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  • 1.
    Harper, Sara
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Implementation of small series supply network configuration for apparel industry in high-cost contexts: A paradox-based approach2021In: EurOMA 2021 Proceedings, Online-Berlin, 2021Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    While localized small series production is a key opportunity in the textile and apparel industry, trade-offs can challenge implementation in the EU. To understand such conflicting demands, the paper presents a multiple case study, which adopts a holistic paradox-based approach, supplemented by supply network configuration. The study is based on interviews with companies representing four cases that differ on ownership and customization. The findings show performing and organizing paradoxes, driven by diverse stakeholder demands, limited resources, sustainability goals, and small volume production models, and strategic responses like reduced product complexity, temporal separation for conflicting processes, and collaborative supply chain relationships.

  • 2.
    Harper, Sara
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Paradoxical tensions impacting small-series production implementation in high-cost contexts: insights from the EU apparel industry2022In: International Journal of Operations & Production Management, ISSN 0144-3577, E-ISSN 1758-6593, Vol. 42, no 8, p. 1200-1228Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose

    While localized small-series production is a significant opportunity, various tensions challenge implementation in high-cost contexts. This paper explores how managers view and respond to different tensions in small-series production implementation by adopting a paradox-based perspective.

    Design/methodology/approach

    The paper presents a multiple case study addressing small-series production within EU's apparel industry, as key context to address managerial awareness, and responses to tensions regarding location and supply network configuration decisions. Seven cases were selected for variation in customization and implementation (early/established), ownership, location and company size, to identity commonalities.

    Findings

    The study highlights performing tensions related to sustainability, and risk, in addition to confirming traditional goal-related tensions predominantly impacting small volume production. With on-demand/custom production, tensions include costs in conflict with process scale, and several process-related tensions (flexibility, expansion/development, risk management). Identified multidimensional responses do not include location or structural decisions, instead focusing on synthesis, through product-operations efficiency, knowledge development and process innovation and supply chain collaboration. Temporal separation is found with customization, including reducing product/process complexity short-term with enhancing process development, which suggests latent learning tensions and limited awareness.

    Research limitations/implications

    Future research should address the extent to which tensions can be resolved or remain paradoxical, as well as dynamic decision-making and latent tensions.

    Originality/value

    The paper shows how paradox theory facilitates a deeper understanding of complex network configuration decisions, including reshoring/localization. The findings identify organizing tensions/elements and elaborate upon performing/performing-organizing tensions suggested with small-series production, location decisions and supply chain management.

     

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  • 3.
    Harper, Sara
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Resilient local manufacturing in Sjuhärad: Supply network configuration decision-making and implementation2024Report (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    Abstract [en]

    This report details the second study undertaken within the research project “Resilient supply chains for local textile and clothing production in small series” with funding from Sparbanksstiftelsen Sjuhärad.

    Specifically, this report summarizes the results of an interview study focused on understanding the perspectives of practitioners operating within the Sjuhärad region in Western Sweden regarding what is required to implement and scale local textile and apparel manufacturing supply chains. These results are based on the perceptions of representatives from diverse companies that have had experience with local manufacturing and/or sourcing, or are interested in such opportunities. The companies interviewed for this study included eight producers, three brands currently implementing such local configurations, one with established local supply chains, and one brand interested in local manufacturing/sourcing. This represents diversity in both decision-making roles and experience.

    This study specifically addresses localization opportunities in the textile and apparel industry, which face tensions and challenges, in particular related to location decisions and resilience as highlighted in the previous study. Here the focus is on implementation and scaling of such opportunities as they relate to the configuration of products, processes, relationships, and supply chain structures. The key results of the interview study show that many issues are relevant or crucial for both implementation and scaling in such production contexts, in particular several factors were highlighted that can also be challenging due to insufficient levels or other difficulties. 

