Fit in the lean supply chain

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Fit in the lean supply chain

Personal information

Name: Pim Poelen

Student number: s4528867

Address: Boterdijk 15, 6581AA Malden Phone: 0616446224

E-mail: P.poelen@student.ru.nl

Supervisors

Supervisor 1: Dr. A.A.J. Smits 2nd examiner: Dr. R. Smals Submission date: 29-11-2016

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Abstract

Océ-Technologies B.V. has incorporated lean manufacturing in line with developments of the manufacturing context. Océ-Technologies B.V. wants to align with suppliers to be truly lean. Therefore, the main objective of this research is providing insights into the current fit between Océ-Technologies B.V. and the suppliers regarding dimensions of the supply chain, in order to develop recommendations to improve this fit. These insights can contribute to a better implementation of lean manufacturing. To realize the objective of the research, the following research question is formulated: What is the fit between Océ-Technologies B.V. and the suppliers in the supply chain with regard to the dimensions that are part of the lean supply chain? I have synthesized four articles including dimensions of the supply chain in order to reach consensus on a framework for analyzing the lean supply chain. The dimensions of this research are strategic alignment, manufacturing management, relationship management, information sharing, information technology, performance management and logistics management. This framework is used for analyzing the lean supply chain of Océ-Technologies B.V. by means of interviewing five logistic engineers of Océ-Technologies B.V. and five managers/directors of suppliers in order to provide insights in their perspective regarding fit. On the basis of the analysis, there can be concluded that Océ-Technologies B.V. and suppliers have fit on the dimensions strategic alignment and performance management, but there is less fit on the dimensions manufacturing management, relationships management, information sharing, information technology and logistics management. Therefore, I have formulated recommendations to improve fit in the lean supply chain and these consist of two parts. The first part is related to creating consensus between the perspectives of Océ-Technologies B.V. and suppliers. Creating consensus can be realized by meetings, identifying exemplary suppliers, workshops and redesigns of

involvement processes. The second part is related to improving fit on dimensions and therefore I advise to organize meetings, invest in technologies and set-up implementation programs. Furthermore, Océ-Technologies B.V. can support suppliers in forming a suppliers network in which suppliers can learn from each other to be more effective and efficient in having a relationship with an OEM. This research has two theoretical contributions; firstly a synthesized model for providing insights in the lean supply chain which has potential for future research and secondly, the positive influence of the item events of the dimension relationships management on fit in the lean supply chain. Finally, an important limitation of this research is that I have only involved logistics engineers instead of involving the quality- and supply employees of Océ-Technologies B.V.

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Table of Content

1. Introduction ... 4

1.1 Lean supply chain ... 5

1.2 Context Océ-Technologies B.V. ... 6

1.3 Objective and research question ... 6

1.4 Outline of the thesis ... 7

2. Theoretical background ... 8

2.1 Lean ... 8

2.2 Fit in the lean supply chain ... 10

2.3 Different perspectives of suppliers and OEM’s ... 14

2.4 Conceptual model ... 15

3. Methodology ... 16

3.1 Method ... 17

3.2 Case- and respondent selection ... 17

3.3 Data sources ... 19

3.4 Operationalization ... 19

3.5 Data analysis ... 22

3.6 Creditability, transferability, dependability and confirmability ... 22

3.6.1 Creditability ... 23 3.6.2 Transferability ... 23 3.6.3 Dependability ... 23 3.6.4 Confirmability ... 23 3.7 Research ethics ... 24 4. Results ... 24 4.1 Perspective of Océ-Technologies B.V. ... 25 4.2 Perspective of suppliers ... 31

4.3 Similarities and differences between Océ-Technologies B.V. and suppliers ... 37

5. Conclusion and discussion ... 42

5.1 Conclusion ... 43

5.1.1 Research question, sub-questions and goal ... 43

5.1.2 Limitations ... 46

5.2 Discussion ... 46

5.2.1 Practical contribution / Recommendations ... 46

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5.2.3 Reflection ... 51

Planning ... 53

Appendix ... 53

Appendix 1: Interview Preparation ... 54

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1. Introduction

1.1 Lean supply chain

Firstly, I introduce the concept lean supply chain and thereafter I elaborate the concepts lean manufacturing and supply chain management separately. The concept of lean supply chain came into existence after the introduction of lean manufacturing. It is an expansion of the Lean philosophy and the related tools, techniques and practices into the supply chain from extracting raw materials to delivering the products to the end user (Behrouzi & Wong, 2013). Levy (1997) argues that the rapid flow of goods and information required by lean production is a costly and difficult process. Especially in international supply chains compared to domestic supply chains, lead times are often longer and inventory levels higher. Moreover, longer supply chains are related with poor sales-forecasting creditability and delays in resolving technical problems and these examples illustrate the importance of supply chain management. This is also applicable in the context of Technologies B.V., because Océ-Technologies B.V. operates as a global organization and wants to increase supply chain fit between Océ-Technologies B.V. and its suppliers for the incorporation of lean manufacturing. However, they experience difficulties in realizing optimal fit in the lean supply chain, because they themselves indicate to lack specific insights.

Womack and Jones (2003) argue that lean thinking allows organizations to specify value, line up value-creating actions in the best sequence without interruption, whenever someone requests them, and perform them continuously more and more effectively. They argue that seven kinds of waste need to be eliminated, which are overproduction, transportation,

inventory, motion, defects, over-processing and waiting. Lean manufacturing has the potential to add value and lower the costs and therefore it can contribute to a more effective and

efficient supply chain.

Supply chain management is a significant factor due to the globalization of the markets, the diversification of customer needs and the complexity of production (Park, et al., 2010). Therefore, Simchi-Levi, et al., (2003) argue that a fit in the supply chain is required. Christopher (1998) argues that adding value and reducing costs by integrating internal

business functions of the company such as purchasing, material management and inventory to be more competitive is insufficient. Therefore, the integration needs to be extended to external partners, in order to achieve true supply chain fit.

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In this research, I follow the definition of fit as “the degree to which the needs, demands, goals, objectives, and/or structures of one component are consistent with the needs, demands, goals, objectives, and/or structures of another component” (Nadler & Tushman’s, 1980).

1.2 Context Océ-Technologies B.V.

Océ is a global leader in digital imaging, industrial printing and collaborative business services. In addition to this, it is part of the Canon group company and the organization operates as a global network of R&D, manufacturing and logistics centers. The headquarters of Océ is Océ-Technologies B.V. and is located in Venlo, the Netherlands. Océ also has other locations in Europe (Poing, Szeged, Timisoare, Créteil and Namur) and is active in North America (Vancouver) and Asia (Singapore and Malaysia) (Océ, 2016).

A few years ago, Océ-Technologies B.V. introduced lean manufacturing in the organization in line with the developments of the manufacturing context. Therefore, Océ-Technologies B.V. wants to collaborate with suppliers regarding eliminating seven kinds of waste and creating value for the customer (Womack & Jones, 2003). The organization recognizes the importance of integrating the whole supply chain in order to be truly lean (Black, 2007). True integration in this research is synonymous to a proper fit between Océ-Technologies B.V. and its

suppliers.

