Comparative study of adaptability and flexibility in distributed manufacturing supply chains

H. K. Chan, F. T.S. Chan

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


Supply chains need to be flexible and adaptive because their operations are always subject to a variety of uncertainties like customer demand and supplier capacity, particularly for Make-to-Order (MTO) supply chains since their flow of materials is only triggered by customer orders. The main objective of this paper is to study how flexibility and adaptability in delivery quantity and due date can improve the performance in a network of two-level multi-product MTO supply chains. Effect of uncertain customer demand and also supplier capacity, and supplier's capacity utilization are studied. Flexibility and adaptability are realized based on two proposed coordination mechanisms. Agent-based simulation is employed in this study to model the operations of supply chains. Performance of the system is measured in terms of a number of cost items and customer demand fill rate. Simulation results indicate that introduction of such flexibility and adaptability can improve the aforementioned performance. However, there is a trade-off in selecting the coordination mechanism between adaptability and flexibility subject to capacity utilization. Details and concluding remarks are discussed in this paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-341
Number of pages11
JournalDecision Support Systems
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptability
  • Coordination
  • Flexibility
  • Simulation
  • Supply chain management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Information Systems and Management


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