    • Overall, brands show more focus on product-related considerations with implementation, like on-demand production and customization, as well as standardization, however, standardization is also suggested to be beneficial for producers regarding scaling, specifically expanding beyond material sharing between products to standardized products for reduced development costs.
    •  Several process considerations are both crucial and challenging, including the imperative of knowledge spanning from production skills like sewing to competence linked with required technology as well as business-related skills. Additionally, these considerations are linked to capacity requirements which are related to the need for or limitations related to competence, machinery, space, and so on. Moreover, they are linked to efficient processes in production and throughout the whole supply chain which can be challenging, and  remake and redesign processes which can benefit from improvements for instance, related to technology to overcome complexity.
    • The results show relationship considerations stresssed are related to supplier relationships (and trust) for both implementation and scaling. For scaling, customer relationships were  more of a focus, both with end-consumers, and between producers and brands.
    • Complexities and challenges are also highlighted related to supply chains, specifically location considerations that are difficult due to local supplier vulnerabilities and the location and availability of materials globally rather than locally. This finding adds insights to the complexity around location decisions as found in the previous study in this project, suggesting difficulties related to local manufacturing and resilience outcomes. Ownership and control was also emphasized, especially for brands.
    • Among the other considerations mentioned as crucial are several related to capabilities and performance priorities, including quality which is always strongly required and in some cases is challenging. Additionally, cost mindset changes were suggested, which is described as helpful for some brands to overcome cost challenges - which were highlighted in the earlier study - together with increasing product value through sustainability and customization. It is with these types of products that such local production is considered feasbile to implement, but local production is not necessarily required with such product focuses. Lead time and sustainability performance priorities and performance benefits are also crucial with local production including for further scaling. Additionally, capital was mentioned as being required to invest in marketing to end-consumers and grow demand, as well as to invest in improved processes and other efforts to grow.

    The report also includes an overview of a workshop on future scenarios, which both confirms and adds to the results from the interview study. Looking forward, the requirements revealed in these two studies provide a foundation for a feasibility study.

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    Resilient Local Manufacturing In Sjuhärad_2
  • 4.
    Harper, Sara
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Supply network configuration for small series, high-cost production: Exploring the European textile and apparel industry context2020Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The purpose of this thesis is to increase the understanding of supply network configuration (SNC) for small series production in high-cost contexts in relation to the textile/apparel industry. SNC encompasses strategic structural and infrastructural decisions at the supply chain level, motivated by capabilities/priorities. The key configuration decisions addressed concern textile/apparel production in Europe, with associated context-specific advantages and challenges. The thesis takes a particular focus on how practitioners consider these configurations and motivations. The thesis begins with identification of motivations for locating textile/apparel production in high-cost contexts, to capture the driving priorities. Thereafter, the thesis extends the focus beyond location motivations to identify the key SNC aspects and characteristics for small series production in high-cost contexts. These configuration-related aspects and capabilities are elaborated upon and modelled to understand how they are interrelated in textile/apparel industry contexts. The empirical work uses mixed-methods and seeks to bring together the relevant topics using a SNC and capabilities approach. The specific methods, Delphi study and interpretive structural modeling, are focused on sensitivity practitioner perspectives.

    Findings show multiple key motivations/capabilities for high-cost textile/apparel production, specifically small series production (customization); which is closely linked with several other priorities, including quality and flexibility/delivery. Expanding the view to the SNC aspects, the findings confirm and extend the literature regarding complexities, multi-level characteristics, synergies and trade-offs, and industry/location contingencies. Regarding this European textile/apparel context, several interrelated considerations create challenges with respect to balancing configuration, capabilities and location; in particular related to multiple priorities such as flexibility/delivery, quality, innovation/sustainability, and the level of product variety/customization. Several relational characteristics are also crucial, including focus on trust and information sharing, although, with a few significant exceptions, limited supplier integration levels are found. These findings indicate the need to build upon existing relationships to develop end-to-end digital connections.

    The thesis approaches issues at the intersection of theory and practice, regarding configuring supply networks for small series production in high-cost contexts. Practically, it develops an approach to evaluate and model decision aspects, demonstrating how this can be used with a variety of textile/apparel companies. Several extensions are required to support current and future state mapping, including developments related to the method and the addition of performance considerations.

