmler, Thomas U. (Thomas Udo) & Eppinger, Steven D., 1994. "Integration analysis of product decompositions," Working papers 3690-94., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    13. Athey, Susan. & Stern, Scott, 1969-, 1998. "An empirical framework for testing theories about complementarity in orgaziational design," Working papers WP 4022-98., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    14. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
    15. Masten, Scott E & Meehan, James W, Jr & Snyder, Edward A, 1991. "The Costs of Organization," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 1-25, Spring.
    16. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1994. "The Firm as an Incentive System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 972-991, September.
    17. Asanuma, Banri, 1989. "Manufacturer-supplier relationships in Japan and the concept of relation-specific skill," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 1-30, March.
    18. Hausman, Jerry A., 1983. "Specification and estimation of simultaneous equation models," Handbook of Econometrics,in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 391-448 Elsevier.
    19. Ulrich, Karl, 1995. "The role of product architecture in the manufacturing firm," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 419-440, May.
    20. Karl Ulrich & David Sartorius & Scott Pearson & Mark Jakiela, 1993. "Including the Value of Time in Design-for-Manufacturing Decision Making," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(4), pages 429-447, April.
    21. Karl T. Ulrich & David J. Ellison, 1999. "Holistic Customer Requirements and the Design-Select Decision," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(5), pages 641-658, May.
    22. Masten, Scott E, 1984. "The Organization of Production: Evidence from the Aerospace Industry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 403-417, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:47:y:2001:i:1:p:189-204. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/inforea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.