Background: The supply chain is an integrated network, which is generally composed of
suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and ultimate users. In the supply chain system, each
member has different effect on the system operation. The importance measure can be used to help
the managers to recognize the weak components of the system. In the related patents of supply chain
networks, they seldom consider the importance analysis.
Methods: Based on the reliability analysis of the supply chain, this paper introduces the importance
measure to analyze the influences of supply chain members on the entire system. Then the importance
values of different supply chain members are compared, and weaknesses recognition of the
supply chain is analyzed.
Results: According to the importance values of different members in supply chain networks, when
the members have the same shortage rates, the importance in the series position is larger, and the
manufacturer has the most effect on the supply chain systems.
Conclusion: During the whole period, the ranking of Birnbaum importance is the manufacturer,
supplier and distributor, and retailer. These are helpful to increase the operational efficiency of the
supply chain and provide effective methods for improving the supply chain management.