    The thesis contributes to theory by broadening the focus on high-cost locations to include small series production and the SNC perspective. Thus, the research confirms multiple priorities including innovation and sustainability; additionally finding several challenges associated with small series textile/apparel production in high-cost contexts. Further research should extend the focus to understand (re)configuration processes, and implications on priorities like sustainable innovation.

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  • 5.
    Harper, Sara
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Supply network configuration for small-series apparel production in high-cost contexts: Opportunities and challenges from selected EU countries2022Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In high-cost textile and apparel industry contexts, local and small-series production models (demand-driven/on-demand) are increasingly relevant due to various pressures, including global risks, and demands to reduce overproduction for profitability and environmental sustainability. However, understanding how such reconfigurations impact supply chains more broadly, and what are the associated implementation challenges, is required. Thus, the purpose of this thesis is to explore priorities and challenges impacting location decisions and supply network configuration, and related paradoxes, associated with small-series apparel production in high-cost contexts. This is addressed through mixed-methods and qualitative studies detailed in five appended papers, which focus on interrelated decisions, priorities, challenges, and tensions/paradoxes according to practitioners from diverse companies in several EU countries, with a variety of small-series production models and stages of implementation.  

    The findings show that different supply network configurations for small-series apparel production share several interrelated design decisions, which are driven by multiple network capability-related priorities (performance goals like quality, delivery speed and reliability, flexibility, environmental sustainability, product/process innovation), and are impacted by similar challenges as manufacturing in high-cost contexts. However, the findings suggest product/process innovation and environmental sustainability are higher priorities, and cost challenges are reduced, with small-series product segments. While several priorities are found to be conflicting when juxtaposed, the findings suggest exposure to goal-related tensions is lessened with high levels of product customization. Although awareness of multiple interwoven tensions related to goals and processes is common among diverse companies in the context (i.e. sensing capabilities), capabilities for tension management and adaptability vary (i.e. seizing and reconfiguring). The lack of other tension types explicitly identified indicates limited awareness. 

    The thesis contributes to theory by addressing the interrelated opportunities of customization and localization on the supply chain and network configuration level, through focus on the apparel industry context. In the process, the research highlights the utility of a combined supply network configuration and paradox theory-based perspective to unify and categorize insights from fragmented extant literature, which can be used to address other complex topics in supply chain and operations management. Future research should build upon preliminary insights regarding the different levels of exposure to interwoven tensions, and capabilities for paradoxical sensemaking and management. Such investigations should explicitly seek to identify latent tensions in supply networks; address whether identified and managed tensions remain paradoxical over time; and analyze outcomes of paradoxical sensemaking and management on performance goals (e.g. cost, flexibility, quality, product and process innovation, environmental and social sustainability, and resilience).  

    The main contributions to practice are guidance for managers in high-cost textile and apparel-like industry contexts, with analysis of existing and future network configurations for small-series production implementation/scaling, and paradoxical sensemaking. The findings suggest managers should expand upon current levels of awareness to understand latent tensions, like the learning tensions that were revealed within several response strategies. Managers should be aware that local production is often a driver of tensions in high-cost contexts, rather than being included among multidimensional tension management strategies; whereas customization has the potential to reduce exposure to goal-related tensions. To respond to various tensions, managers can leverage/develop internal and external resources focused on both product and operations design. To respond to process tensions impacting customization, enhanced and reduced levels of product and process development can be balanced. 

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  • 6.
    Harper, Sara
    et al.
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Pal, Rudrajeet
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Resilience of Small-Series Production Models: Insights From EU Apparel Industry During Covid-192022In: Proceedings of the 26th International Symposium on Logistics: The Journey to Sustainable Supply Chains, 2022Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose of this paper:

    While strategies like nearshoring, digitalization and small order sizes are expected to support resilience in the textile and apparel industry, literature suggests complex implications of small-series production in high-cost contexts on risk exposure. The purpose of the paper is to understand the how supply network configuration related to small-series production models influence resilience, in EU’s textile and apparel industry amidst COVID-19.

