Developing an Agile Supply Chain Model for SMEs

Naughton, SH
(2016) Developing an Agile Supply Chain Model for SMEs. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Rising worldwide competition is making it increasingly difficult for SME organisations to compete in the marketplace as traditional means of manufacture, and modes of delivery are being changed through technological advancements. In line with these factors, organisations are ever more capable of producing goods that are more bespoke and personalised than in the past and within the price ranges and affordability levels of demanding markets. Whilst large organisations have the power to enforce supply chain compliance in order to meet these changes, it is not always the case for SMEs. The agile supply chain philosophy moves away from traditional methods under which large organisations enforce supply chain compliance, and embraces the concept of supply chain agility that allows the supply chain as a whole to move forward as one and share the benefits as a developed and cohesive unit. Such a philosophy should be to the advantage of all organisations, but ought to be of particular interest to SMEs as its use could assist in improving their competitiveness. This thesis is primarily concerned with the development of agile supply chains within SME organisations. The research sets out to develop the means through which SMEs can develop their agile supply chains so as to make them more efficient and competitive both now and in the future. The research is set upon existing theories and models, particularly following the works of Sharifi et al. (2006), Ismail and Sharifi (2006), Ismail et al., (2006) and Ismail et al., (2011) so as to contribute further to their concepts theoretically and to also present the practical means by which such frameworks can be utilised in industry. The research provides a link between manager perceptions and underlying factors that affect their organisations and how they relate to the markets served. This has been achieved through the development of a model through which SMEs can analyse their present operating position, consider new product features, potential supply chain partners and the means through which to develop their agile supply chains as a complete unit. Using case study methodology, some extensive fieldwork has been undertaken to examine the ideas and extend our understanding of the approaches to build and sustain agile networks for organisations introducing products into markets. The study has assisted in reforming and developing the initial models into practical tools. Further to this, the research offers a series of developmental roadmaps that can be followed by SMEs to assist in the progress of developing agility into their supply chains. The outcomes from the research provide a contribution to academic theory and practice and build upon previous research, taking it forward with practical tools that organisations can utilise. The findings provide evidence for the benefits that can be derived from the developed models such that their application could be realistically considered within a practical setting.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Management
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2017 15:46
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2021 07:10
DOI: 10.17638/03006560