Build-to-order supply chain management: A literature review and framework for development

A. Gunasekaran, Wai Ting Ngai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

414 Citations (Scopus)


The build-to-order supply chain management (BOSC) strategy has recently attracted the attention of both researchers and practitioners, given its successful implementation in many companies including Dell computers, Compaq, and BMW. The growing number of articles on BOSC in the literature is an indication of the importance of the strategy and of its role in improving the competitiveness of an organization. The objective of a BOSC strategy is to meet the requirements of individual customers by leveraging the advantages of outsourcing and information technology. There are not many research articles that provide an overview of BOSC, despite the fact that this strategy is being promoted as the operations paradigm of the future. The main objective of this research is to (i) review the concepts of BOSC, (ii) develop definitions of BOSC, (iii) classify the literature based on a suitable classification scheme, leading to some useful insights into BOSC and some future research directions, (iv) review the selected articles on BOSC for their contribution to the development and operations of BOSC, (v) develop a framework for BOSC, and (vi) suggest some future research directions. The literature has been reviewed based on the following four major areas of decision-making: organizational competitiveness, the development and implementation of BOSC, the operations of BOSC, and information technology in BOSC. Some of the important observations are: (a) there is a lack of adequate research on the design and control of BOSC, (b) there is a need for further research on the implementation of BOSC, (c) human resource issues in BOSC have been ignored, (d) issues of product commonality and modularity from the perspective of partnership or supplier development require further attention and (e) the trade-off between responsiveness and the cost of logistics needs further study. The paper ends with concluding remarks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-451
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Operations Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2005


  • Build-to-order supply chain management
  • Framework
  • Literature review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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