فعل و انفعال بین عدم اطمینان و انعطاف پذیری در سراسر زنجیره ارزش : به سوی یک مدل تحول تولید انعطاف پذیر
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|3643||2006||18 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Operations Management, Volume 24, Issue 5, September 2006, Pages 476–493
Traditionally, flexibility, in its reactive application, has been viewed as a coping mechanism against uncertainty in an organization's internal or external environment. It has also been shown that flexibility can be utilized proactively to create a competitive advantage for a company. Despite the recognition that it serves a dual purpose, little work has been done to synthesize these competing uses of flexibility. This study proposes a model that not only articulates an effective use of flexibility concurrently for both proactive and reactive purposes, it also allows a simultaneous view of the opportunities and uncertainties along the value-chain. By embracing the entire value-chain, this model considers the implications of the inter-relating feedback loops within the supply-chain, which to-date has been overlooked in the flexibility literature. Such an approach provides managers with a tool that allows them to consider more options in configuring flexibility between its two competing uses. Within the model, eleven dimensions of flexibility are identified and then classified into three levels comprising a transformation process. This model is grounded in observations from a field study of 10 printed circuit board (PCB) fabrication companies.
Flexibility is defined as the ability to react or transform with minimum penalties in time, cost, and performance (Upton, 1997). Traditionally, flexibility, in its reactive use,1 has been viewed as a coping mechanism against uncertainty in an organization's internal or external environment (Beach et al., 2000, Collins et al., 1998, Gerwin, 1983, Gupta and Somers, 1996, Mackenzie, 1998, Milliken, 1987 and Swamidass and Newell, 1987). Such uncertainties manifest themselves in the form of equipment breakdowns, variable task times, queuing delays, rejects and reworks, labor absenteeism and turnover, material mishandling, fluctuations in demand, product mix, actions of competitors, etc. More recently, researchers (Chang et al., 2003, Ettlie and Penner-Hahn, 1994, Sanchez, 1995 and Upton, 1997) have argued that flexibility can also be utilized proactively to create a competitive advantage for a company. There are numerous examples of this profitable implementation of flexibility — Ford's experiment in Europe (Shirouzu, 2002), General Motors’ Lordstown plant (Kasarda and Rondinelli, 1998), and the National Bicycle Industrial Company (Moffat, 1990). Despite the recognition that flexibility can be employed both reactively and proactively in meeting the needs of an organization, little work has been done to synthesize these two competing uses. However, understanding this concurrent application is important, because flexibility does not come free; and any strategic investments in flexibility based on poorly considered ‘competencies’ could be detrimental (Gerwin, 1993, Narasimhan et al., 2004 and Slack, 1988). This paper contributes to the flexibility literature by proposing a transformation framework that articulates how managers can configure flexibility simultaneously between the proactive and the reactive uses that coexist in a firm's day-to-day operations. It also considers the implications of the inter-relating feedback loops within the supply-chain, which to-date have not been addressed in the flexibility literature (Handfield and Nichols, 2002, Oke, 2003, Vickery et al., 1999 and Zhang et al., 2003). This value-chain approach is more applicable for managers as it provides additional options in configuring flexibility, and allows decisions made in one segment to complement those made in other segments of the value-chain (Mabert and Venkataramanan, 1998). Within the proposed model, eleven flexibility dimensions are identified from the actual functioning of the printed circuit board fabrication (PCB) industry. These dimensions are subsequently apportioned into the three stages of transformation that comprise the value-chain. It is our belief that this inductive approach to identifying the dimensions of flexibility will significantly improve the conceptual and descriptive understanding of the domain of flexibility.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The proposed model makes a significant headway towards achieving Gerwin's (1993) call to provide an unifying theory of flexibility. In addition, it advances the flexibility literature in three significant directions. (1) The framework expands upon the earlier approach of treating a single firm as a system by considering the implications of the inter-relating feedback loops within the supply-chain and including both customers and suppliers. (2) The proposed model advances the traditional notion of a uni-directional hierarchical flow of flexibility within a firm by demonstrating that flexibility can flow both upstream and downstream as supply-chain partners explore options to improve their profits. (3) In contrast to the sequential treatment provided in earlier frameworks, the proposed model provides a concurrent view to the reactive and proactive applications of flexibility; and it recognizes the necessity for managers to configure their flexibility simultaneously between its two competing uses. 6.1. Academic implications