Supply chain agility: The influence of industry culture on asset capabilities within capital intensive industries.

N. E. Shaw, T. F. Burgess, C. De Mattos, L. Z. Stec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)


Supply chain agility in capital-intensive industries is argued as strongly linked to the capabilities of the individual processing assets comprising the chain. Therefore the desired asset capabilities conducive to overall agility need to be designed in to plant and equipment. However, in addition to asset design, how the assets are used in the production process is an important factor in determining capabilities. In culturally-conservative industries the penetration of modern operations management (OM) practices is expected to be limited and this will hold back the contribution that assets can make to supply chain agility. 

First the paper begins by reviewing the need for agility in supply chains and links this to agile plant capabilities. Next the research context and collaboration is described, which focused upon the speciality chemicals industry and involved three UK universities and thirteen industrial partners. Experiences drawn from industrial case studies undertaken in the research initiative are used to illustrate in a practical manner the key asset capability underpinning agility, that of reconfigurability. The paper adopts a novel focus on a process industry to complement the work on agility that is more usually grounded in discrete manufacturing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3497-3516
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


Cite this