Conceptual Frameworks for Supply Chain
No great discovery was ever made without a bold guess.
2.1 Agile, Flexible and Responsive Supply Chains
To ensure long-term competitiveness and survival, companies implement new strategies, based on collaboration with business partners and an advanced utilization of IT and Web services (Geunes et al. 2002). Various competitive strategies of agile, responsive and flexible SCs have been developed over the last decade. In many branches, hierarchical SCs with long-term predetermined suppliers’ structures and product programmes evolve into flexible dynamic SC structuring (Sarkis et al. 2007). Nowadays, agile organizations with heterogeneous structures, core competences, buyer-focused cells and extensive application of Web services are being increasingly introduced in practice (van Donk and van der Vaart 2007). Collin and Lorenzin (2006) emphasize that “an agile SC is a basic competitive requirement in the industry and building agility into operations requires a continuous planning process together with customers”. According to Vonderembse et al. (2006), “an agile SC profits by responding to rapidly changing, continually fragmenting global markets by being dynamic and context specific, aggressively changing, and growth oriented. They are driven by customer designed products and services”.
Chandra and Grabis (2007) identified the key triggers for designing and implementing SC with regard to agility, flexibility and responsiveness. They are as follows: •
introduction of new product(s), or upgrade for existing product(s); introduction of new, or improvement in existing, process(es); allocation of new, or re-allocation of existing, resource(s); selection of new supplier(s), or deselection of existing ones; changes in demand patterns for product(s) manufactured;
changes in lead times for product and/or process life cycles; and changes in commitments within or between SC members.
Within the strategy of agility, different concepts like VE, agile SCs and responsive SCs exist (Christopher and Towill 2001, Camarinha-Matos and Afsarmanesh
2 Conceptual Frameworks for Supply Chain Management
2004, Ross 2004, Yusuf et al. 2004). Lee (2004) specifies that the main objectives of SC agility are to respond to short-term changes in demand or supply quickly and to handle external disruptions smoothly. The most distinguished cases of agile SC applications are those of DELL, Benetton, AT&T, Nissan, BMW, Nokia etc. Bustelo et al. (2007), Collin and Lorenzin (2006) and Gunasekaran et al. (2008) ground the practical need and efficiency of agile SCs on the basis of empirical tests.
The advantages of agility, responsiveness and flexibility lie in customeroriented networking and flexible configurable SCs conditioned by an enlargement of alternatives to search for suitable partners for a cooperation enabled by enterprise resource and advanced planning systems (APS) and Internet technologies. The agility, responsiveness, and flexibility ensure the following: • flexibility and adaptation to market changes;
• building integrated business processes to unify customer relationships, forecasting, planning, replenishment, distribution, and manufacturing; • systematic information coordination; and
• supply chain event management.
To narrow the literature analysis to the objectives of this research, we will concentrate on the problems of (1) modularization/postponement and agility, (2) virtualization and agility, and (3) coordination and agility.
2.1.1 Postponement, Modularization and Agility
Van Hoek (2001) defines postponement as “an organizational concept whereby some of the activities in the SC are not performed until customer orders are received”. Recent quantitative models have evaluated the cost and benefits of applying postponement to a large variety of stochastic and deterministic settings (Li et al. 2008).
Ernst and Kamrad (2000)...
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Picot A, Reichwald R and Wigand RT (2001) Die grenzenlose Unternehmung. Gabler Verlag,
Reichhart A, Holweg M (2007) Creating the customer-responsive supply chains: a reconciliation
Ross A (2004) Creating agile supply chain. IEEE Manufacturing Engineer 82(6):18–21
SAP (2000, 2002) Adaptive Supply Chain Networks
Sarkis J, Talluri S and Gunasekaran A (2007) A strategic model for agile virtual enterprise partner selection. Int J Oper Prod Manag 27(12):1213–1234
Scholz-Reiter B, Hoehns H, Hamann T (2004) Adaptive control of supply chains: building
Sharif A, Irani Z and Lloyd D (2007) Information technology and performance management for
build-to-order supply chains
Swafford PM, Ghosh S, Murthy N (2008) Achieving supply chain agility through IT integration
Tachizawa EM, Thomsen CG (2007) Drivers and sources of supply flexibility: an exploratory
Towill D and Mason-Jones R (1999) Using the information decoupling point to improve supply
Tully S (1993) The modular corporation. Fortune 08.02.1993:52–56
Van Donk D, Van der Vaart T (2007) Responsiveness through buyer-focused cells: exploring a
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Van Hoek RI (2001) The rediscovery of postponement a literature review and directions for research
Vonderembse MA, Uppal M, Huang SH, Dismukes JP (2006) Designing supply chains: towards
Wadhwa S, Saxena A, Chan FTS (2008) Framework for flexibility in dynamic supply chain
Wirth S, Baumann A (2001) Wertschoepfung durch vernetzte Kompetenz. Huss Verlag, Munich
Yusuf MA, Gunasekaran A, Adeleye EO, Sivayoganathan K (2004) Agile supply chain capabilities
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