SKU classification: A literature review and conceptual framework

Tim J. van Kampen, Renzo Akkerman, Dirk Pieter van Donk

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    Abstract

    Purpose: Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) classifications are widely used in the field of production and operations management. Although many theoretical and practical examples of classifications exist, there are no overviews of the current literature, and general guidelines are lacking with respect to method selection for classifying SKUs. The purpose of this paper is to systematically synthesise the earlier work in this area, and to conceptualise and discuss the factors that influence the choice of a specific SKU classification. Design/methodology/approach: This paper structurally reviews existing contributions and synthesises these into a conceptual framework for SKU classification. Findings: How SKUs are classified depends on the classification aim, the context and the method that is chosen. Three main production and operations management aims where found: inventory management, forecasting and production strategy. Within the method three decisions are identified to come to a classification: the characteristics, the classification technique and the operationalisation of the classes. Research limitations/implications: Drawing on our literature survey, we conclude with a conceptual framework describing the factors that influence SKU classification. Further research could use this framework to develop guidelines for real-life applications. Practical implications: Examples from a variety of industries and general directions are provided thatwhich managers could use to develop their own SKU classification. Originality/value: This paper aims to advance the literature on SKU classification from the level of individual examples to a conceptual level and provides directions on how to develop a SKU classification.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
    Volume32
    Issue number7
    Pages (from-to)850-876
    ISSN0144-3577
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Keywords

    • Production strategy
    • Inventory management
    • SKU classification
    • Forecasting
    • Demand classification

    Cite this

    van Kampen, Tim J. ; Akkerman, Renzo ; van Donk, Dirk Pieter. / SKU classification: A literature review and conceptual framework. In: International Journal of Operations and Production Management. 2012 ; Vol. 32, No. 7. pp. 850-876.
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    author = "{van Kampen}, {Tim J.} and Renzo Akkerman and {van Donk}, {Dirk Pieter}",
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    SKU classification: A literature review and conceptual framework. / van Kampen, Tim J.; Akkerman, Renzo; van Donk, Dirk Pieter.

    In: International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Vol. 32, No. 7, 2012, p. 850-876.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    AU - Akkerman, Renzo

    AU - van Donk, Dirk Pieter

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    AB - Purpose: Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) classifications are widely used in the field of production and operations management. Although many theoretical and practical examples of classifications exist, there are no overviews of the current literature, and general guidelines are lacking with respect to method selection for classifying SKUs. The purpose of this paper is to systematically synthesise the earlier work in this area, and to conceptualise and discuss the factors that influence the choice of a specific SKU classification. Design/methodology/approach: This paper structurally reviews existing contributions and synthesises these into a conceptual framework for SKU classification. Findings: How SKUs are classified depends on the classification aim, the context and the method that is chosen. Three main production and operations management aims where found: inventory management, forecasting and production strategy. Within the method three decisions are identified to come to a classification: the characteristics, the classification technique and the operationalisation of the classes. Research limitations/implications: Drawing on our literature survey, we conclude with a conceptual framework describing the factors that influence SKU classification. Further research could use this framework to develop guidelines for real-life applications. Practical implications: Examples from a variety of industries and general directions are provided thatwhich managers could use to develop their own SKU classification. Originality/value: This paper aims to advance the literature on SKU classification from the level of individual examples to a conceptual level and provides directions on how to develop a SKU classification.

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