|Title:||Supply chain flexibility and responsiveness : an empirical analysis of the Chinese textile and clothing industry|
Textile industry -- China.
Clothing trade -- China.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
|Department:||Institute of Textiles and Clothing|
|Pages:||xii, 174 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.|
|Abstract:||Today's textile and clothing business environment is characterized by proliferation in product variety and volatility of the global marketplace. In the fast-fashion and high-fashion industry, in which product ranges and styles are constantly renewed, and in the basic apparel industry, where long production and distribution lead times are always found, uncertainty is an especially important issue. As a result, many firms have restructured their operational processes to better cope with environmental dynamics and to achieve competitive priority. Flexibility represents the capability of a firm to respond to unanticipated environmental changes in its production process and in the marketplace (Upton, 1994; Zhang et al., 2003). Manufacturing flexibility, which is perceived to be one of the major competitive weapons for manufacturers in today's increasingly uncertain environment and turbulent markets (Beamon, 1999; Oke, 2005), has been well acknowledged and studied in previous research. In the supply chain context, as more participants have become involved, including various suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and customers, the relationships among them have become much more complicated. To respond to customers' dynamic demands, the importance of implementing a flexibility strategy in supply chain management has been perceived. However, there is a lack of research on supply chain flexibility strategies, and, in particular, the impact of flexibility strategies on supply chain responsiveness has not been adequately addressed.|
The objective of this research was to examine how the implementation of supply chain flexibility strategies impacts on the responsiveness of the supply chain beyond the boundaries of an individual firm. A two-stage research methodology was used in this study. In the first stage, an exploratory study, which was composed of a literature review and a multiple-case study, was conducted. The literature review provided theoretical bases for research model development, while the multiple-case study examined and confirmed the components of the supply chain flexibility construct. In the second stage, a postal survey was adopted to collect data from the textile and apparel industry on the Chinese mainland to verify the research model developed in the first stage. Specifically, a measurement model of supply chain flexibility (SCF) was developed on the basis of the literature review and multiple-case study, and was validated using the data collected from a survey study. The findings support the assertion that SCF is a multifaceted construct that consists of four dimensions, namely sourcing flexibility, operating system flexibility, distribution flexibility, and information system flexibility. Further, the mediating role of SCF between two organizational culture characteristics (market orientation and supply chain partnership orientation) and the responsiveness of the supply chain was investigated. An integrative model which explicates the mediating role of SCF in marketing strategy frameworks is proposed and empirically verified using the data collected exclusively from 192 companies involved in the textile and apparel industry. Results from partial least squares (PLS) analyses suggest that the level of SCF can be enhanced through an organization's particular cultural characteristics. In turn, the SCF enhances the ability of the organization's supply chain to promptly respond to customer demand. This study sheds light on the understanding of flexibility from a supply chain perspective which involves both upstream suppliers and downstream distributors. The findings of this study demonstrate that SCF fosters responsiveness to customers' enquiries and requirements, and the ability to meet their various demands. Further, the results of this study indicate that the implementation of an SCF strategy is facilitated by a firm's strong market orientation and supply chain partnership orientation. The results also provide valuable insights for managerial personnel to integrate flexibility into their strategic business development within their supply chain environment.
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