Performance Improvement Through Supply Chain Collaboration: Conventional Wisdom Versus Empirical Findings
Supply chain collaboration is claimed to yield significant improvements in multiple performance areas: it is believed to reduce costs, to increase quality, to improve delivery, to augment flexibility, to cut procurement cost and lead time, and to stimulate innovativeness. Yet empirical support for the relationship between supply chain collaboration and performance improvement is scarce. Our research adds to this emerging stream of research by providing empirical evidence from the engineering/assembly industries, based on data collected through the International Manufacturing Strategy Survey (IMSS) in Europe. The study reveals that supply chain collaboration is no guarantee for success: performance improvement is only weakly related to the extent of collaboration with customers or suppliers. However, strong improvers in multiple performance areas are found to be heavily engaged in collaboration projects with customers and suppliers, through extensive information exchange and higher levels of structural coordination.
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