The strategic integration of agile and lean supply
R. Strattona,*, R.D.H. Warburtonb a School of Engineering, Nottingham Trent University, Burton St., Nottingham NG1 4BU, UK b Grifﬁn Manufacturing, Fall River, MA, USA
Abstract Lean supply is closely associated with enabling ﬂow and the elimination of wasteful variation within the supply chain. However, lean operations depend on level scheduling and the growing need to accommodate variety and demand uncertainty has resulted in the emergence of the concept of agility. This paper explores the role of inventory and capacity in accommodating such variation and identiﬁes how TRIZ separation principles and TOC tools may be combined in the integrated development of responsive and efﬁcient supply chains. A detailed apparel industry case study is used to illustrate the application of these concepts and tools. r 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Agile; Trade-offs; Lean; Quick response
1. Introduction Outsourcing manufacture to low cost overseas suppliers is an attractive lure in our global economy, but often undertaken without adequate regard for the market needs and the corresponding demands on the associated delivery systems. Products compete in different ways in different markets and delivery systems need to be designed with this in mind. Offshore supply offers attractive cost beneﬁts, but the trade-off is often high levels of inventory to support a slower response capability. When these higher levels of inventory are combined with volatile demand the trade-off is more signiﬁcant, with resulting obsolescence and shortages. However, what is commonly assumed is
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that one solution ﬁts all and the consequence of the mismatch is not appreciated until it is too late. The Grifﬁn Manufacturing Company (Warburton and
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