A Review and Classification of Measures to Adjust Supply Chain Flexibility
Pfeiffer D, Jorch D, Hellingrath B
The ability of a supply chain to flexibly cope with an increasingly volatile business environment is a key to responsiveness towards unexpected changes such as varying customer demand. A major question in this context is how a supply chain's level of flexibility can be adjusted. It was found that a lot of research, although explicitly dealing with flexibility, lacks an overview of concrete flexibility measures. This research paper seeks to support filling this gap by providing a literature review as well as a characterization and classification of measures to adjust supply chain flexibility. The review focuses on literature from the flexibility domain, but also covers contributions targeting the robustness, agility, and adaptivity of supply chains as well as supply chain risk management. A scheme for characterization is suggested which builds on attributes that need to be considered when thinking about the application of such flexibility measures in practice. It includes (amongst others) the costs and lead times for the setup and utilization of flexibility measures, and the types of flexibility impacted by their application. Flexibility measures are described and characterized according to this scheme, and a classification which builds on these attributes is established.