Characteristics of redistributed manufacturing systems: a comparative study of emerging industry supply networks


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This paper explores the characteristics of redistributed manufacturing systems within the context of emerging industry supply networks (EI SNs), with a particular focus on their structure, operations and reconfiguration dynamics. A number of factors have resulted in the redistribution of manufacturing. Within Emerging Industries, advances in process and information technologies, have changed the physical and information characteristics of components and products, and the viable production economies of scale. Further, the emergence of new specialised companies fulfilling key research, production or service roles have changed industry structure and operations, and the conventional model of value creation. Six industrial systems are examined using an Industrial System mapping methodology providing a basis for cross-case analysis, selected on the basis of representing alternative and novel evolution paths that may provide insights into the characteristics of EI SNs within a redistributed manufacturing context. Cross-case analysis suggests several generic aspects to EI SNs, including the blurring of traditional industry boundaries and the critical requirement to manage uncertainty. Alternative forms of EI SNs are observed supporting particular EI evolution paths. Further, more adaptive SNs support increased product variety, with lower inventory models enabled by enhanced production and distribution flexibility, often located closer to demand.

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supply chain design, supply chain management, supply chain dynamics, emerging industry, distributed manufacturing
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International Journal of Production Research
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Informa UK Limited
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (TS/I000275/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/E001769/1)
The authors would like to acknowledge UK Research Council EPSRC, the industrial collaborators who provided access to their organisations, and their supply network, industrial and institutional partners.