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A framework for developing flexibility in engineer-to-order supply chains

Gosling, Jonathan and Naim, Mohamed Mohamed 2010. A framework for developing flexibility in engineer-to-order supply chains. Presented at: 15th International Symposium on Logistics (ISL 2010), Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia, 4-7 July 2010.

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Abstract

Purpose: The engineer-to-order (ETO) supply chain structure has the highest levels of customisation across all activities when compared with other types of supply chain, and each product is designed for the needs of a specific customer, resulting in high levels of uncertainty. Most of the published research in operations and supply chain management has neglected the needs of the ETO sector and, while numerous studies suggest that a philosophy of ‘one size fits all’ strategy to supply chain management is not appropriate, there are very few guidelines for the specific strategies that are suitable for the ETO supply chain. The aim of this paper is to develop and test a framework for organisations to develop the appropriate flexibilities for the uncertainties in ETO supply chains. Research approach: The research design is structured in two phases. First, a case study phase is presented. Three units of analysis are specified within an ETO system boundary: network co-ordinators, projects and supplier pipelines. In total, this paper investigates two network co-ordinators, five projects and twelve supplier pipelines across two ETO systems. The second phase is based on seven evaluation interviews using a selection of participants from a range of ETO industries. These interviews offer an indication of the extent to which these findings can be generalised to different ETO environments. Findings: A four-step route map for organisations in the ETO sector is presented. The four stages are: identify supply chain structure, identify supply chain uncertainties, optimise pipelines and configure the network with required flexibility levels. The case study phase of the research suggests that 23 of 42 system uncertainties can be mitigated using the framework. Based on the evaluation interviews, this paper concludes that while these findings are case specific the generic stages of the route map are applicable across ETO sectors. Research impact: There are very few guidelines for the specific strategies that are suitable for the ETO supply chain. This paper addresses a gap in the literature by presenting a framework for considering supply chain design in the ETO sector. The synthesis of concepts relating to supply chain structures, supply chain uncertainty, pipeline management and supply chain flexibility makes the important contribution of consolidating and establishing relationships between fields and concepts. Practical impact: The framework provides a practical, structured route map for organisations to move towards more flexible supply chains, which are tailored to their own specific needs and operating characteristics.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Centre for Advanced Manufacturing Systems At Cardiff (CAMSAC)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
Uncontrolled Keywords: Uncertainty; Risk; Flexibility; Engineer-to-order; Logistics; Operations management
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Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:36
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/23623

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