Understanding Agile Supply Chain Management in the Fashion essay

The purpose of this conceptual paper through cross disciplinary literature review is to identify critical determinants of agile supply chain and provides a new theoretical framework for underpinning and driving supply chain agility. The research focuses on elements of organizational capabilities particularly partnerњs characteristics, alliance management and process capabilities which organizations deploy for building a good relationship between buyer and supplier and create competitive advantage in responding to unpredictable market changes.

PROBLEM DEFINITION Turbulent and volatile markets are becoming the norm as life-cycles shorten and global economic and competitive forces create additional uncertainty. The risk attached to lengthy and slow-moving logistics, pipelines have become unsustainable, forcing organizations to look again at how their supply chains are structured and managed. This paper suggests that the key to survival in these changed conditions is through agility particular by the creation of responsive supply chains.

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OBJECTIVE Agility is a vital factor for business success in complex industrial landscapes as it enables firms to successfully compete in a competitive market. Firms are increasing relying on information systems in achieving such agility throughout the supply chain which facilitate greater agility in the supply chain, leading to improved operational performance. LITERATURE REVIEW The development of information systems (IS) has rapidly reshaped the business processes over the last decades, and supply chain agility, founded on the various integrations between supply chain partners (Christopher, 2005; van Hook et al. 2001), has been especially influenced. IS integration has made the sharing of information along the supply chains possible, enabling ell time integration between supply chain partners through information visibility. The thinking behind solutions to help companies to deal and respond to business environment has since the asses focused on the agility concept as a means for responding to business changes. Today, agility in supply chain is requirement needed by any company to have a high degree of competitiveness inside this highly dynamic and complex business environment.

Agility has been widely recognized as a winning approach for companies and can be considered as the main strategy for staying in the dynamic business environment. Agility as a concept has been first introduced to be applied to the manufacturing function, where it was defined by Kid as “… Agile manufacturing can be considered as the integration of organization, highly skilled and knowledgeable people, and advanced technologies, to achieve co-operation and innovation in response to the need to supply our customers with quality customized products”.

Brown and Absent (2003; cited in Maharanis et al. , 2006) define agile manufacturing as the ability to deal with the changes in the business environment market quickly and effectively. A key characteristic of supply chain agility is the instant availability of information to manage an ћon demandј business operation. There is evidence that lack of information sharing and sparse information prohibits supply chain coordination and lead to greater operational inefficiencies.

For example, e-mail systems, expert systems, modeling and simulation systems are identified as requirements to achieve agile enterprises. For exploring IS integration in the context of supply chain agility, firstly, customer sensitivity supports the customers processes in a way that is perceived by customers o be satisfied, and emphasizes fast response to customer requirements (Christopher, 2005). IS integration within and among organizations enables them to capture data on demand, leading to customer-focused supply chains and achieving greater responsiveness (Christopher, 2000).

Secondly, one dimension of agile supply chains is to thrive on change and uncertainty, which is stressed by process integration (Garlic et al. , 2006). IS integration provides real time information to reflect changes, including customer orders or market changes so that the product and volume flexibility can be improved. Thirdly, cooperation is necessary within an organization as a means of synchronizing often numerous people and organizational subunits. Good communication is a key to realize such cooperation (Press et al. 1996). IS integration facilitates the implementation of communication by synchronizing information across supply chains within real time. Fourthly, virtual integration facilitates the process of achieving greater agility by encouraging the free flow of information and exchange of ideas, i. E. Collaborative organizational work. System integration leverages the value of information because it spans internal and external organizational boundaries making it possible to provide the information that is needed (McCauley, 1999).

THE APPAREL SECTOR Apparel sector is fashion driven where any product is an element of style which is likely to be short-lived. We have defined fashion markets as typically exhibiting the following characteristics: Short life-cycles – the product is often ephemeral, designed to capture the mood of the moment: consequently, the period in which it will be scalable is likely to be very short and seasonal, measured in months or even weeks. High volatility – demand for these products is rarely stable or linear. It may be influenced by the vagaries of weather, films, or even by pop stars and footballers. W predictability – because of the volatility of demand it is extremely difficult to forecast with any accuracy even total demand within a period, let alone week-by-week or item-by-item demand. High impulse purchasing – many buying decisions by consumers for these products are made at the point of purchase. In other words, the shopper when confronted with the product is stimulated to buy it, hence the critical need for ћavailability. MANAGING THE FASHION LOGISTICS PIPELINE Conventional wisdom holds that the way to cope with uncertainty is to improve the quality of the forecast.

Yet, by definition, the volatility of demand and the short lifestyles found in many fashion markets makes it highly unlikely that forecasting methods will ever be developed that can consistently and accurately predict sales at the item level Shorter lead-times mean, by definition that the forecasting horizon is shorter – hence the risk of error is lower. In the same way that the Captain of a super- tanker has a planning horizon that is determined by the vesselњs stopping assistance (many miles) so too in business the forecast period is determined by the time it takes to design, make and ship the product – lead-times in other words.