     

    Design/methodology/approach:

    A multiple case study is presented, with data collected through semi-structured interviews with seven case companies representing different types of small-series production models. The analysis of risk exposure draws from supply network configuration literature, to identify the implications of small-series production model structures and reconfigurations on resilience.

     

    Findings:

    Product and operations characteristics are more often resilience enablers, whereas priorities/performance (sustainability, innovation, delivery), and supply chains (relationships, locations) can both enable and impede resilience in the face of both external and internal supply chain risks. These findings thus confirm the benefits of such small-series production models for mitigating, adapting to, and withstanding risks emerging from COVID-19 situation.

     

    Value:

    The supply network configuration-based framework adopted in the study enabled analysis of the implications of small-series production and its configuration on resilience (and associated risk exposure), which can support future reconfigurations.

     

    Research limitations/implications:

    Future research can complement this study with quantitative measures of resilience, and comparisons with other industry and location contexts. Additionally, in-depth case studies can address how companies balance positive and negative impacts of small-series supply network configuration on resilience.

     

    Practical implications:

    Managers can be aware of enabling and challenging effects of small-series production model priorities and performance goals, location and relationships, when configuring or reconfiguring structures in response to risks.

  • 7.
    Harper, Sara
    et al.
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Pal, Rudrajeet
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Resilient Local Manufacturing In Sjuhärad: A Delphi Study To Identify Enablers And Challenges2023Report (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    Abstract [en]

    This report details a Delphi study undertaken within the ongoing research project “Resilient supply chains for local textile and clothing production in small series” with funding from Sparbanksstiftelsen Sjuhärad-No.20221947. 

    Specifically, this report summarizes the results of a Delphi study-designed to capture the level of agreement among practitioners operating within the Sjuhärad region in Western Sweden regarding the enablers and challenges of resilience within local textile and apparel manufacturing supply chains. These results are based on the perceptions of representatives from diverse companies that have had experience with local manufacturing and/or sourcing, which undertake activities within one or more value chain stages (textile manufacturing; garment manufacturing; retail). The two main steps of the Delphi study were, first to identify issues that are enablers and/or challenges-relevant to at least two companies within an interview round, and then to evaluate those issues using an online questionnaire to analyze and visualize levels of agreement. 

    A key argument of the study and larger research project is that both localization opportunities and challenges are significant within the textile and apparel industry, due to having high risk exposure with complex global supply chain structures. So, there is a need to understand the complexity of such location decisions in this context, including associated trade-offs for resilience. On one hand, localization can lead to enhanced flexibility, responsiveness, and customization due to reduced complexity and shorter supply chain distances, but on the other hand local supply chains can reduce adaptability related to global network structures and can be challenged by cost trade-offs. To understand this complexity, the supply network configuration approach can be helpful-to show structures that underpin resilience. By addressing the supporting structures and capabilities required for resilience, this report can support development of more resilient supply chains by highlighting what is required for improved resilience outcomes (Competitiveness; Growth; Reduced risk exposure; Reduced recovery time) and what challenges must be overcome.

    The key results of the Delphi study show moderate levels of resilience in the context, which is supported by several enablers, which can be challenging with insufficient levels. Agreement is found with enablers related to:

    • Capabilities and performance priorities (situational awareness; quality; delivery/short lead times; sustainability)
    • Processes (flexibility and agility; competence)
    • Relationships (close and long-term relationships; transparency and communication)

    The only two challenges with high levels of agreement are competence limitations and high costs/cost trade-offs. However, the lack of both strong opinions and high levels of agreement about resilience indicates opportunities for improvement. The suggested need for managers to have strong situational awareness can be a key area to develop.

