Small-series supply network configuration priorities and challenges in the EU textile and apparel industry release_i5f7mxcb2zgwzfxnkcjg2qhj3m

by Sara Harper, Rudrajeet Pal

Published in Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management by Emerald.



<jats:sec><jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Purpose</jats:title>Technology and market pressures are encouraging localized and small-series production in customer-driven industries. The purpose of this paper is to explore and understand the supply chain-, product- and process-design factors for small-series production in EU's textile and apparel industry, to understand configuration decisions, priorities and challenges.</jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Design/methodology/approach</jats:title>An interview study was undertaken with ten companies that represent diverse small-series production models and value chain roles. Interview data was analysed to identify supply network configuration characteristics, decision priorities and challenges.</jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Findings</jats:title>Three small-series production models emerged from the analysis, differing with respect to adoption of process postponement and customization. The findings confirm and extend past research regarding diverse decision priorities and product, process, supply chain structure/relationship configurations. Challenges identified relate to planning (priorities) and implementation (configuration). Whereas competence availability and digital technology challenges are common, several difficulties are linked to production model like tensions related to priorities and small volumes, which are not found with customization.</jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Research limitations/implications</jats:title>Future research can make comparisons with other industry and location contexts; adopt dynamic approaches to distinguish between design and reconfiguration processes; and address indicated paradoxical-tensions.</jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Practical implications</jats:title>The study findings can provide guidance for companies regarding identification of priorities and management of (planning/implementation) challenges impacting small-series production in T&amp;A.</jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Originality/value</jats:title>The paper brings a configuration perspective at the supply chain level to the problem of small-series production implementation, which demands holistic and context-specific understanding.</jats:sec>
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