Therefore, the practical contribution of this research is providing insights in perspectives of Océ-Technologies B.V. and suppliers regarding fit on dimensions of the lean supply chain (So & Sun, 2010). At this moment Océ-Technologies B.V. lacks the needed insights and therefore the organization is interested in these insights in order to improve the fit in the lean supply chain.

The literature explicitly provides insights related to the supply chain, but there are less insights available about the lean supply chain. Therefore, this research firstly provides an integrated framework for analyzing fit in the lean supply chain. Furthermore, this research adds the item ‘events’ to the dimension relationship management which contributes to

realizing fit in the lean supply chain. These two insights are the theoretical contribution of this research.

1.3 Objective and research question

The main objective of this research is providing insights into the current fit between Océ-Technologies B.V. and the suppliers in the supply chain, in order to develop

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recommendations to improve this fit. These insights can contribute to a better implementation of lean manufacturing into the supply chain (So & Sun, 2010).

For this practical research related to Océ Technologies B.V., I use the intervention cycle. The phases in the intervention cycle are diagnosis, design, intervention and evaluation

(Bleijenbergh, 2013). This research can be positioned in the diagnosis phase, since this phase has the purpose of providing better insights in the fit between Océ-Technologies B.V. and the suppliers in the supply chain. These insights contribute to the design and implementation of solutions. To realize the objective of the research, the following research question is

formulated:

What is the fit between Océ-Technologies B.V. and the suppliers in the supply chain with regard to the dimensions that are part of the lean supply chain?

As mentioned in the question I will research the fit of the supply chain from two perspectives, namely from the perspectives of responsible Océ-Technologies B.V. managers and the

perspectives of suppliers in the supply chain. The possible similarities and differences in perspectives are important for understanding current challenges of Océ-Technologies B.V. and the suppliers regarding fit of the lean supply chain. In order for an answer to be

formulated to this research question, the following sub-questions have been formulated:

1. What is the perspective of Océ-Technologies B.V. with regard to the fit in the lean supply chain?

2. What is the perspective of the suppliers with regard to the fit in the lean supply chain? 3. What are similarities and differences between Océ-Technologies B.V and the suppliers with regard to the fit in the lean supply chain?

1.4 Outline of the thesis

To provide a better understanding of the topic of this research, chapter 2 will provide the necessary theoretical background with regard to the lean supply chain. Hereafter, chapter 3 will provide insights in the chosen methodology for this research. Subsequently, the results of the data-collection can be found in chapter 4. Finally, chapter 5 contains the conclusion and discussion and in this chapter I have discussed the limitations and possibilities for further research, the practical and theoretical implications and reflection.

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2. Theoretical background

First, I explain the concept of lean manufacturing, since Océ-Technologies B.V. has introduced this concept a few years ago and is trying to incorporate it in its whole supply chain. Subsequently, I introduce dimensions of the supply chain for providing insights in supply chain fit for the incorporation of lean manufacturing. Moreover, I provide literature related to possible different perspectives that suppliers and buyers can have regarding fit in the supply chain.

2.1 Lean

This research is focusing on lean in the manufacturing context and lean can be defined as “a way to specify value, line up value creating actions in the best sequence, conduct these

activities without interruption, whenever someone requests them, and perform them more and more effectively” (Womack & Jones, 2003). According to their literature, there are six steps for the incorporation of lean in the organization. These steps are: specify value as defined by the customer, identify value streams for each offering and identify waste, design production flows, introduce pull, aim for perfection through reflection and continuous improvement and building a culture of participatory management.

The first step is to specify value as defined by the customer in which the value proposition in terms of the complete product is determined. Organizations can use lean practices to specify the value. They can ask customers to give feedback on for example quality and delivery performance and they can involve customers actively in current and future product offerings. Next to this, a practice is asking and stimulating customers to frequently share current and future demand information (Womack & Jones, 2003).

If the value is specified, the second step of lean manufacturing is identifying value streams for each product and identifying waste. A value stream can be defined as “all of the specific actions required to bring a specific product through management tasks of the business”

(Womack & Jones, 2003). Organizations can use a value stream map to identify three types of activities. The first type of activities contributes unambiguously to the value and is necessary for the functioning of the product. The second type of activities has no value, but the activities are necessary to maintain the operation (type 1 Muda). The third type of activities absorbs resources, but these activities do not create value. These activities need to be eliminated and can be identified as waste (type 2 Muda). Type 2 Muda identifies seven types of waste, which are over-production, inventory, motion, waiting, transportation, over-processing and rework

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and defects. Value stream mapping is a practice for identifying value streams and identifying waste.

The third step is designing production flows, which implies having the right component, at the right time, in the right quantity (just-in-time). To realize this, Kanban can be introduced as a signaling system. Kanban is a lean approach to pull materials and parts throughout the supply chain on a just-in-time basis. Supplier Kanban is a particular type of Kanban which transmits a signal to outside suppliers (Arbulo, R.J., 2002). Womack & Jones (2003) argue that

organizations need to introduce continuous flows with no waste motions, no interruptions and no batches. To realize this, it can introduce lean practices and these are single-piece flow, production tempo on takt time and cellular manufacturing. Single-piece flow implies that batch sizes are replaced by working at one product at a time. Furthermore, production tempo on takt time means that the customer demand determines the production tempo. Finally, cellular manufacturing is related to a lay-out of the manufacturing process based on product/value streams (Womack & Jones, 2003).

The fourth step is letting customers pull value from the producer to for example avoid over- production. This means that the workers of the production system pull materials throughout the production instead of that it is pushed by the planning system. In this way, products are only produced until the customer downstream asks for it. The fifth step is aiming for perfection through reflection, regular on the job maintenance and continuous improvement. Finally, the sixth step is building a culture of participatory management. This implies having well trained employees who participate in decision making and lean practices (Womack & Jones, 2003).

To sum up, according to Womack & Jones (2003), lean has the benefit of creating value as defined by the customer and it eliminates waste. Moreover, according to Melton (2004), lean manufacturing results in a decrease in lead times, reduced inventories for manufacturers and improved knowledge management. Furthermore, it will lead to more robust processes and less errors and therefore less rework.

The benefits of lean manufacturing for organizations are identified in the literature. However, to make the lean philosophy really effective and efficient, a fit is required into the supply chain (Behrouzi & Wong, 2013). The next paragraph will elaborate on this.