    In contrast, there were more mixed opinions found among respondents about other enablers/challenges, including location as either an enabler or challenge for resilience, and challenges related to exposure to external risks/disruptions. This suggests diverse experiences related to localization in a context of increasing external challenges. Additionally, the lack of strong opinions about digital tools/automation as an enabler suggests additional development is required, although several respondents emphasize significant recent investments as crucial. The lack of strong agreement about product-related enablers/challenges suggests different perspectives on small-series production, although the majority of respondents consider focusing on small volume, high value products to be more an enabler of resilience than a challenge. Overall, these findings indicate that managers must carefully consider localization with respect to cost trade-offs, limited industry know-how and varying levels of exposure to other challenges in high-cost contexts. 

    Looking forward, such insights related to enablers/challenges of resilience should be taken into consideration within decision-making processes-that define supply network configuration (products, processes, relationships, supply chain structures), with respect to implementation and scaling goals. Notably, the findings suggest companies are likely to need to invest in competence development, including process and technology-related skills, as well as sensing skills (awareness). However, careful consideration of cost trade-offs is required within such decision-making processes, which should be addressed throughout the supply chain from the perspective of actors with control over supply chains. Such decision-making considerations will be addressed in the following report within this research project.

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    Resilient Local Manufacturing In Sjuhärad_1
  • 8.
    Harper, Sara
    et al.
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Pal, Rudrajeet
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Small-series supply network configuration priorities and challenges in the EU textile and apparel industry2022In: Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, ISSN 1361-2026, E-ISSN 1758-7433Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose

    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. 

     Design/methodology/approach 

    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. 

     Findings

    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. 

     Research limitations/implications 

    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. 

     Practical implications 

    The study findings can provide guidance for companies regarding identification of priorities and management of (planning/implementation) challenges impacting small-series production in T&A. 

     Originality/value 

    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.

  • 9.
    Harper, Sara
    et al.
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Pal, Rudrajeet
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Supply network configuration and design for small series production in high-cost contexts: Insights from textiles and apparel2020Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In light of technology and market pressures encouraging localized small series production in labor-intensive industries, the purpose of this paper is to understand supply network configurations, design decisions, motivations and challenges, specifically in EU textile and apparel. The multiple case study was focused on understanding different approaches to small series production and associated configurations. The ten cases, from throughout the textile/apparel value chain, were defined to maximize variation between different approaches and seek to have at least two cases that can act as literal replication of similar strategies. The within-case analysis and cross-case synthesis was based on structured and semi-structured follow-up interviews, to identify interactions among supply network configurations, reconfigurations, motivations and challenges. The within-case analysis showed the patterns of configuration and reconfigurations for each company case, categorized using the elements of supply network configuration. Four different approaches to small series production were defined based on use of production on-demand (custom or not) and/or using production/sourcing postponement. The cross-case synthesis validated past research, which has emphasized key motivations such as product quality, short lead times, specialized knowledge and fabric proximity in such contexts. Additionally, the relevance of innovation and sustainability is significant across different case types. Particular focus is on product innovation and environmental sustainability, with most companies reconfiguring to develop or strengthen custom/on-demand production, as well as emphasizing own brands and direct contact with customers. However, in the face of industrial competence limitations, the need for companies to invest into such developments, leads to structural flexibility challenges. Companies using production postponement but not on-demand for customers have established regional fabric and product sourcing, although fabric decisions impact all strategies. Beyond offering characterization of high-cost, small series production with respect to industry and location, the findings can provide support for reconfiguration and decision-making in similar contexts. Future research should continue to focus on the changing industry context in relation to decision-making with focus on various priorities, products, processes and structural configurations. Specifically, social implications can be addressed along with technology and product modularity implications on circular product design and environmental sustainability. 

  • 10.
    Harper, Sara
    et al.
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Pal, Rudrajeet
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Supply network configuration for resilient high-cost textile and apparel manufacturing supply chains: A Delphi study2023Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Increasing disruptions demand understanding challenges with localizing supply chains for resilience. These opportunities and challenges are significant within the textile and apparel industry. The purpose of the research is to understand how supply network configuration factors (structure/capabilities) enable or challenge the resilience of local manufacturing supply chains, through a two-stage Delphi study. Based on semi-structured interviews with diverse practitioners within a specific high-cost context and survey responses, consensus is found regarding enablers including flexibility, sustainability, close relationships, and situational awareness, and only cost and competence challenges. Findings confirm complex trade-offs and additionally suggest the importance of developing/building upon sensing capabilities.

