Effective Usage Of Redundancy And Flexibility In Resilient Supply Chains

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Purpose of this paper:Since 2001 the study of supply chain resilience has a growing attention of academics and practitioners. It addresses the recovery of systems after unexpected changes (Kamalahmadi and Parast, 2016; Linnenluecke, 2015).Flexibility and redundancy are two prominent principles used in the literature on the resilience of a system (Rice & Caniato 2003; Linnenluecke 2015). Redundancy contributes to the system’s resistance and response to disruptions (Chopra and Sodhi, 2004), and flexibility helps system to adapt to a new situation (Christopher & Peck 2004). As each of these have cost implications, a fundamental question in supply chain resilience still widely debated is related to their importance and the conditions for which each of them should beemphasised (Kamalahmadi & Parast 2016). For example, in certain cases flexibility can improve efficient use of redundant resources (Hopp, 2008), while in others flexibility can hedge risks without having redundant resources (Stecke & Kumar 2009).In both cases, prompt information about disruptions enhances decision making related to appropriate response (Wieland & Wallenburg 2013). This means that information sharing and supply chain visibility might play a critical role in supply chain resilience (Blackhurst et al., 2011; Ponis and Koronis, 2012;Brandon-Jones, Squire and Van Rossenberg, 2014).In this study, we propose that effective usage of redundancy and flexibility depends on timely information about disruptions and their impact on the firm and its supply chain. Thus, we aim to explore in what way redundancy and flexibility affect a firm’s resilience and what is the importance of supply chain visibility and information sharing in this context.Design/methodology/approach:This study is based on a review of recent academic papers on supply chain and firm resilience published in supply chain management related journals, as well as key theories and approaches that can be used as an introspective framework for deeper insight into constitutive elements resilience: redundancy, flexibility and visibility.Findings:Our major findings address a) there is a need for a better understanding which conditions are beneficial to combine or generate trade-offs between redundancy and flexibility, and when flexibility should be combined with visibility in the supply chains and b) the influence of visibility and information sharing on resilient supply chains and companies are underrepresented in studies. Our findings suggest that redundancy, flexibility and information sharing/visibility are pillars of a firm’s resilience.Value:Our research addresses fundamental issues related to the supply chain resilience: what are the academic insights on how to effectively use redundancy and flexibility, and what role information sharing and visibility have in it. This paper intends to clarify where the future directions are and contribute to the development of a theoretical perspective on supply chain resilience.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 22nd International Symposium on Logistics (ISL 2017): Data Driven Supply Chains
EditorsKS Pawar, A Potter, A Lisec
Place of PublicationLjubljana, Slovenia
PublisherCentre for Concurrent Enterprise, Nottingham University Business School
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9780853583196
Publication statusPublished - 09 Jul 2017


  • Resilience
  • Redundancy
  • Flexibility
  • Supply chain
  • Visibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)


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