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Coping with unpredictable supply: the role of flexibility and adaptation

Bent Dreyer (Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research, Tromsø, Norway)
Kjell Grønhaug (Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Bergen, Norway)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 14 September 2012

1186

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to address how firms cope when input due to primary uncertainty is unpredictable, and thus timely and adequate supply to customers are impossible to guarantee.

Design/methodology/approach

Two sets of data are applied to capture uncertainties, flexibilities and adaption strategies amongst suppliers and producers respectively.

Findings

The findings show that flexibility is a prerequisite to cope when faced with unpredictable supply. Flexibility comes in many forms. They are partly firm‐specific and can be conceived as a valuable resource.

Research limitations/implications

The present study is limited to one industry only.

Practical implications

Unpredictability imposes the need for adaptations, which requires flexibility. However, adjustment to the new landscape is a prerequisite to succeed.

Originality/value

This paper offers insight on how firms cope when needed input to operate is unpredictable, i.e. an almost neglected topic in the marketing literature, where adequate supply in most cases is seen as unproblematic.

Keywords

Citation

Dreyer, B. and Grønhaug, K. (2012), "Coping with unpredictable supply: the role of flexibility and adaptation", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 46 No. 10, pp. 1268-1282. https://doi.org/10.1108/03090561211248026

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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