مسائلی در انتخاب شرکای متحد عرضه کننده کالا
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|13001||2000||23 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Operations Management, Volume 18, Issue 3, April 2000, Pages 279–301
Supplier alliances have been widely touted but there are probably a limited number of situations where they are applicable. This paper develops a model of important factors that define which suppliers offer the best choices for pursuing alliance-like relationships. Some factors relate to the technology of the goods or services being sourced; others relate to the ability to develop mutual goodwill trust with the targeted supplier. The model was developed through a combination of extensive literature reviews and a series of interviews with managers in 15 manufacturing and service firms.
With the trend to outsource more and more of the products' value-added content, strategic sourcing is growing in its importance in most firms. With the popularity of concentrating on the firm's core competencies (Prahalad and Hamel, 1990), increasing proportions of sales revenue are likely to continue to be absorbed by purchases of materials and services. At the same time, the supply management field is seeing the gradual shift toward some different ways of managing the supply base, spurred by the effectiveness of the supply chain management practices in leading Japanese manufacturing industries. Major elements of this approach have been to consolidate the supplier base and develop cooperative (as opposed to adversarial) relationships with suppliers as well as to push firms to develop close alliance relationships with key suppliers. The normative literature has urged firms to adopt this latter practice, although some academics (e.g., Ramsay, 1996; Cox, 1997) have denied the universal applicability of supplier alliances or partnerships for all firms. Managers may be forgiven if they were to believe that such long-term supplier alliances were held as exemplars for all outsourcing arrangements, since several prominent reports (e.g., Dyer, 1997) point to their effectiveness. Undoubtedly, there is some controversy about the adoption of supplier partnership relationships and, outside of a small number of industries, relatively few western businesses have developed strong, strategic supplier alliances to date. As part of a long-range research program into technology and supply chain management, we conducted a series of interviews with managers to better understand the problems they faced in the changing environment for strategic sourcing. The interviews pointed to some widely faced issues about moving toward different forms of supplier relationships. For many of the managers, the motivation for adopting non-traditional supplier relationships was not clear; a few had been actively adopting new approaches to managing some of their suppliers but were finding it difficult to determine which suppliers should be targeted for special relationships. Normative advice from the academic and practitioner literature has sometimes been contradictory, with some reports (e.g., Dyer, 1997) strongly recommending them and others (e.g., Ramsay, 1996) questioning their purpose. While the issues surrounding supplier alliances have been discussed in the purchasing and marketing fields, they have been less frequently addressed in the Operations Management (OM) field. The research was motivated by our uncertainty about where supplier alliances were applicable. A substantial literature focused on successful supplier alliances has yet to develop. The marketing literature has discussed “buyer–seller relationships” and developed a set of constructs (e.g., Wilson, 1995) related to relationship success or failure. The strategy field has embraced the concept of supplier alliances and has focused on the decisions about what should be outsourced (e.g., Quinn and Hilmer, 1994) and with what kind of supplier relationship (Welch and Nayak, 1992). Most of these articles are normative, with advice drawn from the authors' experience in the field. A limited number of empirical studies have been conducted. Ellram (1995)and Ellram and Hendrick (1995)surveyed managers about self-reported supplier “partnerships”. More recently, Lambert et al. (1996)conducted field studies of supplier alliances. These field studies furnished findings about both what managers saw as the bases for targeting the right supplier alliance partners, as well as factors that appeared to influence their success. Table 1 shows the disparity in the findings. The first part (Table 1A) lists normative advice about which suppliers should be targeted for supplier alliances or partnerships. The primary point of agreement is that the potential partner should not be one capable of integrating forward to become a competitor. The second part (Table 1B) lists the drivers for targeting particular suppliers for alliances, according to managers. Here, cost efficiencies are the only common ground. The third part (Table 1C) arrays the factors and variables that affect alliance development, according to empirical studies. (The variables listed for Wilson (1995)are those he believed were the most significant in the early stage of alliance development; those listed for Ellram (1995)are the top five factors reported by managers in buyer firms.) Here, the common element was the importance of buyer–supplier goal mutuality