Fisher’s Supply Chain–Product Match/Mismatch Framework

I have used Fisher’s (1997) supply chain–product match/mismatch framework (What Is the Right Supply Chain for Your Product?) in my teaching for years! Herein, the author argues that functional products require a physically efficient supply chain strategy, whereas innovative products require a market-responsive supply chain strategy. Fisher’s framework finds empirical support: Wagner et al. (2012) demonstrate that “the higher the supply chain fit, the higher the Return on Assets (ROA) of the firm”. Interestingly, a majority of the firms from their sample achieve a negative misfit, i.e. they target high responsiveness for their supply chain although their products are functional. Extensions of the framework exist, for example by Lee (2002), who adds a “supply” dimension, and more recently Gligor (2017), who argues that “benefits generated by perfect supply chain fit might be offset by the resources deployed to achieve that fit”. Research presented by Perez-Franco et al. (2016) helps to “capture, evaluate and re-formulate the supply chain strategy of a business unit”.

Fisher, M.L. (1997). What Is the Right Supply Chain for Your Product? Harvard Business Review, 75 (2), 105-116.

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About Andreas Wieland

Dr. Andreas Wieland is an Associate Professor of Supply Chain Risk Management at the Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School. His current research interests include resilient and socially responsible supply chains.

3 responses to “Fisher’s Supply Chain–Product Match/Mismatch Framework”

  1. Mojtaba Mahdavi says :

    There are, however, some studies reporting against Fisher’s proposition. Lo and Power (2010), for instance, empirically tested the framework and concluded that “the association between product nature and supply chain strategy is not significant”. Another example is Wright’s (2013) research that could not prove that companies who have matching supply chains with product type outperform those who do not have. Although the supporting part of literature outweighs the non-supporting part, the majority suggest extensions in several different ways. Little analytical discussion also exists in the literature. A comprehensive review of Fisher’s framework is available in our recent work (Mahadvi and Olsen, 2017).

  2. Valentina Carbone (@carboneval) says :

    I’ve also used Fisher for a while in my courses and I still find it a powerful pedagogical tool. I know the critics but the notions of fit, alignment and consistency seem so reasonable nowadays… I didn’t know the two most recent articles you cite. I will have a look at them!

  3. Marco Perona says :

    Thank you Andreas, your posts are always stimulating and interesting. Might I mention also one of my papers, issued with Roberto Cigolini and Marco Cozzi on IJOPM as of 2004, that is still my best achiever in terms of citations.
    It contains both an extension of Fisher’s model and an empirical proof in support of this extension.

    A new framework for supply chain management: conceptual model and empirical test
    R Cigolini, M Cozzi, M Perona
    International Journal of Operations & Production Management 24 (1), 7-41

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