Faculté des sciences économiques et sociales

Ein nachhaltiges Supply Chain Bewertungsmodell unter besonderer Berücksichtigung zeitlicher Wettbewerbsfaktoren

Glässer, Dominik ; Reiner, Gerald (Dir.)

Thèse de doctorat : Université de Neuchâtel, 2012 ; 2253.

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    The focus of the dissertation which deals with the topic of Operations management is on supply chain management and on the assessability of dynamic interactions of lead time with regard to overall performance of the system. Based on progressive globalization (Reiner et al. 2008) which results in competitive pressure from low-wage countries and based on higher service requirements of customers, time-based competitive strategies (Askenazy et al. 2006), in addition to cost and quality, are a success factor which becomes more and more important for companies in many industrial sectors (Krüger und Steven 2000, Suri 2010). In this context, the reduction of lead time is one of the decisive mechanisms for improvement. Irrespective of the positive impact of reduced lead time in many sectors, many managers do not pay sufficient attention to it (Suri 1998). On the one hand, this is due to the fact that attempts for the reduction of lead times are directed against standard management methods, for example, the maximization of resource utilization. The dynamic correlations between lead time, resource utilization, batch size and variability are not always intuitive and, to some extent, difficult to understand (Suri 1998). On the other hand, a time based evaluation model is not yet available which could be used to evaluate the overall performance of interrelations and interactions of measured values relating to effectiveness (for example, customer satisfaction) and efficiency (for example, costs) (Götze et al. 2000, Maskell and Kennedy 2007).
    That is why a sustainable supply chain evaluation model is developed in this dissertation, which, above all, takes time-based competition factors into account. The evaluation model provides an attempt of how to better understand, analyze and evaluate the overall performance of lead time reduction methods or, in general, the lead time. The benefit is illustrated based on the application for a real supply chain with subsequent implementation. All in all, the dissertation adds to a better understanding of relations within the supply chain.
    The dissertation is structured as follows in order to reach the research objective:
    First of all, theoretical basics are described and methodic outlook is provided which reflects the research attempt.
    This is followed by an empirical examination of the queueing theory in chapter 3. It’s most important theoretical basis for production management is the functional correlation of resource utilization, variability and lead time. Even if there is no doubt about the correctness of axiomatic, quantitative research, the exponential proportion between lead time and resource utilization has so far not been examined explicitly based on empirical data of complex production systems. Varied reasons might be stated for this loophole. For example, companies make implied efforts to avoid an increase in lead time in situation of high resource utilization. It must be checked in particular against the background of real implementation to which extent the theoretical basics can be found in practical application. A global leading polymer-processing company will be selected in order to answer the research question in an empirical manner. This branch of industry is marked by high customer requirements. This becomes apparent above all from very short lead times, a high level of response to new market trends and a high level of quality. The proportion between lead time and resource utilization will be examined based on more than 19,000 products over a period of 2 1/2 years.
    Afterwards, a sustainable supply chain evaluation model is developed in chapter 4, which, above all, takes time-based competitive factors into account. This is necessary since the maxim regarding an increase in resource utilization continues to be a widespread target for many managers in the manufacturing industry and in the service sector. This is due to inappropriate performance evaluation and incentive systems for managers in which dynamic correlations between production, customer and cost-oriented performance dimensions are neglected. An evaluation model is therefore created which takes account of dynamic correlations and which makes it possible to evaluate various lead time reduction attempts as a whole prior to implementation or in general. The combination of rapid modelling and system dynamics is the core element of the evaluation model. The necessary empirical data are provided by the aforementioned leading polymer-processing company which turned out to be an ideal object of investigation since evidence for the correlation between resource utilization and lead time could be provided in an empirical manner. In addition, an extensive data basis is available and, on the other hand, time-based competitive factors become more and more important in this branch of industry.
    The evaluation model allows to examine and to evaluate the impact of lead time on the overall performance for many situations. The findings gained from this can now be used for supply chain processes (chapter 5). Cross-organizational as well as internal key performance indicators are measured by means of process simulation in order to evaluate strategic/tactical attempts for improvement of a specific supply chain. The adapted evaluation model is illustrated based on the polymer-processing company the supply chain of which is marked by an agile environment which means that the supply chain partners must be in a position to cope with fluctuating demand situations without jeopardizing the customer service level because it is the market winner. This is followed by the real implementation of the scenario with best results acc. to the simulation model.
    Chapter 6 finally provides an overview of the results of the individual chapters. A conclusion is drawn and benefits of the dissertation are stated in this chapter as well. In addition, this chapter provides a perspective with regard to further potential research work.