Customer integration into supply chains: literature review and research propositions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the topic of customer integration into supply chains. Particular attention is focused on literature concerning customer-driven and customer-centric supply chains. The aim is to provide a deeper understanding of these two approaches, clarify the differences, compare them and provide a conceptual model and research propositions, leading to theoretical and managerial implications. Design/methodology/approach: The paper presents a systematic literature review conducted using a consolidated methodology. The protocol used allows for the identification, analysis, synthesis, reporting and discussion of the results stemming from the literature on customer integration into the supply chain. This analysis enables us to summarize the results in a conceptual framework and introduce new research propositions. Findings: Using the results of the literature review, the authors first systematized the literature on customer-driven supply chain and on customer-centric supply chain in the conceptual framework. For each of the two sets of studies, the authors highlighted three main streams of research concerning customer integration into the supply chain. The authors analyzed three different topics: why customer integration is needed, how customer integration takes place and which intra-organizational issues are necessary to implement customer integration into the supply chain. Second, the authors developed a conceptual framework to confront customer-driven and customer-centric approaches to supply chain management in an evolutionary perspective. The authors thus formulated research propositions aimed at entering in greater depth the management of the shift from the customer-driven to customer-centric supply chain. Research limitations/implications: The systematic literature analysis developed in the paper contributed to more integrated and comprehensive knowledge of customer integration into the supply chain. The paper identifies and describes the characteristics of different supply chain approaches through the organization and interpretation of academics’ contributions. The paper suggests the need for further research in at least three areas: the study of variables supporting customer-driven or customer-centric approaches, the relevant intra-organizational issues underscoring the customer-centric supply chain and the impact of digitalization on supply chain processes. Practical implications: The paper outlines the main structural elements that compose the customer-driven and customer-centric supply chains. The results of the systematic analysis of the literature can be used to inform managers about the different levels and approaches for achieving customer integration. These diverse configurations of customer integration imply administrative and organizational considerations. Major issues to be considered when managers want to integrate the customer into the supply chain are identified. In addition, conditions underscoring different options – namely, customer-driven and customer-centric supply chains – are provided. Originality/value: The originality of this work lies in the systematic review of literature examining customer integration into supply chains, which highlights two main levels of customer integration: customer-driven and customer-centric. The main contribution is the formulation of a conceptual framework and new research propositions from the comparison and merger of these two configurations. The information presented in this paper enhances the literature on recent developments in customer integration, thereby enabling managers to select the most suitable configuration for the supply chain structure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-38
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Customer integration
  • Customer-centric supply chain
  • Customer-driven supply chain
  • Supply chain management


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