Developing the Supply Chain Capabilities of Chinese Small and Medium Size Textile & Apparel Manufacturers with E-business Initiatives

  • Fang Shao

Student thesis: Phd


Chinese small and medium textile & apparel manufacturers are facing dynamic environments, industry upgrading, and escalating global competitions. Compared with large manufacturers, they have relatively limited resources to access advanced technologies and formulate strategies. To thrive and identify opportunities in such surroundings, SMEs must design and implement a more competitive strategy based on new initiatives. They should consider utilising e-business to manage their business and understand how e-business affects their supply chain capabilities. E-business can facilitate information flow speed and manage business transactions in the supply chain, so the study proposes that a more advanced e-business utilisation level should reduce order fulfilment time and accelerate supply chain efficiency. This research uses a mixed method to collect and analyse data. The study designs conceptual models to represent different levels of e-business utilisation in the textile & apparel supply chain based on literature review, adopts agent based modelling (ABM) to simulate an apparel order fulfilment under different scenarios to collect data, and conducts statistical methods to analyse the data. All the model designs and ABM simulations are based on the interview results with SMEs. The research findings indicate that an advanced e-business engagement level brings less order fulfilment time and higher supply chain efficiency. SMEs need to realise the value of e-business, utilise appropriate e-business and consider the potential benefits and the investment costs before making the e-business strategy. Research objectives are reached with the aid of the literature review and the analysis results of all the work undertaken. This study targets on small and medium textile & apparel manufacturers in China and provides practical implications to utilise e-business. The thesis implements the simulations incrementally to study an apparel order fulfilment process in the textile & apparel supply chain, provides a theoretical template for further research of e-business utilisation in supply chain management. The method can be used to identify the effects of e-business engagement on different aspects of the manufacturing supply chain.
Date of Award1 Aug 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorHsin-Ju Tsai (Supervisor)

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