  • 11. Harper, Sara
    et al.
    Pal, Rudrajeet
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Towards a conceptual model of manufacturing supply chain configuration for EU textile and apparel industry2018In: EurOMA 2018 Proceedings, 2018Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article presents the development of a conceptual model for configuration of supply chains/networks for small series textile and apparel production, in contexts such as the EU. This configurational approach is needed due to the significant mismatch between current industry structures and the demand for small series production. The model, consisting of four elements with resulting themes and groupings, was developed through a systematic approach of the literature on the related types of production. The themes highlight the complexities and interdependencies that must be considered by managers. The linkages between the elements, in line with 3DCE, need to be further addressed.

  • 12.
    Harper, Sara
    et al.
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Pal, Rudrajeet
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Cozzoni, Enrico
    Grado Zero Espace.
    Report including market analysis, stakeholder analysis, survey results, supplier selection criteria list2018Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Due to the increasing trend of reshoring to relatively high cost production locations like countries in the EU, there is an emphasis on the need to focus on high value-added small series production. This is especially true in high labour intensive industries like apparel and textiles. In this context, supply network configuration, related interdependencies and trade-offs are required to be addressed to support this transition. However, there are limitations as to the current capabilities to meet these needs. In order to better understand the diverse context of small series apparel and textile production, a comprehensive and structured analysis is required. Within this scope and as part of the FBD_BModel project, this report offers: (i) an overview of the current state of the market, regarding the current capabilities, capacities and focuses on notable or best practice industry examples especially in the EU, (ii) a systematic understanding of five representative case companies, (iii) a supplier selection criteria list, and (iv) a ranked list of the criteria based on a supply chain competitiveness survey. The focus of the configuration-based analysis in this report is along four elements, value structure of products/services, operational structure, network structures, and relationship structures of the supply network.

    Download full text (pdf)
    fulltext
  • 13.
    Harper, Sara
    et al.
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Pal, Rudrajeet
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Kumar, Vijay
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Modelling small-series supply network configuration and capabilities through a mixed-method structural analysis: Insights from high-cost textile/apparel contexts2023In: International Journal of Services and Operations Management, ISSN 1744-2370, Vol. 46, no 2, p. 232-259Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The purpose of this paper is to understand supply network configuration for small-series production within high-cost contexts, and the context-specific decision logics associated. A total interpretive structural modelling (TISM) and MICMAC mixed-methods approach is used to determine and interpret interrelationships among SNC and capability-related aspects identified from the literature. Respondents come from EU textile/apparel companies, undertaking small-series production/sourcing in the region, with different roles in the value chain. The findings led to several propositions. They highlight the foundational nature of supply chain relationships and digital data sharing; interacting product/process flexibility and specialisation considerations, with associated enablers and barriers; the challenges related to location, which is the crucial supply chain driver; and the need to balance various interrelated capability drivers, such as quality, innovation, and sustainability. These findings can support practitioners for reconfiguration, and the approach can be used to address other contexts and thus enhance generalisability.

  • 14.
    Harper, Sara
    et al.
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Pal, Rudrajeet
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Kumar, Vijay
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Supply network configuration and capabilities for high-cost, small series textile/apparel: A TISM approach2019In: EurOMA 2019 Proceedings, 2019Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The increasing emphasis on small series production in higher cost locations is particularly challenging in the textile/apparel industry due to global supply chain configurations. To support (re)configuration in this context, Total interpretive structural modelling (TISM) method is used to gain a deeper understanding of the inter-relationships among configuration/capability related aspects from the literature. TISM interviews were done with 24 industry practitioners producing/sourcing in the EU, or in the process of implementation. The findings validate extensive inter-relations, at the same time highlighting relational aspects, internal integration, and quality as significant drivers. Further in-depth research is required to understand these influences.

