Analysis and Management of Bottlenecks in Supply Networks : Towards a Structured Approach to Stabilization of Inbound Material Flow
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Original versionAnalysis and Management of Bottlenecks in Supply Networks : Towards a Structured Approach to Stabilization of Inbound Material Flow by Jakob Emanuel Beer, Stavanger : University of Stavanger, 2015 (PhD thesis UiS, no. 256)
Any organization whose business model is based on production relies, and is dependent, on providers of raw material which it transforms into products. Customers’ demand for products, and thus the producing firm’s demand for raw material, generally are not static but change with economic cycles, marketing, entries and exits of competitors, and changing consumer behavior, to name but a few factors. A variety of forecast methods support organizations in their effort to be prepared for demand changes, yet uncertainty about the volumes the market will demand cannot be fully eliminated. The design and management of supply networks has therefore increasingly shifted in the focus of attention as they provide levers for organizations to cope with variability. This thesis aims to augment theory and practice in the management of supply networks by providing a different perspective, a new angle, from where to analyze and to steer the buying firm’s inbound material stream. A bottleneck perspective will be developed in the course of the thesis, and it will be complemented by the identification and discussion of distinct bottleneck management activities, each of which comprised by a multitude of individual measures. Some of these measures fulfill very particular roles, and some serve multiple roles at once, so that the context in which to use these measures is important. Moreover, the discussion of supply networks and activities aimed at securing supply provides clarification as to the popular notions of supply chains and Supply Chain Management (SCM). It will be demonstrated how these concepts collide with actual network structures as well as with common practice. A comprehensive review of literature brings together insights from research fields as diverse as manufacturing systems, systems theory, complexity, and network theory. This review provides the backbone for the development of a tentative conceptual model that will guide the processes of data collection and analysis. The insights from the data analysis and how they relate to the existing body of knowledge are used to devise the foundation of a theory of bottleneck management in supply networks.
PhD thesis in Structural Engineering and Material Science