Manufacturing and Supply Chain Flexibility: Building an Integrative Conceptual Model Through Systematic Literature Review and Bibliometric Analysis

  • Marta Pérez-Pérez
  • Canan Kocabasoglu-Hillmer
  • Ana María Serrano-BediaEmail author
  • María Concepción López-Fernández
Original Research


The purpose of this study is twofold: first, to establish the current themes on the topic of manufacturing and supply chain flexibility (MSCF), assess their level of maturity in relation to each other, identify the emerging ones and reflect on how they can inform each other, and second, to develop a conceptual model of MSCF that links different themes connect and highlight future research opportunities. The study builds on a sample of 222 articles published from 1996 to 2018 in international, peer-reviewed journals. The analysis of the sample involves two complementary approaches: the co-word technique to identify the thematic clusters as well as their relative standing and a critical reflection on the papers to explain the intellectual content of these thematic clusters. The results of the co-word analysis show that MSCF is a dynamic topic with a rich and complex structure that comprises five thematic clusters. The value chain, capability and volatility clusters showed research topics that were taking a central role in the discussion on MSCF but were not mature yet. The SC purchasing practices and SC planning clusters involved work that was more focused and could be considered more mature. These clusters were then integrated in a framework that built on the competence–capability perspective and identified the major structural and infrastructural elements of MSCF as well as its antecedents and consequences. This paper proposes an integrative framework helping managers keep track the various decisions they need to make to increase flexibility from the viewpoint of the entire value chain.


Co-word technique Manufacturing flexibility Review Supply chain flexibility 



The authors are grateful to anonymous reviewers and Editor-in-Chief for their suggestions during review process.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author(s) declare no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.


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Copyright information

© Global Institute of Flexible Systems Management 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Business Administration DepartmentUniversity of CantabriaSantanderSpain
  2. 2.Faculty of Management, Cass Business SchoolCity University of LondonLondonUK

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