  • 15.
    Kumar, Vijay
    et al.
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Harper, Sara
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Pal, Rudajeet
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    A data-driven approach to incorporate multi-level input in Interpretive Structural Modelling with a case example of small-series supply chain network configuration2020Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Interpretive Structural Modelling (ISM) is widely employed in production research to study the complex interaction among various factors or elements which define a complex production or supply chain problem. It transforms the poorly articulated mental model of the problem into a visible well-defined relational model using an element-relationship-matrix. Building ISM involves primarily pairwise comparison of factors in rotation i.e. each factor is compared with all remaining factors as input. In general, these relations among the compared pairs are defined in binary levels i.e. the relations are defined in terms of “yes/no”; hence, the interactions are treated equally for all levels of interaction magnitude. Consequently, the interpretation of the results does not capture the intensity of interrelation, which limits the exploitation of the relational model for concrete production/supply chain decision-making. This paper introduces a data-driven algorithm to convert a multi-level pairwise comparison into bi-level groups i.e. groups with weak and strong relations, to incorporate and account for non-binary relations. The bi-level groups are created based on a threshold point in multi-level input that simultaneously maximizes the inter-group variance whereas minimizes the intra-group variance. The application of the proposed approach is demonstrated in context to small-series textile/apparel supply network configuration, in order to show its practical significance in strategic decision-making.

  • 16.
    Pal, Rudrajeet
    et al.
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Harper, Sara
    Vellesalu, Ann
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Competitive manufacturing for reshoring textile and clothing supply chains to high-cost environment: A Delphi study2018In: The International Journal of Logistics Management, ISSN 0957-4093, Vol. 29, no 4, p. 1147-1170Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose

    The purpose of this paper is to identify and prioritise the success factors and challenges related to competitive manufacturing (CM) capabilities in a high-cost environment, and identify their potential to support future reshoring in textile and clothing (T&C) supply chains, with judgements from the practitioners’ perspective.

    Design/methodology/approach

    A Delphi study method is adopted with industry practitioners from the region of Western Sweden. Following a literature review on reshoring to identify relevant factors related to CM capabilities, a multiple round Delphi is designed to rank the success factors and challenges, and to further evaluate the likelihood of the success factors to lead to future reshoring. Additional semi-structured interviews are conducted to provide deeper explanation.

    Findings

    Empirical insights are both conforming to, and deviant from, evidences from extant literature. Moderate agreement is seen among the practitioners on the success factors; time- and product/process-related ones being ranked the highest. Low consensus is reached for the challenges, however, those related to high costs and lack of local resources were key concerns. Some anomalies from previous conception emerge among the challenges regarding increased costs of production, inventory and product variety trade-offs, and low skillset presence.

    Research limitations/implications

    The paper contributes to reshoring research by identifying and prioritising value-driven success factors and cost-related challenges to CM in high-cost environments, for labour-intensive T&C industries. In connection, some interesting paradoxes originate when dealing with multiple success factors.

    Practical implications

    Valuable insights are generated for informed decision making related to CM and future choice of its location.

    Originality/value

    Along with the decisive knowledge of the reshoring success factors and challenges, the study offers an interesting T&C practitioners’ perspective.

  • 17.
    Pal, Rudrajeet
    et al.
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Harper, Sara
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Vellesalu, Ann
    University of Borås, Faculty of Textiles, Engineering and Business.
    Reshoring decision-making based on operational capabilities in Swedish apparel supply chains: A fuzzy AHP approach2018Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper determines how operational capabilities influence reshoring decision-making based on proximity make-buy alternatives in apparel supply chains in high-cost locations. By drawing operational capabilities from reshoring literature, a hierarchical model is constructed and tested using fuzzy AHP in a workshop with industry and academia. The priority weights for 12 capabilities categorized into three criteria influences the four reshoring alternatives in the order: make-onshore, make-nearshore, buy-onshore, buy-nearshore. Sourcing/production capabilities were the most important criteria followed by value-added products/services. Relationship was least important but its underlining aspects: availability of skilled labor/know-how and flexible supplier relationship were necessary preconditions for reshoring.

1 - 17 of 17
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