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2.2 Fit in the lean supply chain

Black (2007) argues that fit in the supply chain is a key step in incorporating the lean manufacturing implementation strategy in the supply chain. Moreover, according to Yunus (2016), there needs to be a fit in the supply chain to enhance the performance of organizations in the supply chain. As aforementioned, supply chain fit means the degree to which the needs, demands, goals, objectives, and/or structures of one organization in the supply chain are consistent with the needs, demands, goals, objectives, and/or structures of other organizations in the supply chain (Nadler & Tushman’s, 1980). If firms integrate with their supply chain partners, they will share more information, work together with key suppliers to reduce costs or solve inventory problems and collaborate to improve product design and service levels. Moreover, a fit in the supply chain is essential, because a positive relationship can be found between supply chain and productivity, competitive advantage, firm growth, shareholder value and financial performance (Yunus, 2016). Since the benefits are made evident in the literature, I will elaborate on the dimensions of the supply chain in the next paragraph.

Dimensions of the supply chain

In the literature, dimensions of the supply chain can be found and fit is required on these dimensions. A dimension categorizes and measures concepts in order to answer business questions (Bleijenbergh, 2013). I have selected a sample of four papers with dimensions of the supply chain (Chen & Paulraj, 2004; Li, et al., 2005; So & Sun, 2010; Soni & Kodali, 2011). The searching terms for these papers are supply chain and lean.

The research of Chen & Paulraj (2004) identifies and consolidates various supply chain initiatives and factors, in order to develop key supply chain management constructs. They analyzed over 400 articles and suggest a research framework of supply chain management in the manufacturing context. In this framework, key factors and supply chain initiatives are addressed. Especially the key factors of this paper can be used in the context of this research. The research of Li, et al., (2005) conceptualizes, develops and validates six dimensions of supply chain management. Furthermore, they argue the importance of lean practices such as eliminating waste in a manufacturing system, characterized by reduced set-up times and pull production. This paper is relevant because the dimensions of their study can be used for this research and moreover they argue the importance of lean practices in the supply chain.

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So & Sun (2010) formulate a supplier integration strategy with the aim to eliminate waste in order to incorporate lean manufacturing in the supply chain. The proposed theoretical model of their research is tested with survey data obtained from manufacturers in 17 countries. This paper is relevant, because elements of the supplier integration strategy can be used as

dimensions of the supply chain in order to provide insights in the supply chain fit.

Furthermore, their theoretical model is tested in the manufacturing context and this is in line with the context of Océ-Technologies B.V.. Soni & Kodali (2011) identify inconsistencies by critically reviewing 57 supply chain management framework articles. Based on the results of this study, they have proposed a framework to achieve coherency in the use of supply chain management frameworks. The proposed framework has nine pillars and these pillars can be used as potential dimensions of the supply chain.

In order to reach a consensus on a framework for supply chain fit for the incorporation of lean manufacturing, only the dimensions that were mentioned in multiple papers were taken into account. These are strategic alignment, manufacturing management, relationship

management, information sharing, information technology, performance management and logistics management. I will elaborate on these dimensions below.

Firstly, Strategic alignment is a dimension of the supply chain. So & Sun (2010) argue that partners in the supply chain need to establish common goals and strategies regarding for example lean manufacturing and product innovations. Moreover, Chen & Paulraj (2004) argue that strategy is important since it sets guidelines for interactions among organizations in the supply chain. Secondly, Soni & Kodali (2011) argue that strategic management is

essential for alignment regarding the strategic actions of top level management to enhance supply chain performance. These actions are related to the management of information flows, knowledge management and relationship management. Since strategic alignment is dimension of the supply chain, there needs to be a fit between the goals and the strategies of the

organizations in the supply chain. Furthermore, there needs to be a fit between the actions of top level management of organizations in the supply chain.

According to Chen & Paulraj (2004) manufacturing management is a dimension of the supply chain since machine breakdowns across the organizations need to be managed to ensure ongoing manufacturing. Moreover, Soni & Kodali (2011) argue that manufacturing organizations were forced to develop new methodologies and tools to realize lead-time

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reduction. This gave rise to manufacturing management of organizations in the supply chain. Moreover, in line with lead-time reduction, organizations in the supply chain need to have shared knowledge of the manufacturing processes and especially regarding lean

manufacturing. In addition, Christopher (2000) argues the importance of agile manufacturing in order to react to a rapid change, which refers to having greater responsiveness to changes in product mix or volume. Therefore, on the basis of above mentioned information, it is vital for organizations to have a manufacturing fit in the supply chain, especially in the management of lead-time reduction and in lean- and agile manufacturing knowledge.

Furthermore, according to So & Sun (2010) relationship management is a dimension of the supply chain and it can be defined as a long-term relationship between the organization and its suppliers in order to create partnership. They indicate the importance of establishing polices for developing meaningful and distinctive relationships. Relationship management is also important because it is designed to leverage strategy and operational capabilities throughout the supply chain (Li, et al., 2005). Moreover, Chen & Paulraj (2004) also argue that

relationship management is needed on areas such as focus on long-term relationships and supplier involvement. Long-term relationships are essential, because through close relationships, supply chain partners are more willing to share risk and maintain the

relationship over a longer period of time. Moreover, supplier involvement in the development, design and engineering of a specific part of the assembly is needed, because no involvement of suppliers can account for many of the difficulties in the relationship. To sum up, in the dimension relationship management, there is fit needed in policies for meaningful and distinctive relationships. Furthermore, organizations in the supply chain need to focus on long-term relationships to stimulate willingness to share risk and having the intention to maintain the relationship. Moreover, there is fit needed in the involvement of suppliers and the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) in order to collaborate in the development, design and engineering of parts and products (Park, et al., 2010).

So & Sun (2010) argue that information sharing is a dimension of the supply chain.

Information sharing is important, because it provides insights in for example sales forecast and product development plans. Subsequently, Li, et al., (2005) argue that this information sharing needs to be accurate, adequate and credible. Moreover, Chee Wong, et al., (2012) argue that the lack of transparency and visibility across the supply chain is an obstacle to realize alignment between the organizations in the supply chain. Information sharing helps to

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improve the visibility and therefore it improves the allocation of inventory, production scheduling and knowledge transfer process. So, to realize effective and efficient information sharing, it is firstly essential to have a fit between the organizations in the supply chain and to which extent critical information is shared. Secondly, a fit between the OEM and suppliers is required on the accuracy, adequacy and credibility of the shared information.

Furthermore, So & Sun (2010) argue that information technology is a dimension of the supply chain. They argue that organizations need to have collaborative ERP/e-business systems for information processing and data repository functions for supporting joint-planning among organizations in the supply chain. Soni & Kodali (2011) argue the importance of information technology, because with the use of IT, organizations can manage the logistic networks, supplier integration and inventory management effectively. The strength of

inter-organizational systems has been particularly crucial (Chen & Paulraj, 2004). Moreover, Clark, et al., (2001) argue that information technology and business electronic commerce create opportunities for firms to dramatically improve procurement and production processes. Nath and Standing (2010) identify the drivers that promote use of IT in the supply chain and these are cost reduction, cycle-time and lead-time reduction, improvement of information quality, increased operational capability, improvement in relationships with individuals and partners, real-time information accessibility, improvement in decision making and quality service delivery. Since the importance of information technology is made evident in the literature, organizations in the supply chain need to have a fit regarding the type of information technology used for information processing and data repository functions and there is fit needed on the connectivity of the systems.

