• Lean and Agile Supply Chain Management: A Case of IT Distribution Industry in the Middle East

      Abdi, M. Reza; Edalat, F.D.; Abumusa, S. (2016)
      Supply chain management (SCM) as one of the important research topics plays a major role in performance of organizations/stakeholders operating as the supply chain tiers. Many studies have been published to find the best theory and strategy, which can be applied to each industry or market. SCM is still a developing field and there are still gaps in understanding what its design strategies and boundaries are. There are two major modes of managing supply chain (i) lean supply chain which emphasize supply chain efficiency and (ii) agile supply chains which emphasize supply chain responsiveness and flexibility. This chapter reviews two modes of lean and agile supply chain in Information Technology (IT) distribution field in the emerging markets in the Middle East. The chapter presents key characteristics of lean and agile supply chains in IT industry. It investigates how a suitable supply chain policy can be adopted by IT hardware and services distributors in the Middle East through a case study. Is it a lean supply chain policy which emphasizes efficiency? Or is it an agile supply chain policy which emphasizes responsiveness and flexibility? Or is it an integrated lean-agile policy based on specific activities aimed at specific results? The chapter discusses leanness and agility with a focus on the main activities carried out by IT distributors that include orders processing, professional services, inventory and logistic services. IT industry has been characterized by continuous and rapid market and customer requirements changes. These changes are applicable on all IT products/services such as networking, information security, software, service support, smart phones, IP telephony, CCTV, wireless…etc. Therefore, in IT industry, both manufacturing and service operation should be included in planning processes across its supply chain. The primary data was acquired through specifically designed interviews. The questions were based on the core factors investigated in the literature of operation management, strategic management and marketing related to IT supply chain. The core factors, which are found critical are customer satisfaction, process management, inventory levels, capabilities and services provided, are explored and analyzed through a case study in the Middle East.