Improving supply-chain-reconfiguration decisions at IBM

Craig W. Kirkwood, Matthew P. Slaven, Arnold Maltz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


We developed a decision-support system for IBM's supply-chain-configuration decisions. Managers and analysts used this prepackaged multiobjective decision-analysis procedure in facilitated workshops to analyze mid-level supply-chain configuration decisions based on 22 considerations covering cost, quality, customer responsiveness, strategic issues, and operating constraints. These multiattribute utility analyses incorporated uncertainty through expert estimates of probabilities and were implemented in a spreadsheet environment. We applied the approach to five IBM supply-chain decisions, and the results satisfied internal stakeholders that the analysis correctly included financial and nonfinancial considerations along with the associated risks and provided a useful audit trail for executive management. IBM now views this decision-support system as a potential template for future supply-chain decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)460-473
Number of pages14
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Decision analysis: multiple criteria
  • Electronics
  • Industries: computer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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