The inductive approach used in identifying flexibility, coupled with the proposed transformation theory for classifying flexibility dimensions, is intended to provide a more unified perspective on the use of flexibility. Such awareness will make it easier for researchers to test useable hypotheses and to communicate results effectively, a necessary step to advance the subject from the exploratory stage to the theory-building stage. It is anticipated that the value-chain conceptualization of flexibility provided in this study will further strengthen the theoretical foundation required in the supply-chain discipline, and will substantiate its strong ties to the operations management area. It will also extend the resource-based view of the firm (Penrose, 1959, Prahalad and Hamel, 1990 and Wernerfelt, 1984) from its existing emphasis on the “internal resources available and developed within the firm — not those acquired externally” (Coates and McDermott, 2002, p. 436) to encompass the entire value-chain. Furthermore, our framework operationalizes ‘organizational-slack’ in the manufacturing context and extends this literature in two directions. It advances the notion that to attain greater efficiency: (1) companies should recognize the ‘slack’ in the entire value-chain instead of focusing only within an organization, and (2) firms should simultaneously view the uncertainties and opportunities emerging from environmental shifts while allocating slack. 6.2. Managerial implications This study has important implications for practicing managers. Foremost, by allowing a concurrent view of the opportunities and the uncertainties along the entire value-chain, our framework provides a richer decision making tool for managers to use when configuring flexibility. This improved understanding will allow firms to adopt this concept for strategic and competitive analysis and should facilitate a free flow of resources in supporting activities. The transformation framework can also assist operations managers in viewing the internal setup of their plants, the notion being that every workstation has customers and suppliers. It provides a theoretical tool for evaluating the various options for exploiting or acquiring flexibility along the production line. This adoption of the transformation framework for structuring internal operations can be especially useful in large plants with many interdependent functions. In this study, 11 dimensions of flexibility have been identified as contributors to improved plant performance. However, the actions that promote these flexibility dimensions are typically the responsibility of different managers. Therefore, the transformation framework of flexibility reinforces the value of a close working relationship between operations, marketing, purchasing, design and engineering, and human resources managers. It suggests that firms who establish a culture of high integration between different departments within the firm and externally with suppliers and customers will more efficiently manage flexibility, leading to improved plant performance. Finally, this conceptual model extends well beyond the printed circuit board fabrication industry. Since, PCB fabrication shares a broad range of processes with many other manufacturing industries, it is reasonable to expect comparable phenomenon in other industries. 6.3. Future research It is important to emphasize that the development of a strong theoretical foundation for defining and managing flexibility is only in its infancy. The framework developed in this study is simply an attempt at defining and expressing a theory of flexibility management for the purpose of discussion, dissection, and further advancement. Additional theoretical and empirical research is needed to support many of the relationships explored in this paper. Four potential streams of research are readily identifiable. The first direction involves testing the proposed theory using data collected from a larger sample of firms as well as extending the theory's boundaries to other industries, in an attempt to improve its generalizability. Second, the theoretical concepts and their associated definitions generated from the PCB industry allows other researchers to propose alternative conceptualizations of causal linkages among these concepts. Third, opportunities exist for both theoretical and empirical researchers to examine the various management actions that promote both the acquisition of the dimensions of flexibility and the reduction of uncertainty in the value-chain. A related question would require examining specific linkages between the dimensions of flexibility emerging within each stage to determine if they are conceptually distinct. Lastly, the framework may be tested for its application to service businesses. While PCB fabrication is classified as manufacturing, the firms in our study operated with virtually no finished inventory, mimicking a service environment. Other researchers are encouraged to critically examine and present new approaches to managing flexibility. Through such activity, more enriched and unified theories of flexibility management can be developed for further understanding of this complex phenomenon. In time, from subjecting the proposed theory to questionnaire-based survey research, valid and reliable instruments could become available to assess the effectiveness of flexibility management practices for practitioners to use as a comprehensive self-auditing tool.