Chen & Paulraj (2004) argue that performance management is a dimension of the supply chain for organizations in the supply chain. It is important because performances are

outcomes of the implementation of a supply chain strategy. Performance can be determined on the basis of quality, cost, flexibility and delivery. For example, poor quality of incoming parts adds to the buyer’s cost in terms of inspection and rework and return and therefore monitoring of performance is essential. So & Sun (2010) also argue for the importance of measuring historical and logistical performance. Since performance management is dimension of the supply chain, there is fit needed in the parameter of performance and parameters can be quality, cost, flexibility or delivery. Moreover, a fit is required on monitoring the performance of organizations in the supply chain in such a way that the outcomes are in line with the strategy.

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According to Soni & Kodali (2011), logistics management is a dimension of the supply chain. It can be identified by its focus on optimizing business activities regarding the flow and storage of inventory, goods and services throughout the supply chain. Furthermore, CSCMP (2016) argues that logistic management is part of supply chain management, since it plans and implements the efficient and effective flow and storage of goods, services and related

information in order to meet the requirements of customers. Chen & Paulraj (2004) also argue that logistic integration is needed to guarantee the quantity of products in the right place at the right time. High levels of integration include collaboration between the OEM and suppliers by means of agreements regarding logistics communication and coordination of organization’s logistics activities. To realize efficient and effective logistic management, there needs to be a fit in the supply chain in such a way that organizations in the supply chain focus on

optimizing business activities regarding the flow of inventory, goods and services throughout the supply chain separately. Furthermore, a fit between organizations in the supply chain is required on collaboration in optimizing activities by means of communication- and

coordination agreements.

2.3 Different perspectives of suppliers and OEM’s

Nyaga, et al., (2009) argue that suppliers and the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) can have different perspectives with regard to dimensions of the supply chain. In collaborative relationships between suppliers and the OEM, it is assumed that they both enter such

collaboration for mutual gain. However, it is not clear whether the parties in the relationship benefit equivalently. Moreover, the authors argue that OEM’s focus more on relationship outcomes while suppliers focus on collaborative activities such as information sharing and joint relationship effort. To elaborate on the possible different perspectives, relationship outcomes can be related to the satisfaction with the relationship, results and the performance of an organization in the supply chain. In addition to this, the authors argue that information sharing is more important for suppliers compared to buyers. This is because information sharing helps the supplier to provide products more efficiently and effectively. Furthermore, suppliers give more value to relationship efforts such as joint effort in planning, goal setting, and problem solving compared to buyers. Oosterhuis, et al., (2013) also argue that suppliers and OEMs can have different perspectives regarding dimensions of the supply chain, especially regarding the desired supplier performance. OEM’s will be satisfied with the

relationship if the supplier is competent, reliable and cooperative. However, research on social identity shows that groups or organizations overestimate their own performance and this can

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be a cause for the different perspectives. Furthermore, Oosterhuis, et al., (2013) argue that suppliers and OEM’s can also have different perspectives regarding for example technology uncertainty. Since multiple authors argue that suppliers and OEM’s can have different

perspectives regarding the supply chain and Océ-Technologies B.V. desires a fit in the supply chain to incorporate lean manufacturing, I will include both perspectives in this research for providing insights in fit of the lean supply chain.

2.4 Conceptual model

The theoretical chapter can be summarized by presenting a conceptual model. For this research, the dimensions of the supply chain are: strategic alignment, manufacturing management, relationship management, information sharing, information technology, performance management and logistics management. Additionally, a fit is required within these dimensions. As mentioned earlier, OEMs and suppliers can have different perspectives regarding these dimensions of the supply chain and therefore I will include both perspectives in this research. The scope of the research is providing insights into the fit of the supply chain. By creating fit on the dimensions described above, lean manufacturing can be better

incorporated throughout the supply chain (Black, 2007). On the next page in figure 1, I have provided the conceptual model of this research.

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3. Methodology

3.1 Method

This chapter will discuss the research strategy that is used throughout the research. This research will be a qualitative research, because the goal of the research is characterized by understanding a phenomenon in-depth and this type of research is desired for understanding perspectives of for example Océ-Technologies B.V. and suppliers regarding fit in the lean supply chain. In this way, I can identify the specific wording and interpretation of respondents of the social phenomenon in order to provide meaning of- and insights in the lean supply chain of Océ-Technologies B.V.. Furthermore in qualitative research, there will be constant iteration between theory, observation and analysis and therefore it is possible to make statements about the lean supply chain over time (Vennix, 2006).

This research is a combination of a deductive and inductive research. This means that I start with theory and identify whether the theory can be proven true in a specific context, but I also try to inductively contribute to the theory (Bleijenbergh, 2013). In this research, knowledge of the concept of lean manufacturing and dimensions of the supply chain are extensively

available in literature. By means of this knowledge and the inductively contribution, I will identify the fit on dimensions of the supply chain. Moreover, as indicated earlier, a fit in the supply chain is a key step in incorporating the lean manufacturing implementation strategy in the supply chain (Black, 2007).

3.2 Case- and respondent selection

In this research, I involve five cases and in each case I will include one logistic engineer of Océ-Technologies B.V. and one director or manager of the supplier’s organization. Firstly, I discuss the selection of cases and thereafter the selection of respondents.

The case of this research is the supply chain of Océ-Technologies B.V.. In the case of the whole supply chain, I study five cases in depth, framed in the literature as embedded cases. This refers to multiple levels of analysis within a single study (Yin, 1984). This allows the researcher to analyze within each setting and across settings. The five cases are chosen by the judgment of a manager of Océ-Technologies B.V. (Bleijenbergh, 2013). These are chosen since the manager expects that these are representative cases of the lean supply chain.

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the fit in the supply chain, because they have detailed knowledge about suppliers, the dimensions of the supply chain and lean manufacturing. Furthermore, respondents of suppliers are chosen by the judgment of a manager of Océ-Technologies B.V.. The responsibility of this manager is relationship management and therefore the manager has knowledge about suppliers and close contacts with suppliers. I have contacted the suppliers before the interviews to ensure that these respondents of suppliers have knowledge of dimensions of the supply chain and lean manufacturing. The selection of respondents in this research is framed in the literature as probability sampling. One advantage of non-probability judgment sampling is that it will reduce costs and time. However, a disadvantage is that the sample may contain biases, since preconceptions that the manager may have can be reflected in the sample. Therefore, it is essential to reflect on these potential biases during the process of data- collection and analysis (Symon & Cassell, 2012).

In table 1, I provide an overview of the cases, the logistic engineers of Océ-Technologies B.V., the manager or director of the supplier’s organization and the duration of the interviews. In the case Océ-Technologies B.V. – Supplier 3, I will interview two persons of Supplier 3 simultaneously, because Supplier 3 argues that the manager has knowledge of the supply chain and the director is specialized in lean. In this way, they can complement each other.

