Manufacturing, Fall River, MA, USA Abstract Lean supply is closely associated with enabling ? ow 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 identi? es how TRIZ separation principles and TOC tools may be combined in the integrated development of responsive and ef? cient 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 bene? ts, but the trade-off is often high levels of inventory to support a slower response capability.