The digitalization of operations and supply chain management: Theoretical and methodological implications

Jan Holmström, Matthias Holweg, Benn Lawson, Frits K. Pil, Stephan M. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialScientific

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The digitalization of intra‐ and inter‐organizational processes offers significant opportunity for research in the field of operations and supply chain management (OSCM). This essay summarizes the contributions of the special issue articles, highlighting their focus on additive manufacturing and the encapsulation of design and production information in a digital artifact. We conceptualize the digital artifact as containing the digital genes of the associated physical object. Digital encapsulation thus involves the integration of product design information with additional information on how that design is to be translated into a physical object, delivered to the customer, and used. Building on insights from the special issue articles, we identify three pathways by which digital encapsulation affects OSCM practice, as well as theory elaboration and extension. First, digital encapsulation allows each unique digitally encapsulated artifact to be acted on independently by OSCM systems. Second, digital encapsulation enables the redistribution of activities across organizational and geographic landscapes. Third, digital encapsulation facilitates interactivity of the digital artifact with external environment inputs. We conclude with a number of directions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)728-734
JournalJournal of Operations Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019
MoE publication typeB1 Non-refereed journal articles


  • digitalization
  • encapsulation
  • object orientation
  • operations and supply chain management theory


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