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3.3 Data sources

In this research, I use interviews to investigate the perspectives of Océ-Technologies B.V and suppliers. I use interviews as a data source, because interviews allow for deep investigation of perceptions of Océ-Technologies B.V. and the suppliers. The social interaction between the interviewer and the respondent can motivate respondents to talk openly about relevant information and consequently I can ask concrete questions based on interesting answers provided by the respondents (Bleijenbergh, 2013). However, the use of interviews has a disadvantage since interviews often do not provide information regarding the actual behavior of the respondents. The memory of people is limited and therefore people can forget the sequence of events and relevant issues (Bleijenbergh, 2013). Therefore, it is essential that I reflect continuously on the perceptions of the interviewees to ensure quality data

(Bleijenbergh, 2013).

Furthermore, I use semi-structured interviews in this research. In a semi-structured interview, the questions are formulated before the interview takes place and sometimes the order of the questions is also fixed. However, this can change during the interview based on answers provided by the respondents. The advantage of structured interviews is that all the

respondents of this research will receive the same questions. Moreover, I will make transcripts of the interviews. In this way, the questions and answers, hesitations, silences and emotions are registered. This means that next to the content also the social interaction is registered. This increases the quality of data to be analyzed and increases the controllability of the research. The preparation of the interviews can be found in appendix 1.

3.4 Operationalization

In this paragraph, I identify items of dimensions which are identified in the literature. On the next page in figure 2, I have provided a tree diagram including the concept supply chain, dimensions and items. The items make evident how the dimensions can be interpreted. Furthermore, as mentioned earlier I also inductively investigate data, whereby I add to items and dimensions of the supply chain (Bleijenbergh, 2013). I have presented the items of the dimensions with a color, which are used for the coding process. For the inductively coding process, the color grey is used.

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Figure 2

First, strategic management is a dimension of the supply chain. This dimension can be interpreted by two items. The first item is the extent to which organizations in the supply chain have common goals and strategies on for example lean manufacturing and product innovations (So & Sun, 2010). The second item is the extent to which actions of top-level management of organizations in the supply chain are made to enhance supply chain

performance. These actions are related to the management of information flows, knowledge management and relationship management (Chen & Paulraj, 2004). Second, manufacturing management is a dimension of the supply chain and this dimension has three items. The first

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item is the extent to which organizations in the supply chain can realize lead-time reduction as desired in the supply chain (Soni & Kodali, 2011). Lead-time is framed in the literature as the typical manufacturing time for batch or product; from the release of an order, to production into finished goods (Vastag, G., & Whybark, D., 1993). The second item is the extent to which organizations in the supply chain have shared knowledge regarding lean manufacturing (Womack and Jones, 2003). The third item is the extent to which organizations in the supply chain have shared knowledge of agile manufacturing and this means the ability to adapt and respond quickly to changing customer requirements (Christopher, 2011). Relationship management is also dimension of the supply chain and this dimension has three items. The first item is the extent to which the policies of the organizations in the supply chain are related to meaningful and distinctive relationships. The second item is the extent organizations in the supply chain are focusing on long-term relationships. There is focus on long-term

relationships as organizations in the supply chain are willing to share risk and have the intention to maintain the relationship. The last item is the extent to which organizations in the supply chain involve each other to collaborate in the development, design and engineering of parts and products (Chen & Paulraj, 2004). Furthermore, information sharing is a dimension of the supply chain and this dimension can be interpreted by two items. The first item is the extent to which organizations in the supply chain share critical information of the inventory level, production decisions and demand forecasts (So & Sun, 2010). The second item is the extent to which organizations in the supply chain provide accurate, adequate and credible information (Li, et al., 2005). Information technology is also a dimension of the supply chain and this dimension has two items. The first item is the extent to which organizations in the supply chain use the same type of information technology / e-business system for information processing and data repository functions. The second item is the extent to which organizations in the supply chain are connected by means of the information technology (So & Sun, 2010). Furthermore, performance management is a dimension of the supply chain and this dimension can be interpreted by two items. The first item is the extent to which the organizations in the supply chain focus on the same parameter of performance, whether this is quality, cost, flexibility or delivery. The second item is the extent to which organizations monitor the performance in such a way that the outcomes are in line with the strategy (Chen & Paulraj, 2004). Finally, logistic management is a dimension of the supply chain and this dimension has two items. The first item is the extent to which organizations in the supply chain optimize business activities regarding the flow of inventory, goods and services throughout the supply chain separately. The second item is the extent to which organizations in the supply chain

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collaborate in optimizing activities by means of logistic communication and coordination (Soni & Kodali, 2011).

3.5 Data analysis

This research is a combination of deductive and inductive research. During the coding

process, words and fragments are coded which can be related to an item (Bleijenbergh, 2013). I first code the transcripts of the interviews based on the concept supply chain and the related dimensions and items and I use template analysis to analyze the collected data for this

research. The template analysis uses a high degree of structure in the process of analyzing textual data with the flexibility to adapt it to the needs of a particular study. This also means that it is not required to have fixed number of coding levels and it is between top-down and bottom-up style of analysis. I use this approach because it provides the opportunity to investigate dimensions and the related items of the supply chain, but it also provides the flexibility to add dimensions and items regarding the concept supply chain (Symon & Cassell, 2012). I have assigned the dimensions of the supply chain to high, medium of low fit and the way of reasoning is explained in the next chapter.

3.6 Creditability, transferability, dependability and confirmability

Researchers can have different points of view, namely positivism or relativism. Positivism means that reality exists ‘out there’, independent of perceptual or cognitive structures.

Relativism means that reality is socially constructed; it is a creation or projection. I argue that in this research, the respondents socially construct the reality and respondents can have different perceptions and there is no absolute truth. Therefore, I have chosen for a relativist point of view. In table 2, an overview is presented of the positivist and relativist terms (Symon & Cassell, 2012).

Table 2

The relativist terms are used for this qualitative research and below these are elaborated more in detail.

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3.6.1 Creditability

In this research, I use the term creditability instead of internal validity. This means that I identify a good fit between constructed realities of respondents and the reconstructions attributed to them instead of finding the best fit between interpretation and ‘reality’. I motivate respondents to talk about relevant information and I ask more questions based on interesting answers. In this way, I have the opportunity to measure the content carefully (Bleijenbergh, 2013). To ensure creditability, I test my interpretations with that of the

respondents by means of showing the interpreted data and asking for feedback, framed in the literature as member checking. Furthermore, I ensure progressive subjectivity by means of keeping a record of initial constructions of the research and the development of my

understandings.

3.6.2 Transferability

The results of this research may be transferable to similar situations as Océ-Technologies B.V., because other organizations with the same context can be informed by the findings. Moreover, Symon & Cassell (2012) argue that transferability is close to usability and this means that the results of this research may be usable for other organizations. Subsequently, a first scientific requirement for this is that a clear and elaborated process of results is required. The second is that the user carefully needs to compare the situations of Océ-Technologies B.V. with his/her own situation.

