Title: Competing through cooperation in international supply networks: a case study from the clothing industry

Authors: Vasco Eiriz, Joao S. Areias

Addresses: University of Minho, School of Economics and Management, Gualtar, 4710–057 Braga, Portugal. ' University of Minho, School of Economics and Management, Gualtar, 4710–057 Braga, Portugal

Abstract: This article focuses on the competitive and cooperative issues that arise from the management of interdependence within international supply networks. When small and medium manufacturers are dependent on a major retailer, their capability in allocating resources to build a competitive position is limited. Firms in this dependent position need to develop and implement strategies that enable them to deal with such dependence. The article presents a case study developed within the Portuguese clothing industry and explores evidence on how several small and medium manufacturers develop their relationships with Zara, a major international retailer. The case was studied based on document analysis and data gathered through semi-structured interviews with several clothing manufacturers. The case identifies factors that influence the development of collaboration in international relationships between manufacturers and retailers, and discusses how manufacturers integrated in the supply network manage their interdependence and develop their competitive capacity through a cooperative approach.

Keywords: supply chain cooperation; industrial networks; competitive advantage; interdependence; clothing industry; garment industry; apparel industry; international supply networks; Portugal; supply chain management; SCM; SMEs; small and medium-sized enterprises; international retailers.

DOI: 10.1504/IJGSB.2008.017289

International Journal of Globalisation and Small Business, 2008 Vol.2 No.3, pp.244 - 261

Published online: 22 Feb 2008 *

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