Title: How can supply chain managers classify and differentiate supply chain partners?

Authors: Trond Hammervoll, Kjell Toften

Addresses: Department of Business Administration and Social Sciences, Harstad University College, NO-9480 Harstad, Norway. ' Nofima; University of Tromso, P.O. Box 6122, NO-9291 Tromso, Norway

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to explore how supply chain managers can classify and differentiate supply chain partners. Based on a literature review, the authors studied a typology that distinguishes between four relationship types: logistics integration, unilateral learning, unilateral development and bilateral learning. This paper reports the first empirical test of this typology. Fourteen in-depth personal and structured interviews with key informants in Supply Chain Relationships (SCRs) in various industries were used as the data collection method. The finding was that few firms have developed strategies for differentiating between their supply chain partners. To remedy this, it is suggested that the first step should be to decide which cooperative activities to strive for, and which relationship types are required. The second step is to determine the required focus of coordination and to assess how to develop the required operational and/or organisational linkages to the partner firm. We also discuss implications for further research.

Keywords: supply chain management; SCM; value creation logic; segmentation; cooperation; supply chain partners; logistics integration; unilateral learning; unilateral development; bilateral learning; supply chain relationships; differentiation; supply chain coordination.

DOI: 10.1504/IJNVO.2010.031213

International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, 2010 Vol.7 No.2/3, pp.112 - 131

Published online: 26 Jan 2010 *

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