Lessons from empirical studies in supply chain flexibility: a maturity perspective


  • Raquel Mello University of Münster
  • Bernd Hellingrath University of Münster
  • Roberto Antonio Martins Federal University of São Carlos




Supply Chain Flexibility, Maturity Model, Flexibility Dimensions, Case Study


Goal: To analyze supply chain flexibility (SCF) within real-life settings from a maturity perspective and provide a discussion on the importance of a maturity model for SCF.

Design/Methodology/Approach: A multiple case study was conducted in multinational manufacturing companies from different business sectors, offering a within-case and cross-case analysis.

Results: The empirical evidence revealed that the studied companies do not consider flexibility measures. This absence renders difficulties when striving for external flexibility, for instance, affecting planning and control activities. Furthermore, the conducted analysis showed that sharing information among supply chain members has a significant impact on the identification of changes in the processes, enabling a correct and quick reaction to these changes.

Limitations of the investigation: The results are restricted to the studied companies; therefore, the SCF maturity model deserves more application through the development of more empirical investigations.

Practical implications: This is a guide for practitioners to identify the current maturity level of their SCF, and subsequently improve the processes, aiming to achieve the desired result.

Originality/Value: This paper addresses the lack of theoretical and empirical studies in the literature regarding the analysis of SCF maturity and its different levels, thus enabling practitioners and researchers to improve the understanding of maturity in the SCF context.


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How to Cite

Mello, R., Hellingrath, B., & Martins, R. A. (2019). Lessons from empirical studies in supply chain flexibility: a maturity perspective. Brazilian Journal of Operations & Production Management, 16(3), 436–447. https://doi.org/10.14488/BJOPM.2019.v16.n3.a7