3.6.3 Dependability

Dependability means that I demonstrate how methodological changes and shifts in

constructions have been made available. In this way the process can be evaluated carefully. Therefore, I make use of a research diary in such a way that if another researcher is reading the diary, he/she can understand my reasoning processes and will be more inclined to reach the same conclusions. Furthermore, the other researcher is then able to judge why certain decisions were made and how the research situation was achieved (Symon & Cassell, 2012).

3.6.4 Confirmability

To ensure confirmability, I present where the data came from and I show how the data is transformed into the presented findings. Therefore, I provide a detailed account of the data collection and analysis in such a way that the reader is assured that the data and

interpretations are rooted in the context and persons rather than the researcher’s imagination (Symon & Cassell, 2012). So, I provide a transparent research process, whereby insights are

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provided in for example selection procedures for respondents. Moreover, the transcripts of the interviews and the coding process will be elaborated carefully (Bleijenbergh, 2013).

3.7 Research ethics

The purpose of the interviews and the selection procedure of respondents are made evident before the interview to prevent ambiguities. This is appreciated because ambiguities could harm the outcome of interviews (Symon & Cassell, 2012). At the beginning of the interviews I emphasize that I am thankful for the opportunity to have an interview and that their inputs are appreciated. I also mention that I am interested in their opinions and that there are no good or wrong answers. Moreover, I use similar techniques, questions and even dress codes in each interview to ensure that all the respondents are treated in the same way. Furthermore, I also ensure anonymity, so that respondents are more willing to share their real feelings and thoughts. In this way they are less afraid that they will be punished if they reveal negative information about their organization. Confidentiality is also guaranteed by ensuring that the provided information will only be used for the master thesis and that only Océ-Technologies B.V. and the Radboud University read this master thesis. This is essential because

respondents might be more willing to share information if they know that the information is not shared with unauthorized people. Moreover, the transcript of the interview will be shared with the respondents, so that they have the opportunity to give feedback. Furthermore, I promise that the data is analyzed accurately according to accepted techniques in qualitative research. Finally, I make evident that the insights of this research are only used by Océ-Technologies B.V. to improve and realize a fit in the lean supply chain (Oliver, 2010).

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4. Results

This chapter will deal with results of the research and for this chapter the transcripts of the interviews are analyzed. The results section contains the perspective of Océ-Technologies B.V. and suppliers regarding fit in the lean supply chain. Furthermore, similarities and differences are identified between the perspectives of Océ-Technologies B.V. and suppliers. The dimensions are assigned to a high, medium or low fit. In table 3, there is included a model with the explicit way of reasoning for the level of fit.

Table 3

Firstly, a high fit means a fit between Océ-Technologies B.V. and suppliers on all the items of the dimension based on the average of the cases. Exceptions in specific case(s) are mentioned, but there can still be a high fit based on the pattern of all the cases. Secondly, a medium fit between Océ-Technologies B.V. and suppliers means that there is a fit on some items of the dimension, while on other items there is less fit. Finally, a low fit between Océ-Technologies B.V. and suppliers means that there is less fit on the items of the dimension, but an exception is allowed. The following hypothetical case is an example for the use of the model for

identifying the level of fit: Dimension Y consists of 3 items, whereby on 2 items, there is fit in all cases. On the third item, there is fit in 4 out of 5 cases. Therefore, based on the model, the hypothetical case contains a high fit. I have also included quotes to illustrate the choice for the level of fit. Furthermore, the codebook is displayed in a separated file, in which the transcripts are also elaborated.

4.1 Perspective of Océ-Technologies B.V.

Firstly, I provide an overview of the perspective of Océ-Technologies B.V.. Their perspective is about fit between Océ-Technologies B.V. and suppliers regarding dimensions of the lean supply chain. Below you can find table 4 with the levels of fit and furthermore an elaboration of the dimensions.

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Table 4

Fit Dimension Quote

Case 2: "The goals and strategies of Océ-Technologies B.V. are about lean manufacturing and to make it really work, all the organizations in the supply chain need to introduce lean manufacturing. Supplier 2 agrees with this point of view". Case 4: "The goals and strategies are related to long-term relationships, whereby the focus is on lean and especialy on the introduction of Kanban in the supply chain. This is in line with Supplier 4 as discussed during meetings. Furthermore, top-management of both organizations show commitment by participating in meetings regarding lean manufacturing".

Relationships management

Case 4: "We are both focusing on a long-term relationship. Furthermore, Océ-Technologies B.V. provides drawings and Supplier 4 has the opportunity to give feedback. So we involve each other early in the process of developing, designing and engineering of products as desired by both parties. Furthermore, events such as the supplier day contribute to long-term relationships as desired by both parties".

Performance management

Case 3: "The main parameter of performance of Océ-Technologies B.V. is quality. Supplier 3 is a strategic partner since they produce an essential part of the printer. This parameter is in line with Supplier 3 because they are producing high quality products. Furthermore, especially the delivery performance of Supplier 3 is monitored during meetings as agreed by both parties".

Fit Dimension Quote

Case 2: "We are reducing the lead-time of products in the supply chain by means of lean manufacturing and Supplier 2 has knowledge of lean manufacturing, so there is fit in the item lean manufacturing knowledge. However, Supplier 2 experiences difficulties in reducing the lead-time, because they do not have specific insights in the lead-time and the related capacity planning".

Case 3: "Océ-Technologies B.V. and Supplier 3 both have knowledge of lean manufacturing. Furthermore, Our organization is reducing the lead-time by means of Kanban. However, Supplier 3 experiences difficulties in reducing the lead-time, because they have functional departments without alignment".

Information sharing

Case 5: "Océ-Technologies B.V. and Supplier 5 are both willing to share relevant information. Furthermore, the shared information of Océ-Technologies B.V. is accurate, adequate and credible. However, the shared information of Supplier 5 regarding the delivery dates is not credible".

Case 3: "Océ-Technologies B.V. and Supplier 3 have an ERP-system as information technology, but these systems are not connected, since information needs to be filled in manually. Furthermore,we have not insights in each other's systems directly, while this is appreciated by both organizations".

Case 1: "We both have a different ERP-system and in the beginning there were implementation problems, but at the moment the systems perform well. However, the systems are not connected since we have not insights in each other's system automatically. We are designing a supplier portal and this can be a solution to the connectivity".

Case 4: "Océ-Technologies B.V. and Supplier 4 optimize the inbound logistics separately. An example of optimzing activities is the redesign of the procedure of received goods. However, there is no collaboration, while this is appreciated by Océ-Technologies B.V.".

Case 2: "Océ-Technologies B.V. and Supplier 2 optimize the inbound logistics by means of Kanban, but there is no real collaboration; Océ-Technologies B.V. suggests improvements and Supplier 2 follows ".

