Managing complexity in agile global fashion industry supply chains.

Masson, Ron, Losif, Laura, MacKerron, Grant and Fernie, June (2007) Managing complexity in agile global fashion industry supply chains. The International Journal of Logistics Management, 18 (2). 238 - 254. ISSN 0957 4093

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Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine the agile supply chain management practices adopted by UK clothing retailers in order to effectively manage the supply of innovative, high-margin, high-fashion content product offerings in a complex global environment. Design/methodology/approach - A case study approach was adopted examining the whole of the global retail fashion supply chain, from typical UK-based retailers through to their main production and logistics suppliers based in two low-cost locations, China and Romania. The cases of the UK retailers were followed by a study tour of China and Romania, where ten cases of fabric and finishing manufacturers, intermediaries and logistic providers were carried out. Findings - Many aspects of accepted risk management and agile practice, such as market sensitivity, postponement activities and collaborative information-sharing partnerships were apparent in the early product definition and the later product delivery stages of the supply chain. However, the responsibility for supply, including the key aspect of managing the complex supply network, was almost exclusively left to intermediaries located in low-cost countries. These intermediaries in the main could best achieve agile supply from a significantly underutilized low-cost country supply network through a traditional adversarial price and lead time auction sourcing process. Research limitations/implications - While the cases considered reflected what seemed to be a typical and widely adopted approach to managing such a supply chain, this may not, of course, be the only approach taken by organisations in the clothing industry. Originality/value - By examining a whole supply chain associated with agile supply in an important sector, the paper identifies the relative importance of some existing practices and brings into sharper focus those most relevant to this type of supply. The paper also identifies key elements of contemporary supply chain management practice, namely the growing use of global supply for innovative products and the essential and valuable role played by intermediaries in such supply chains.

Item Type: Article
Print ISSN: 0957 4093
Uncontrolled Keywords: Supply chain management; Fashion industry; global; agile production; United Kingdom;
University Divisions/Research Centres: The Business School > School of Management and Law
Dewey Decimal Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 330 Economics > 332 Financial economics
600 Technology > 650 Management & public relations > 658 General management
Library of Congress Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Item ID: 2102
Depositing User: RAE Import
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2008 11:50
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2013 14:21

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