Supply Chain Collaboration to create a competitive advantage
Conventional wisdom among practitioners holds that supply chain collaboration yields significant performance improvements. It is also what many text books on supply chain management preach. Some even consider it a prerequisite for future competitive performance: according to Poirier and Bauer (2001), “future success no longer belongs to a single firm ... The future belongs to networks of supply.”
However, not all stories of supply chain partnerships are equally successful. A recent study conducted by Supply Chain Management Review and CSC (2004) observes that, although 44% of the companies have functions installed specifically for supplier and customer collaboration, managers do not really understand how to achieve supply chain collaboration. Moreover, the managers indicate that supply chain collaboration is seen as a risky undertaking. Most initiatives fail or appear less promising than expected – and only about 35% of the supply chain collaboration initiatives turn out to be moderately successful.
So, two questions arise: How do we know when supply chain collaboration will lead to success? And how do we manage the relationship so that it turns into a successful one?
In this brief article, we have summarised some of the results of a doctoral research study in which we compared successful and unsuccessful supply chain collaborations in order to identify the characteristics of the successful ones.
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