The Role Of Mass Customization In Enhancing Supply Chain Relationships In B2c E-Commerce Markets


Merrill Warkentin
Ravi Bapna
Vijayan Sugumaran


Traditional supply chain management utilized traditional media and channels to link firms in linear inefficient relationships. The advent of electronic commerce over the Internet Protocol-based network has facilitated new relationships for connecting with new supply chain partners, thereby significantly increasing the quantity and quality of inter-organizational information flows. These information flows are theoretically evaluated using the principles of information quality dimensions, information asymmetry, and "information moments." In addition, a new breed of market makers, or information intermediaries, is defining new functional relationships between the different players. Three distinct emerging marketspaces are presented, along with an analysis of each one’s informational dimension. First, the direct channel between manufacturers (or digital content providers) and consumers is enabling mass-customization, and is influencing the demand forecasting and inventory management functions. Second, the adserving industry is presented to portray the nature of emerging forms of supply chain relationships for digital goods. Third, the forces behind the creation of vertical portals, or “vortals,” are evaluated. These serve as integrators of moments of information from a supply chain perspective. Each of these three marketspaces is evaluated with respect to information quality dimensions, information asymmetry, and information moments (touchpoints). Emerging trends are discussed, such as combinatorial auctions and the role of intelligent agents and data mining in supply chain management. Finally, the impact of these new supply chain information flows on industries and macroeconomic conditions is discussed.

Published Date: 

May, 2000

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