Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale

Supply Chain Management in Engineer-To-Order contexts

About the project

The focus of the research on Supply Chain Management in the Engineer-To-Order (ETO) ranges from the procurement process, and its strategic value and deployment, to the Configuration of the Supply Chain itself, and the definition of the Order Fulfilment Strategy. The main topics encompass risk and sustainability, modularity and coordination between design and supply chain management. Research has covered so far different ETO industries: from Construction and Oil&Gas, to machinery.

Researcher team:  Enrico Cagno, Roberto Cigolini, Guido J.L. Micheli, Margherita Pero, Yasmine Sabri, Donato Masi (EXT)

Funders: Multiple

Partners: Multiple


Engineer To Order industries present challenges connected to the need to the provide an highly customized product while respecting cost budget and time constraints. Thus the big need for companies to leverage on Supply Chain Management techniques. This research stream aims to address this need. In particular, the research on Supply Chain Management in the Engineer-To-Order (ETO) contexts has developed over the years. From a focus on the procurement process, and its strategic value and deployment, the spectrum of interests has been widened up to the Configuration of the Supply Chain itself, the setting of the relationships with the network of suppliers and the definition of the Order Fulfilment Strategy. The investigated topics tackle the main “hot” issues of the industry: risk management – due to the need to reduce and promptly manage the effect of the variability specific of the sector – , sustainability – due to the high impact on environment and society of ETO industries – , modularity and coordination between design, manufacturing and supply processes – due to the strong interconnection between design and production activities, that are mainly performed concurrently after customer order has arrived – .

The research has been carried out using a wide range of methodologies, and it has covered so far most of the wide spectrum of ETO industries: Construction, Oil and Gas, shipbuilding and machinery.

Main funded Projects

  • Identifying the drivers for excellence within the Engineering, Procurement  & Construction Supply Chains: A focus on the main suppliers
  • Investigation on multiple EPC Supply Chains operating in the Oil&Gas: guidelines for a competitiveness increase
  • Innovative techniques to improve the performance of Supply Chains and planning, leveraging on the inbound supply chain


