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Title: The effect of visibility in the integration of lean and agile for supply chains
Author: Wang, Xin
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2012
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Over the last two decades, supply chain researchers have sought to find appropriate ways of achieving lean and agile “LeAgile” supply chains. However, the differences in the priorities of the lean and agile paradigms multiply the challenges in lean and agile combinations. The most discussed approaches in the literature are the decoupling point and the late customisation (postponement) strategies. Supply chain visibility as a solution is less frequently discussed though the ‘Smarter Supply Chain of the Future’ report states that ‘70% of supply chain leaders view Supply Chain Visibility as their number one challenge ... the need to ‘see’ and act on the right information’ (IBM, 2010). Technologies such as EDI and RFID have been implemented to improve visibility, have not gained general acceptance. Newer, low cost ‘Cloud’ solutions may be able to address the need better. Previous research has suggested that increasing information visibility improves supply chain performance, though the relationship between the degree of visibility and resulting performance does not appear to have been addressed. Therefore, a role playing simulation methodology was devised to evaluate the effect of supply chain visibility on improved LeAgile supply chain performance. Role playing simulations better emulate the human control actions in supply chains, but can also suffer/benefit from traits such as learning. A low cost Web and Cloud based system was devised to enable visibility and communication in the simulation. Different information sharing configurations (visibility levels) were evaluated for a typical four-echelon supply chain. The results show a correlation in improved supply chain LeAgility with the degree of visibility of demand and/or operational information, but this was not a linear relationship. A degree of ‘digital’ waste eroded performance with increasing levels of visibility. Comparison simulations were then conducted to compare the supply chain visibility strategy with ‘decoupling point’ and ‘postponement’ strategies for the same four-echelon supply chain. The results suggest that after adopting the supply chain visibility approach, the overall performance of the simulation supply chain increased by 26.3% and 26.4% compared to the decoupling point and postponement approach scenarios. Further simulation experiments with different supply chain configurations are required to test the wider applicability of the results.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD28 Management. Industrial Management