This paper aims to investigate the factors enabling or hindering the simultaneous pursuit of volume flexibility and mix flexibility within a supply chain through the lens of a manufacturing plant seeking to implement a build‐to‐order (BTO) strategy.
To accomplish this empirical investigation, an in‐depth case study involving a manufacturing plant and its supply chain was designed. Prior to primary and secondary data collection, this research setting had already decided to implement a BTO strategy and had, moreover, carefully assessed several practices for BTO strategy implementation, as well as their interactions.
The studied case suggests that a number of approaches typically used to increase volume flexibility, actually negatively affect mix flexibility and vice versa. The existence of such trade‐offs may ultimately inhibit the implementation of a BTO strategy and this was the case in the studied company. Nevertheless, empirical evidence also suggests that, to some extent, volume flexibility and mix flexibility may be achieved synergistically, as initiatives such as component standardization or component‐process interface standardization would improve both volume flexibility and mix flexibility.
The pursuit of volume flexibility and mix flexibility in implementing a BTO strategy in a specific setting and from primarily an operations management perspective was investigated. As such, the findings can be complemented by viewing the case study results through the lens of other established general management theories or by replicating the study in different research settings.
While past research informs us about how manufacturing firms can successfully achieve mix flexibility or volume flexibility, there are few insights for understanding how volume flexibility and mix flexibility can both be simultaneously achieved within a manufacturing plant and its supply chain. This research fills this gap in the literature and contributes to the development of a theory of BTO strategy implementation, especially in terms of volume flexibility, mix flexibility and their interactions.
Salvador, F., Rungtusanatham, M., Forza, C. and Trentin, A. (2007), "Mix flexibility and volume flexibility in a build‐to‐order environment: Synergies and trade‐offs", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 27 No. 11, pp. 1173-1191. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443570710830584Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited