Supplier flexibility in the order-to-delivery process – a customer perspective
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2021

Flexibility is one enabler of efficient use of resources, and is therefore an antecedent to sustainability. The purpose of this article is to identify supplier flexibility variables in, and related to, the order-to-delivery (OTD) process and categorize them into a framework, followed by empirically exploring the framework.

A perception-based survey was sent to Swedish purchasing managers. 289 responses were received. After descriptive gap analysis, exploratory factor analysis was applied to structure the responses into factors. This formed the basis for hierarchical linear regression analysis, explaining supplier flexibility.

A conceptual framework, specifying supplier flexibility into volume, delivery and information exchange dimensions and relating these dimensions to the OTD process, was developed. Significant negative gaps between actual and demanded volume flexibility and delivery flexibility were identified, while significant positive gaps were found for information exchange flexibility. The factor analysis revealed three factors. The regression analysis verified that OTD-related information exchange flexibility and OTD-related volume and delivery flexibility explain the variation in OTD-specific flexibility, and are important antecedents for supplier flexibility in the OTD process. Research limitations/implications A contribution to research is the framework – with defined, related and empirically validated flexibility types.

The study proposes a perception-based way to capture supplier flexibility in the OTD process, which is of practical relevance when evaluating suppliers. Identifying, conceptualizing and capturing types of supplier flexibility in the OTD process is new related to academic literature. The wide empirical study, mapping supplier flexibility gaps, is unique in its focus.

order-to-delivery process


Supplier flexibility



Helena Forslund


Patrik Jonsson

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Supply and Operations Management

Stig Arne Mattsson


International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management

0960-0035 (ISSN)

Vol. 51 1 4-24


Annan maskinteknik

Transportteknik och logistik







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