  • Sabri Y., Micheli G.J.L., Cagno E., (2020) Supplier selection and supply chain configuration in the projects environment, Production Planning & Control, 1-19, DOI: 10.1080/09537287.2020.1853269
  • Cigolini, R., Gosling, J., Iyer, A., Senicheva O. (2020) “Supply Chain Management in Construction and Engineer-to-order Industries”. Production Planning and Control, forthcoming
  • Pero, M., Rossi, M., Xu, J., Cigolini, R. (2020) “Designing supplier networks in global product development”, International Journal of Product Lifecycle Management, Vol. 12, No. 4, pp. 359-383.
  • Cannas V.G., Gosling J., Pero M., Rossi T.,(2020) Determinants for order-fulfilment strategies in engineer-to-order companies: Insights from the machinery industry, International Journal of Production Economics, Vol. 228, paper number: 107743
  • Patrucco A., Ciccullo F., Pero M.,(2020) Industry 4.0 and supply chain process re-engineering: A coproduction study of materials management in construction,   Business Process Management Journal 26(5), pp. 1093-1119
  • Cannas, V.G., Gosling, J., Pero, M., Rossi, T. (2019) Engineering and production decoupling configurations: An empirical study in the machinery industry, International Journal of Production Economics 216, pp. 173-189 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpe.2019.04.025
  • Cannas, V., Pero, M., Rossi, T., Gosling, J., “Integrate Customer Order Decoupling Point and Mass Customisation Concepts: A Literature Review”, Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018 S. Hankammer et al. (eds.), Customization 4.0, Springer Proceedings in Business and Economics, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-77556-2_31
  • Cannas, V., Gosling, J., Pero, M., Rossi, T. An exploratory empirical study of engineering and production decoupling configurations in ETO Machinery Industry, Proceedings of the 20th International Working Seminar on Production Economics, February 19th-23rd, 2018, Innsbruck (Austria)
  • Cannas, V., Pero, M., Pozzi, R., Rossi, T. An empirical application of lean management techniques to support ETO design and production planning, Proceedings of INCOM 2018 11th-13th June 2018 Bergamo (Italy)
  • Prencipe, G., Arafati, S., Cannas, V., Pero, M., Factors and drivers of 2D-CODP positioning in the ETO industry: a survey-based research Proceedings of R&D Management Conference 2nd-4th July 2018 Milano (Italy)
  • Pero, M., Moretto, A., Bottani, E., Bigliardi, B., Environmental Collaboration for Sustainability in the Construction Industry: An Exploratory Study in Italy, Sustainability, Vol. 9, No. 1, Article Number 125, pp. 1-25 2017 doi: 10.3390/su9010125
  • Sabri Y., Micheli G.J.L., Cagno E., “The Future of Temporal Supply Chain Networks”, Cambridge International Manufacturing Symposium 2017, Cambridge, UK, 2017, pp 136-146.
  • Sabri Y., Micheli G.J.L., Cagno E., “The Survival Supply Chain: A Relational View”, European Operations Management Association (EurOMA) 2017 Conference, Edinburgh, UK, 2017, pp 1-10.
  • Micheli G.J.L., Cagno E., “The role of procurement in performance deviation recovery in large EPC projects”, International Journal of Engineering Business Management— Open Access Journal, SAGE Publishing, Vol.8, pp 1-17, 2016. ISSN: 18479790. DOI: 10.1177/1847979016675302.
  • Birkie S., Trucco P., Kaulio M., “Sustaining performance improvement under operational turbulence: The role of lean in engineer-to-order operations”, International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, Vol. 8, N. 4, 2017, pp. 457-481.
  • Cannas, V., Pero, M., Rossi, T. The two-dimensional CODP positioning in Engineer-to-Order Supply Chains: an explorative research in the machine tools sector Proceedings of EurOMA 2017 – 1st-5th July 2017, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Gosling, J., Pero, M., Schoenwitz, M., Towill, D., Cigolini, R., Defining and categorizing modules in building projects: an international perspective, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Vol. 141, No. 11, 2016 04016062   http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0001181
  • Micheli G.J.L., Cagno E., Padovani G., “Matching successful supply chain configuration practices of best performer suppliers with clients’ wishes: Guidelines for the Italian engineered valve suppliers of the Oil & Gas sector”, IEEE International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management, Bali, Indonesia, 2016, pp 1478-1482, ISBN: 9781509036653. DOI: 10.1109/IEEM.2016.7798123.
  • Micheli G.J.L., Cagno E., Manzi F.S.P.M., Sabri Y., “Addressing Supply Chain Configuration Practices: Evidence from Italian Best Performer Valve Suppliers for the Oil & Gas Industry”, 2016 International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Operations Management, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2016, pp 1171-1181, ISBN: 978-1-4673-7762-1.
  • Sabri Y., Micheli G.J.L., Cagno E., “Achieving a Superior Performance through Supply Chain Configuration”, 11th European Research Seminar (ERS) on Logistics and SCM, Wien, Austria, 2016, pp 1-5.
  • Birkie S., Trucco P., “Understanding dynamism and complexity factors in engineer-to-order and their influence on lean implementation strategy”, Production Planning & Control. Vol. 27, N. 5, 2016, pp. 345-359.
  • Pero, M., Stößlein, M., Cigolini, R. Linking product modularity to supply chain integration in the construction and shipbuilding industries, International Journal of Production Economics, Vol. 170, part B, pp. 602-615, 2015 DOI:10.1016/j.ijpe.2015.05.011
  • Cigolini, R., Pero, M., Rossi, T., Sianesi, A. Using simulation to manage project supply chain in the off-shore oil and gas industry, 2015 Production Planning and Control, Vol. 26, No. 3, pp. 167-177
  • Sianesi, A., Brun, A., Caridi, M., Cigolini, R., Miragliotta, G., Pero, M., Rossi, T.  “What’s the right supply chain for your project?”, Impiantistica Italiana, Vol. 28, No. 3, pp. 14-26, 2015 (in Italian)
  • Schoenwitz, M., Pero, M., Cigolini, R., Goslin, J., Towill, D. Assessing the Impact of Modularity on Project Phases in the Housebuilding Industry, Proceedings of 22nd EUROMA conference 26th June – 1st July 2015, Neuchâtel – Switzerland. Book af abstracts: ISBN:978-2-9700901-2-0
  • Masi D., Micheli G.J.L., Cagno E., “A meta-model for choosing a supplier selection technique within an EPC company”, Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, Pergamon Press Ltd., Vol.19 No.1, pp 5-15, 2013. ISSN: 1478-4092. DOI: 10.1016/j.pursup.2012.07.002. In top25.sciencedirect (Hottest Articles, JPSM) 2013, April – 2013, June.
  • Cagno E., Micheli G.J.L., “Enhancing EPC supply chain competitiveness through procurement risk management”, Risk Management: An International Journal, Palgrave Macmillan Ltd., Vol.13 No.3, pp 147-180, 2011. ISSN: 1460-3799, eISSN: 1743-4637. DOI: 10.1057/rm.2011.6.
  • Micheli G.J.L., Cagno E., Di Giulio A., “Reducing The Total Cost of Supply through Risk-Efficiency-Based Supplier Selection in the EPC Industry”, Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, Pergamon Press Ltd., Vol.15 No.3, pp 166-177, 2009. ISSN: 1478-4092. DOI: 10.1016/j.pursup.2009.05.001.
  • Micheli G.J.L., “A Decision-Maker-Centred Supplier Selection Approach for Critical Supplies”, Management Decision, Engineering, Chemical & Marine Press Ltd., Vol.46 No.6, pp 918-932, 2008. ISSN: 0025-1747. DOI: 10.1108/00251740810882671.
  • Micheli G.J.L., Cagno E., Zorzini M., “Supply Risk Management vs Supplier Selection to Manage the Supply Risk in the EPC Supply Chain”, Management Research News, Emerald Publishing Group Ltd., Vol.31 No.11, pp 846-866, 2008. ISSN: 0140-9174. DOI: 10.1108/01409170810913042.


Fondazione De Januario; ANIMP – Associazione Nazionale di Impiantistica Industriale, ANIMA  – Federazione delle Associazioni Nazionali dell’Industria Meccanica Varia ed Affine, and ANIE – Federazione Nazionale delle Imprese Elettrotecniche ed Elettroniche, Autostrada del Brennero spa, Anas spa, Efeso srl, Ministero della Sviluppo Economico (bando Industria 2015), EXPO 2015 spa, Trillium Pumps Italy S.r.l.


  • Cardiff University (Dr. Jonathan Gosling)
  • TUM (Dr. Martin Stößlein)
  • Aalborg university (Prof. Kjeld Nielsen)
  • Krannert School of Management – Purdue University (prof. Ananth V. Iyer, Dr. Olga Senicheva)


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