Fit Dimension Quote

Low - -Strategic alignment Medium Manufacturing management Information technology Logistics management High

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Strategic alignment

The dimension strategic alignment has two items, namely common goals and strategies and committed top-level management actions. According to the perspective of Océ-Technologies B.V., there is fit on common goals and strategies based on the analyses of the five cases. Océ-Technologies B.V. is mainly focusing on the incorporation of lean manufacturing and

especially on the introduction of Kanban in the whole supply chain. Océ-Technologies B.V. has discussed these goals and strategies regarding lean manufacturing with suppliers and based on meetings Océ-Technologies B.V. argues that suppliers agree with this focus. Besides cases 2 and 4 in table 4, case 1 provides also an example of fit on common goals and

strategies: “Océ-Technologies B.V. wants to build a long-term relationship whereby the main goal is the introduction of Kanban and this is in line with Supplier 1” (Logistic engineer 2, 2016). Furthermore, top-management of Océ-Technologies B.V. and suppliers in the supply chain show commitment by means of supporting actions such as participating in meetings for the incorporation of lean manufacturing and therefore there is fit on this item. To conclude, there is a high fit since there is a fit on goals and strategies regarding lean manufacturing and Kanban. Furthermore, there is fit on top-management strategic actions of Océ-Technologies B.V. and suppliers, except for the cases 3 and 5.

Relationship management

The dimension relationship management has three items; polices for meaningful and

distinctive relationships, focus on long-term relationships and involvement and collaboration in the development, design and engineering of parts and products. I will mainly elaborate on the third item. There are no explicit polices for meaningful and distinctive relationships, but implicitly norms and values are used as desired by both Océ-Technologies B.V. and suppliers. Moreover, both focus on a satisfied long-term relationship since they are dependent on each other and therefore there is fit. Millman and Wilson (1995) have identified five levels of dependency and Océ-Technologies B.V. places the relationships in general on the fourth level; interdependency, which refers to a high strategic intent of the buyer and seller.

Furthermore, respondents of Océ-Technologies B.V. argue that they involve suppliers early in the process of designing, developing and engineering of parts and products and they argue that this is in line with the desires of suppliers. Case 1 provides an example: “The engineers of Océ-Technologies B.V. and Supplier 1 involve each other early during meetings to discuss feedback and this is influencing the relationship positively” (Logistic engineer 1, 2016).

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However, case 3 provides an exception as illustrated in the following quote: “Supplier 3 wants to be involved earlier in the process of the development, design and engineering of parts and products, but our organization finds it hard to give more responsibility to suppliers” (Logistic engineer 3, 2016).

Events (inductive coding)

Events can be identified as an item of the dimension relationship management, because events contributes to the definition of relationship management; a long-term relationship between the organization and its suppliers. Therefore, a fit is required between Océ-Technologies B.V. and its suppliers in terms of willingness to participate in joint events. This is important, because attending an event as for example the supplier day contributes to the motivation of suppliers. Since, during this day, suppliers are awarded regarding their lean performance. Moreover, attending such days is mutually beneficial since Océ-Technologies B.V. and the related

suppliers can learn from each other regarding the incorporation of lean manufacturing and this is an important goal of the supplier day. Case 4 provides an example of the willingness to participate in joint events: “Supplier 4 is proud of the award they received and during this day relevant topics are discussed as for example the incorporation of lean manufacturing.

Therefore, we both experience the benefits of a supplier day” (Logistic engineer 4, 2016).

To conclude, there is a high fit since Océ-Technologies B.V. and suppliers have implicit polices and are both focusing on a long-term relationship. Furthermore, they involve each other early in the process of designing, developing and engineering of parts and products, whereby case 3 is an exception. Moreover, a high fit since there is fit between Océ-Technologies B.V. and its suppliers in willingness to participate in joint events.

Performance management

Performance management has two items; the main parameter of performance and monitoring of performances. According to respondents of Océ-Technologies B.V., the parameters quality, costs, flexibility and delivery performance are all important, since the departments quality, supply and logistics are responsible for these parameters. The overarching main parameter of performance of Océ-Technologies B.V. is quality since the selected suppliers are strategic partners and they produce important quality parts of the production of Océ-Technologies B.V. Suppliers are able to produce high quality products and therefore the respondents of Océ-Technologies B.V. argue that there is fit on the main parameter of performance. Case 5 is an

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exception, because according to Océ-Technologies B.V., supplier 5 is mainly focusing on costs. Furthermore, performances are monitored during weekly or monthly meetings as agreed by Océ-Technologies B.V. and suppliers. On the basis of discussions, measures will be taken to improve the earlier mentioned parameters. To conclude, there is a high fit since there is a fit on the main parameter of performance, with the exception of case 5, and there is fit between Océ-Technologies B.V. and suppliers on performance monitoring.

4.1.2 Medium fit

Manufacturing management

The dimension manufacturing management consists of three items; lead-time reduction, lean- and agile manufacturing knowledge. Respondents of Océ-Technologies B.V. argue that they are reducing the lead-time mainly by means of introducing Kanban to its suppliers and suppliers want to participate in the introduction of Kanban. However, suppliers experience difficulties in reducing the lead-time, because in some cases they lack specific insights in lead-time, as illustrated in case 2 in table 4. Adjacent to case 3 in table 4, case 5 provides also an example of difficulties regarding lead-time reduction: “Supplier 5 experiences difficulties in reducing the lead-time since a ‘good’ manager left the company who was responsible for reducing the lead-time” (Logistic engineer 5, 2016). Therefore there is less fit between Océ-Technologies B.V. and suppliers regarding lead-time reduction. Furthermore, there is a fit on lean manufacturing knowledge since Océ-Technologies B.V. supports suppliers in the development of lean manufacturing knowledge. Furthermore, some suppliers hired

consultants to gather the needed knowledge. Océ-Technologies B.V. states that suppliers have knowledge of the first four steps of lean manufacturing; specify value as defined by the customer, identifying value streams and wastes, designing production flows and pull instead of push production, but they lack step 5 and 6; incorporate continuous improvement and a real lean culture. Suppliers still need to learn more about lean manufacturing to really understand the tools instead of merely using them. There is less fit on agile manufacturing knowledge, since there are doubts about the right definition of agile and therefore agile manufacturing needs to be internalized extensively. To conclude, there is medium fit on the dimension manufacturing management, because there is fit on the item lean manufacturing knowledge, but there is less fit on the items lead-time reduction and agile manufacturing knowledge.

Information sharing

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accuracy, adequacy, and creditability of the shared information. According to the perspective of Océ-Technologies B.V., their organization and suppliers are willing to share critical

information, because the production processes of the OEM and the suppliers are dependent on each other. Moreover, they both stimulate a transparent information sharing process.

Therefore there is fit on sharing of critical information. However, there is less fit regarding the accuracy, adequacy and credibility of the shared information. Next to case 5 in table 4, case 3 provides an example of the latter and this can be clarified by the following statement: “In my opinion, the shared forecasts of Océ-Technologies B.V. are not credible since they change continuously, therefore I adapt them manually. Furthermore, Supplier 3 also has problems with providing accurate, adequate and credible information regarding delivery dates, but they are making improvements” (Logistic engineer 3, 2016). To conclude, there is a medium fit on the dimension information sharing, because there is fit between Océ-Technologies B.V. and the related suppliers in sharing of critical information, but there is less fit on the accuracy, adequacy and creditability of the shared information, especially because of the forecasts of Océ-Technologies B.V..

