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Supply network configuration for small series, high-cost production: Exploring the European textile and apparel industry context
2020 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis is to increase the understanding of supply network configuration (SNC) for small series production in high-cost contexts in relation to the textile/apparel industry. SNC encompasses strategic structural and infrastructural decisions at the supply chain level, motivated by capabilities/priorities. The key configuration decisions addressed concern textile/apparel production in Europe, with associated context-specific advantages and challenges. The thesis takes a particular focus on how practitioners consider these configurations and motivations. The thesis begins with identification of motivations for locating textile/apparel production in high-cost contexts, to capture the driving priorities. Thereafter, the thesis extends the focus beyond location motivations to identify the key SNC aspects and characteristics for small series production in high-cost contexts. These configuration-related aspects and capabilities are elaborated upon and modelled to understand how they are interrelated in textile/apparel industry contexts. The empirical work uses mixed-methods and seeks to bring together the relevant topics using a SNC and capabilities approach. The specific methods, Delphi study and interpretive structural modeling, are focused on sensitivity practitioner perspectives.

Findings show multiple key motivations/capabilities for high-cost textile/apparel production, specifically small series production (customization); which is closely linked with several other priorities, including quality and flexibility/delivery. Expanding the view to the SNC aspects, the findings confirm and extend the literature regarding complexities, multi-level characteristics, synergies and trade-offs, and industry/location contingencies. Regarding this European textile/apparel context, several interrelated considerations create challenges with respect to balancing configuration, capabilities and location; in particular related to multiple priorities such as flexibility/delivery, quality, innovation/sustainability, and the level of product variety/customization. Several relational characteristics are also crucial, including focus on trust and information sharing, although, with a few significant exceptions, limited supplier integration levels are found. These findings indicate the need to build upon existing relationships to develop end-to-end digital connections.

The thesis approaches issues at the intersection of theory and practice, regarding configuring supply networks for small series production in high-cost contexts. Practically, it develops an approach to evaluate and model decision aspects, demonstrating how this can be used with a variety of textile/apparel companies. Several extensions are required to support current and future state mapping, including developments related to the method and the addition of performance considerations.

The thesis contributes to theory by broadening the focus on high-cost locations to include small series production and the SNC perspective. Thus, the research confirms multiple priorities including innovation and sustainability; additionally finding several challenges associated with small series textile/apparel production in high-cost contexts. Further research should extend the focus to understand (re)configuration processes, and implications on priorities like sustainable innovation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Borås: Högskolan i Borås, 2020. , p. 61
Series
Skrifter från Högskolan i Borås, ISSN 0280-381X ; 105
Keywords [en]
small series production, high-cost contexts, textile/apparel industry, supply network configuration, capabilities, priorities
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-23206ISBN: 978-91-88838-73-5 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-23206DiVA, id: diva2:1430588
Presentation
2020-06-05, sal 378a, Textile Fashion Center, Skaraborgsvägen 3, Borås, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Available from: 2020-05-15 Created: 2020-05-15 Last updated: 2020-05-15Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Competitive manufacturing for reshoring textile and clothing supply chains to high-cost environment: A Delphi study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Competitive manufacturing for reshoring textile and clothing supply chains to high-cost environment: A Delphi study
2018 (English)In: The International Journal of Logistics Management, ISSN 0957-4903, Vol. 29, no 4, p. 1147-1170Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify and prioritise the success factors and challenges related to competitive manufacturing (CM) capabilities in a high-cost environment, and identify their potential to support future reshoring in textile and clothing (T&C) supply chains, with judgements from the practitioners’ perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

A Delphi study method is adopted with industry practitioners from the region of Western Sweden. Following a literature review on reshoring to identify relevant factors related to CM capabilities, a multiple round Delphi is designed to rank the success factors and challenges, and to further evaluate the likelihood of the success factors to lead to future reshoring. Additional semi-structured interviews are conducted to provide deeper explanation.

Findings

Empirical insights are both conforming to, and deviant from, evidences from extant literature. Moderate agreement is seen among the practitioners on the success factors; time- and product/process-related ones being ranked the highest. Low consensus is reached for the challenges, however, those related to high costs and lack of local resources were key concerns. Some anomalies from previous conception emerge among the challenges regarding increased costs of production, inventory and product variety trade-offs, and low skillset presence.

Research limitations/implications

The paper contributes to reshoring research by identifying and prioritising value-driven success factors and cost-related challenges to CM in high-cost environments, for labour-intensive T&C industries. In connection, some interesting paradoxes originate when dealing with multiple success factors.

Practical implications

Valuable insights are generated for informed decision making related to CM and future choice of its location.

Originality/value

Along with the decisive knowledge of the reshoring success factors and challenges, the study offers an interesting T&C practitioners’ perspective.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2018
Keywords
Sweden, Europe, Delphi, Decision making, Delphi study, Reshoring, Offshoring-reshoring, Manufacturing capability, Textile and clothing
National Category
Economics and Business
Research subject
Business and IT; Textiles and Fashion (General)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-15468 (URN)10.1108/IJLM-10-2017-0270 (DOI)000448387800003 ()2-s2.0-85049834200 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-12-15 Created: 2018-12-15 Last updated: 2020-05-15Bibliographically approved
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