The Three Dimensions of Responsiveness

Holweg, Matthias (2005) The Three Dimensions of Responsiveness. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 25 (7). pp. 603-622.


– The concept of responsiveness has been widely discussed, yet so far most of this discussion has remained qualitative in nature. The purpose of this paper is to develop a conceptual model identifying the key factors that determine the responsiveness of a supply chain system, which – once quantified – provide a unique profile of each supply chain setting towards the appropriate supply chain strategy.

– The paper reviews existing contributions and synthesises these into a conceptual model of responsiveness. The model is applied using three case studies from the automotive and electronics industry. The case research is based on value stream mapping, semi‐structured interviews, and site visits.

– Three key findings could be established: first, the concept of responsiveness has a simple logic that aligns itself to a wide range of manufacturing strategies. However, underlying this remit is a complex interaction of an array of key variables, and it was found that previous contributions largely have only addressed a subset of these. Second, these key variables can be grouped into three categories or dimensions of responsiveness – product, process and volume – to provide a holistic understanding of responsiveness and its key determinants. Third, due to the large involved, there cannot be one single “holy grail” concept of how responsiveness can be achieved, neither does one single approach apply to entire sectors.

Research limitations/implications
– A great variety of variables needs to be considered in order to provide a balanced view of all three dimensions of responsiveness, thus the case analyses remain at a necessarily high level.

Practical implications
– The paper provides guidelines for management on how to align their supply chain strategy to volume, product and process contingency factors in order to balance responsiveness to customer demand and supply chain efficiency.

– The paper aims to elevate a discussion that previously has been held mostly at a conceptual level beyond the qualitative description, and thus addresses a key shortcoming in the current debate.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Quick response manufacturing, Supply chain management, Productive capacity, Agile production
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2015 16:10
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2018 16:47
Funders: N/A

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