Information technology

The dimension information technology consists of two items, namely type of information technology and connectivity of information technologies. Océ-Technologies B.V. and the suppliers both use an ERP-system as information technology. Case 1 is an example of fit between types of information technologies: “Supplier 1 and our organization both use SAP as an ERP-system, furthermore we communicate by e-mail. This is appreciated since we

understand each other’s system” (Logistic engineer 1, 2016). Océ-Technologies B.V. and suppliers both argue that these information technologies are not connected and they have not insights in each other’s system. This is because of information security and information is shared by sending each other Excel-files and these files need to be filled into the systems manually. Therefore, they both argue the importance of a supplier portal to be more

connected. In conjunction to cases 2 and 3 in table 4, case 5 provides an example of the latter, which can be clarified by the following quote: “Our systems are not connected; everything is processed manually by means of Excel-files. However, at the moment we are setting up a supplier portal which could contribute positively to the connectivity of the information systems, but this needs to be developed more in detail” (Logistic engineer 5, 2016). To conclude, there is medium fit on the dimension information technology, because Océ-Technologies B.V. and suppliers both use an ERP-system as information technology.

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However, they both argue that the ERP-systems are not connected. Respondents of Océ-Technologies B.V. and suppliers advocate the importance of a supplier portal to be more connected by means of having real-life insights in each other’s data, but this is not the case at the moment.

Logistics management

The dimension logistics management consists of two items, namely optimizing business activities of the inbound and outbound logistics separately and collaboration in optimizing activities. According to Océ-Technologies B.V., their organization and suppliers are especially optimizing the inbound logistics. An example is illustrated in case 4, because in this case the procedure of received goods is optimized. Next to cases 2 and 4 in table 4, case 1 provides also an example of optimizing inbound logistics: “Océ-Technologies B.V. is

optimizing the inbound logistics. An example is the change in the inspection of products; quality is inspected at the supplier instead of at Océ-Technologies B.V.. In this way, there is no waste in sending defect products back to the supplier” (Logistic engineer 2, 2016). However, there is less fit on collaboration regarding optimizing the inbound and outbound logistics. Case 5 provides an example of less collaboration as illustrated in the following quote: “There is less collaboration in optimizing activities, because of the internal problems of Supplier 5; I cannot explain these problems. These problems need to be solved before

collaboration is possible” (logistic engineer 5, 2016). To conclude, there is a medium fit on the dimension logistics management, since Océ-Technologies B.V. and the related suppliers optimize the logistics separately, but there is less collaboration, while this is appreciated by Océ-Technologies B.V..

4.1.3 Low fit

According to the perspective of Océ-Technologies B.V., there are no examples of situations in which a low fit is apparent in the current relationship between Océ-Technologies B.V. and its suppliers in dimensions of the lean supply chain.

4.2 Perspective of suppliers

I also provide an overview of the perspective of suppliers. Their perspective is about fit between suppliers and Océ-Technologies B.V. in dimensions of the lean supply chain. Below you can find table 5 with the levels of fit and the reasoning of the dimensions.

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Table 5

4.2.1 High fit Strategic alignment

The dimension strategic alignment consists of two items, which are common goals and strategies and committed top-management strategic actions. The suppliers are introduced by

Fit Dimension Quote

Case 1: "The future framework factory is an important goal of our organization and this is in line with the philosophy of lean manufacturing, because it is about reducing set-up times, reducing batch sizes, reduction of stocks and the 5S model. This is in line with the goals and strategies of Océ-Technologies B.V., because they are focusing on lean manufacturing. Moreover, top-management of both organizations show commitment, since they communicate the message of lean manufacturing during meetings continuously".

Case 2: "Océ-Technologies B.V. is focusing on leagile manufacturing, whereby continuous improvement is an important pillar. Recently, we have incorporated leagile manufacturing in our organization, because of the desire of Océ-Technologies B.V. and other big clients as for example ASML".

Case 2: "We have a lead-time reduction team with engineers, planners, a production manager and logistics and quality employees. Based on their advice, we have invested in new machines and thereby we have reduced the set-up time from 1.5 hours to 4 minutes. This is in line with Océ-Technologies B.V., because they want to receive products within 4 weeks instead of 8 weeks. Furthermore, we both have lean- and agile manufacturing knowledge".

Case 5: "According to lean manufacturing, waste need to be eliminated. Waiting time is the main problem regarding the lead-time. Therefore, we are trying to reduce the waiting time with other organizations in the supply chain to create a flow. To realize this, we are investing in machines and this is in line with the philosophy of Océ-Technologies B.V.".

Performance management

Case 5: "Costs, flexibility, quality and delivery performance are always connected. Therefore we focus on having products with a high quality and a low price. This is in line with Océ-Technologies B.V. based on meetings regarding monitoring and feelings about the relationship".

Case 4: "We optimize the inbound logistics by automation of administrative activities. Furthermore, we optimize the packages. Moreover, we collaborate in optimizing the inbound logistics during VSM-sessions, especially by means of Kanban".

Case 3: "We especially optimize the inbound logistics and we have outsourced the outbound logistics, because other organizations can do this more effective and efficient. Furthermore, we have meetings with Océ-Technologies B.V. for optimizing the packages of products. At the moment we use cheap pallets of Océ-Technologies B.V., but these pallets take a lot of space and this issue is discussed during meetings".

Fit Dimension Quote

Case 3: "We already have a satisfied relationship for 50 years. However, we want to be involved earlier in the proces of the design, development and engineering of products. Océ-Technologies B.V. provides us designs and these are not always measurable. If they had involved us earlier, costs could be saved".

Case 1: "We are both focusing on a long-term relationship and therefore we are willing to share risk with each other. However, we want to be involved earlier in the process of design, development and engineering of products, because our organization has more experience and knowledge. We are involved in the last 20% of the process, but most of the costs can be saved in the first 20%".

Information technology

Case 2: "We both have an ERP-system and an engineering-system as information technologies. However, the systems are not connected. Another client provides us access to their engineering-system to give feedback. This contributes to the development of products and this can also be applicable in relation to Océ-Technologies B.V. Furthermore, a supplier portal as desired by both parties can contribute to the connectivity of the systems".

Fit Dimension Quote

Low Information sharing

Case 3: "Sometimes I need to ask for developments of the Niagara project, because Océ-Technologies B.V. does not always share information regarding product decisions and developments of projects by themselves. However, we need to know such information for our production process. Moreover, the forecasts are not credible; for example it was expected to deliver 1000 products per year, but suddenly we needed to deliver 5000 products in 3 months".

Strategic alignment Logistics management Relationships management Manufacturing management Medium High

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