There are three critical leadsmen that must be managed by organizations that seek to compete successfully in fashion markets: Time-to-Market – how long does it take the business to recognize a market opportunity and to translate this into a product or service and to bring it to the market? Time-to-Serve – how long does it take to capture a customer’s order and to deliver the product to the retail customer [Is satisfaction? Time-to-React – how long does it take to adjust the output of the business in response to volatile demand? Can the ћtap be turned on or off quickly?

Edmund, et al. (2001), give a very in-depth definition of “Supply chain agility’. Two concepts inherent in agility are: Speed: time it takes to ship and receive a good Flexibility: Degree in which a firm is able to adjust the time in which it can ship or receive goods. Four dimensions of agile supply chain practices can be identified. They are: C Customer sensitivity: Emphasizes customers and markets, including customer-focused logistics and rapid response. Firms are more likely to gain nominative advantage through fast delivery and product variety rather than price.

Therefore, the effectiveness of supply chains can be measured by its responsiveness through sharing and transferring real time information among suppliers and customers, IS encourages a fast response to market requirements. Network integration: There is a growing recognition that companies need strategic partnerships with shared targets to compete in competitive markets. Therefore, in order to sustain competitive advantage, it is critical to leverage the strengths and competencies of partners to realize fast responsiveness to racket requirements (Christopher, 2000).

Thus dependability among partners, such as the performance of suppliers in terms of speed and reliability of delivery is the key. Process integration: It is related to uncertainty across the supply chain, placing emphasis on self-management teams instead of standardization so that core modules of products can be delegated within networks of agile competitors. Therefore, alliances among various suppliers, manufacturers and customers will be inevitable as it enables collaborative working methods such as joint product design.

Therefore, while focusing on their own impenitence, companies are much more likely to increase product variety and improve the ability to handle orders with special customer requirements. Meanwhile, with the availability of real time demand data, it improves company volume flexibility – that is, increasing or reducing production based on demand. Virtual integration: Supply chains can be structured around the flow of information to ensure that members within organizations along the supply chain have access to relevant information.

IS integration enables more effective information gathering and dissemination between customers and appliers to make consensus focused development more efficient, thus contributing to organizational learning. The Agile Approach to Supply Chain Management Inventory is held at as few levels are possible. Finished goods are sometimes delivered direct from factory to customer. Replenishment at different levels in the supply chain is driven by actual sales collected at the customer interface.

Production is planned across functional boundaries. Us apply chain systems are highly integrated, giving clear visibility of inventory at all levels Minimum lead times are developed and used. The principles of the postponement of production are purchased. The majority of stock is held as work in progress awaiting final configuration, which will be based on actual customer requirements. RESEARCH GAP This research proposes to understand the need of agility in production processes in relation to apparel sector.

This can be further studied upon various stages of packaging and distribution which can direct innovations in the same. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY The study is done with the help of various books and published articles, journals and research papers. The research started with acknowledgement of importance of agile supply chain and its role in today’s competitive business. Various models and parameters of agile supply chain were discussed and its dimensions were studied to understand various nodes in agile supply chain.

As discussed earlier as Agile supply chain is different than Lean supply chain and the later minimizes the nodes while the former creates responsibilities to be delivered at a quicker pace and a sense of market prediction, it is more complex to understand it. After understanding the concept upon which Agility in supply chain rests, research concludes towards the delivery keys of the agile supply chain. Various internet sources and research papers were studied and books were referred (see bibliography). Companies having agility in their supply chains and innovation were studied.

Questionnaire design were designed to understand the importance of agile supply chain and its supremacy in customer satisfaction to its customers SCOPE Agile manufacturing is the contemporary manufacturing strategy which enables the modern organization to survive in the competitive. The main objective of the paper was to explore the concept of agile supply chain through IS capabilities in enhancing the supply chain performance. Based on literature explored, because agile supply chain is a winning strategy for growth, it is evident that it is a strategy for an improved supply chain.

Agile supply chain is triggered by “change” which is the only constant thing in the business environment. The research focuses on determinants of agile supply chain in the context of buyer and supplier relationships and provides us with an insight on how organizations may deploy its capabilities in achieving supply chain agility. Knowing the importance supply chain agility has influenced the three main organizational capabilities identified earlier and the deed to incorporate partnerјs characteristics, alliance management and process capability in the buyer and supplier relationship is crucial.

SAMPLING DESIGN Sampling frame- The frame selected for the study is Mohammedan and Changing. Sampling processes: Non probabilistic convenience sample method would be used. Sampling unit: The peoples from different variables such as age, gender, education, monthly income and occupation were considered as a sampling unit for the research. Sampling Technique: Sampling technique will be Nan-probabilistic convenience sampling which will include analyzing case studies of such impasses and their successful ventures in apparels due to fast implementation of design, direction and technology.

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