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How to Cope with Uncertainty in Supply Chains? - Conceptual Framework for Agility, Robustness, Resilience, Continuity and Anti-Fragility in Supply Chains

Immanuel Zitzmann

A chapter in Next Generation Supply Chains: Trends and Opportunities, 2014, pp 361-377 from Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Institute of Business Logistics and General Management

Abstract: Globalization and new technologies led to the global and lean supply chains that we see today. But cost-efficiency alone does not create customer value. Goods and services have to be available at the time of demand. Shorter product-live-cycles demand volatility and external disruptions force supply chains to be flexible, adaptive as well as customer-oriented. A literature review identifies different concepts to achieve these abilities. These are: agility, robustness, resilience, continuity management, and anti-fragility. All five concepts try to handle uncertainties but pursue different approaches. At the beginning of the 21th century the idea of an agile supply chain was promoted. The goal is to flexibly react to changes. In contrast resilience aims to overcome problems. Flexibility is also part of robustness. A robust supply chain is supposed to efficiently manage fluctuation within the network. Compared to that, continuity management tries to handle threats. Parts of these threats are demand or production fluctuations put also major disruptions. To create competitive advantages out of these uncertainties is the idea of an anti-fragile supply chain. This paper compares recent concepts for the management and design of future supply chains. It also provides a conceptual framework how the different approaches interact to create synergies. An outlook for future research is also given.

Keywords: supply chain; uncertainty; handling concepts; framework (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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