American Accounting Association DOI: 10.2308/acch.2009.23.2.201
Strategic Cost Management in Supply Chains, Part 1: Structural Cost Management
Shannon W. Anderson and Henri C. Dekker
SYNOPSIS: Strategic cost management is the deliberate alignment of a ﬁrm’s resources and associated cost structure with long-term strategy andshort-term tactics. Although managers continue to pursue efﬁciency and effectiveness within the ﬁrm, increasingly improvements are obtained across the value chain: through reconﬁguring ﬁrm boundaries, relocating resources, reengineering processes, and re-evaluating product and service offerings in relation to customer requirements. In this ﬁrst paper in a two-part series on strategic costmanagement in supply chains, we review structural cost management. Structural cost management employs tools of organizational design, product design, and process design to create a supply chain cost structure that is coherent with ﬁrm strategy. In the second part of the series we will consider executional cost management, which employs measurement and analysis tools e.g., variance analysis, cost driveranalysis, supplier scorecards to evaluate supply chain performance. Using selected studies in accounting, operations management, and business strategy, we provide an overview of strategic cost management in supply chains, highlight contemporary developments, and suggest directions for future research. Keywords: interorganizational; supplier; supply chain management; value chain.
INTRODUCTION heprevalence in the current business press of stories about acquisitions, restructuring, outsourcing, and offshoring indicates the vigor with which ﬁrms are engaged in the “creative destruction” that is modern cost management. In a telling shift from prior decades when the focus of cost management was on reengineering internal processes for efﬁciency e.g., just-in-time inventory, lean production andeffectiveness e.g., six-sigma quality initiatives, team production , ﬁrms are taking up Shank and Govindarajan’s 1992, 1994 prescient challenge to manage costs throughout the value chain. As the value of purchased materials and services as a share of selling price has increased, ﬁrms ﬁnd themselves managing complex supply chains that include global suppliers, contract manufacturers, company-ownedproduct and service centers,
Shannon W. Anderson is an Associate Professor at Rice University and a Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne, and Henri C. Dekker is a Professor at VU University Amsterdam.
We are grateful to Ella Mae Matsumura and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on the manuscript.
Submitted: December 2007 Accepted: January 2009 Published Online:May 2009
Corresponding author: Shannon W. Anderson Email: email@example.com
Anderson and Dekker
third-party logistics providers, and a network of transportation providers Trebilcock 2007 . Although a 2008 survey of top executives found that 57 percent identiﬁed cost reduction as the primary strategic goal for supply chain management McKinsey & Company 2008 , complex supply chainsalso create new costs and risks that must be managed. In this paper we review recent research in accounting, operations management, and business strategy to highlight the interplay between research and new supply chain management practices. In the next section we provide an overview of strategic cost management and deﬁne the scope of our inquiry. The organizing framework that we employincorporates elements from Shank and Govindarajan’s 1992, 1994 discussion of structural and executional cost drivers and value chain analysis and Tomkins and Carr’s 1996 dynamic model of strategic investment. In two subsequent sections we review selected studies that examine strategic cost management in supply chains and discuss contemporary practices. First we focus on structural cost management decisions...