The conceptualization of flexibility in organizations historically emerged from three views which relate to economic, to organizational and to manufacturing perspectives. Despite the growing number of publications about supply chain flexibility in the area of supply chain management, there is a lack of consensus on how to define and to conceptualize supply chain flexibility from a management point of view. The purpose of this paper is to present a comprehensive overview of the literature on the supply chain flexibility perspective and contributes to our understanding of the current state of research and its future development.
The research methodology used is the systematic literature review. In total 92 articles were selected from databases of well-known journal publishers in the field of economics, business studies and management sciences as well as grey literature to cover the topic of supply chain flexibility.
A limited number of studies in the field of supply chain flexibility apply theories and define the term supply chain flexibility. Instead they focus on a particular part or dimension of the supply chain. Based on the analysis, a distinction is made between flexibility in the supply chain and supply chain flexibility. Based on the function and characteristics of the supply chain, the authors selected 30 flexibility dimensions that cover supply chain flexibility by concentrating on the different business areas involved.
The results support researchers and practitioners by identifying relevant trends and gaps in the field of supply chain flexibility.
The authors review the dimensions and aspects of supply chain flexibility that are currently taken into account in the literature. In this way, the authors provide an overarching perspective on the flexibility literature relating to supply chains.
Aspects of this work have been presented at the IPSERA annual conference (April 2014). The authors would like to thank those who attended the presentation, and reviewers of previous versions of this manuscript, for their helpful comments. The authors would also like to acknowledge the funding of this project provided by the Open University of the Netherlands and Fontys University of Applied Science.
Manders, J.H.M., Caniëls, M.C.J. and Ghijsen, P.W.T. (2017), "Supply chain flexibility: A systematic literature review and identification of directions for future research", The International Journal of Logistics Management, Vol. 28 No. 4, pp. 964-1026. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLM-07-2016-0176
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