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How can fluid dynamics help supply chain management?


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  • Romano, Pietro
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    This paper investigates a pivotal problem in supply chain management: how to configure supply networks and business processes to achieve time performance. The study focuses on the time-sensitive casual wear industry. Initially, Zara's and Benetton's supply networks are cross-compared to understand the rationale behind their differences in time performance. Starting from this analysis, the paper then borrows an analogy with fluid dynamics to explain the relations between the supply network structure, business process configuration and time performance, and interprets Benetton's and Zara's configuration decisions and their impact on time performance. The paper proposes a model that unites under one framework the different perspectives existing in the literature on the phenomenon under investigation. This study also has interesting practical implications, as it offers guidance for managers facing programmes for supply network design or re-configuration.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Journal of Production Economics.

    Volume (Year): 118 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 2 (April)
    Pages: 463-472

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:proeco:v:118:y:2009:i:2:p:463-472

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    Keywords: Case studies Supply network structure Supply chain management Textiles/clothing Time performance;


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    1. Mason-Jones, Rachel & Towill, Denis R., 1999. "Total cycle time compression and the agile supply chain," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 61-73, May.
    2. Arshinder & Kanda, Arun & Deshmukh, S.G., 2008. "Supply chain coordination: Perspectives, empirical studies and research directions," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 316-335, October.
    3. Vonderembse, Mark A. & Uppal, Mohit & Huang, Samuel H. & Dismukes, John P., 2006. "Designing supply chains: Towards theory development," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 223-238, April.
    4. Persson, Fredrik & Olhager, Jan, 2002. "Performance simulation of supply chain designs," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 77(3), pages 231-245, June.
    5. Martínez-Olvera, César, 2008. "Methodology for realignment of supply-chain structural elements," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 714-722, August.
    6. Ben Naylor, J. & Naim, Mohamed M & Berry, Danny, 1999. "Leagility: Integrating the lean and agile manufacturing paradigms in the total supply chain," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 107-118, May.
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    Cited by:
    1. Danese, Pamela, 2013. "Supplier integration and company performance: A configurational view," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1029-1041.
    2. Danese, Pamela & Romano, Pietro & Formentini, Marco, 2013. "The impact of supply chain integration on responsiveness: The moderating effect of using an international supplier network," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 125-140.
    3. Marufuzzaman, Mohammed & Deif, Ahmed M., 2010. "A dynamic approach to determine the product flow nature in apparel supply chain network," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 128(2), pages 484-495, December.
    4. Romano, Pietro & Formentini, Marco, 2012. "Designing and implementing open book accounting in buyer–supplier dyads: A framework for supplier selection and motivation," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 68-83.


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