Synergy, Tradeoff and the Dimensions of Supply Chain Responsiveness

International Journal of Applied Operations Management (ISSN: 1744-8182) Volume 1 Issue 1

Eisenhower C. Etienne, PhD.

Associate Professor,
School of Business and Industry,
Florida A&M University


This paper examines the fundamental tenet of the supply chain responsiveness-cost efficient frontier that the relationship between supply chain cost and responsiveness is characterized by tradeoff. The paper presents evidence that that relationship is substantially characterized by synergy, and it identifies some of the most significant areas of synergy and the factors that drive these. The synergistic relationship is further brought to the fore by an identification of the many dimensions of supply chain responsiveness. Three key conclusions emerge from the analysis. The first is that by focusing on identification and exploitation of synergy, supply chain managers are in a better position to identify and take actions that simultaneously drive responsiveness up while driving costs down. The exploitation of these synergistic relationships is one of the most promising avenues for pushing the responsiveness frontier out. The second is that inventory is a net destroyer of supply chain responsiveness rather than an enhancer of it. And the third is that by focusing on specific dimensions of responsiveness managers increase the potential to identify synergistic relationships that can be exploited for competitive advantage. Further, depending on the market segment in which a company competes, it cannot position itself on responsiveness as a whole but on specific dimensions of it.

Key Words: Supply-Chain, Responsiveness, Efficient-frontier, Synergy, Tradeoff, Inventory, Dimensions, Responsiveness-focus, Responsiveness-differentiation

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