Resilience and Robustness of Dynamic Manufacturing Supply Networks

An analysis of order fulfilment approaches for delivering variety and customization

Bart L. MacCarthy
International Journal of Production Research 51, 7329-7344, 2013.

The growth in product variety has been accelerating in almost all
product categories over the last four decades. Providing high levels of
variety and customisation is challenging for many producers. Here the
range and diversity of order fulfilment approaches available to
producers to respond are examined critically. A continuum of six
fulfilment approaches is presented, encompassing both traditional
approaches and those that have emerged more recently. The new integrated
perspective focuses on how a producer can respond to provide relevant
product variety and customisation. Demand-side and supply-side factors
influencing the need for greater flexibility in order fulfilment systems
are identified and the need to balance both is emphasised. Two specific
approaches – mass customisation and open pipeline systems – are analysed
in detail. The range of order fulfilment approaches is considered in the
context of postponement and production system decoupling. Challenges in
two sectors – the clothing sector and the automotive sector – are
analysed. The factors affecting the choice of order fulfilment approach
are discussed. Producers experiencing the competitive pressures to
provide greater levels of variety and customisation need to consider the
full range and diversity of order fulfilment approaches discussed here.

doi: 10.1080/00207543.2013.852703
permanent link: http://www.for1748.de/papers/MacCarthy2013
The project "Resilience and Robustness of Dynamic Manufacturing Supply Networks" is funded by the EPSRC under grant number EP/K031686/1