in fostering successful partnerships. Our field investigation sought to make more sense of this information and to develop a more unified view of the factors that need to be considered in selecting supplier alliance partners. This paper lays out our model of the factors that define the subset of suppliers with which alliance relationships have the most potential. The model was developed by iterating between intensive field interviews of managers in 15 firms and our study of the literature in a variety of disciplines. The interviews and examples we saw in the field helped to clarify for us some of the factors that supported the development of alliance relationships with particular suppliers. We found that the selection of potential supplier alliance partners was more complicated than it is depicted in many of the schemas in the literature. Our model shows that there are two primary sets of factors. The first set is a combination of the nature of the supplier and of the input it provides (which establishes whether it is an appropriate target). The second set determines the level of trust that exist between the supplier and the firm (which determines whether the alliance relationship would be feasible). Taken individually, each set of factors is necessary but not sufficient to warrant the cost and risks of establishing an alliance. The need to fulfil both conditions means that there may be only a small subset of the supplier base that warrant consideration as supplier alliance partners. In the next sections, we provide some background about the changing standards within the supply chain management field and the rationale for developing closer inter-firm relations with suppliers. We then describe our methodology for exploring this question. We outline the factors that we postulate have strong impacts on the advisability of selecting potential supplier alliance partners. The fieldwork underscored the importance of inter-firm trust in this area. We discuss the role of trust and, because it is probably an unfamiliar one for many OM researchers, we expand on this topic somewhat. We then discuss what else needs to be done to develop our understanding in this area.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Conducting in-depth interviews provides a wealth of information that cannot be gained through broad surveys. Derived from the literature and field observations from a limited number of sites, our model represents a starting point for further investigation. Its value depends on validation through a wider set of observations. Testing the model is made unusually difficult because we need to get matched pairs of responses from both buyer and supplier firms. Buyer firm representatives must report on the desirability space variables (those concerned with the technology and the supplier's ability to become a competitor). The corresponding suppliers must provide information about their views of alliance advantages and assess past buyer behavior that might build or limit goodwill trust development. Both buyer and supplier representatives would have to provide input to assess the level of goodwill trust within their firms. Further complicating model testing is the size of the sample needed, especially considering that the sample frame would include primarily larger firms that are more likely to be pursuing supplier alliances. We refer to the dependent variable as “potential for beneficial alliance” because, first, as pointed out above, having this set of antecedent conditions does not guarantee that an alliance would be pursued and, second, there are relatively few working alliances to use as a gauge of outcomes. At this stage, we see it as far more practical to explore developing alliances, as well as established ones, as the basis for comparing antecedent conditions. We use the term “beneficial” alliance to distinguish mutually beneficial supplier relationships from those that may be more exploitative, based on one party's power over the other. The potential for the relationship reflects the buyer representative's judgment of the gains — in terms of improved quality, cost, development speed, information and support — that are likely to be realized from the relationship, compared to maintaining a conventional relationship. Asking both buyer and supplier respondents about their projections of their relationship's potential should indicate whether it will continue, diminish or perhaps deepen over time. Variable measurement will rely on multi-item scales that assess the respondent's perceptions. This is the most meaningful way to measure them since decisions to pursue alliance relationships will be made largely on managers' perceptions of the relevant conditions. Most of these scales will have to be developed, since there are no tested scales available. (There are scales already developed for measuring trust (Cummings and Bromiley, 1996) but not for assessing trust in long-established inter-firm relationships.) Measuring trust is particularly problematic, since direct questioning may not elicit truthful answers. Trust scales will have to rely on statements that reflect trusting behavior or evidence that the respondent harbors goodwill in the other party. Trust measurement is also complicated by distinctions between trust at the individual level and trust at the organizational level. Questionnaires can determine whether the firms display trust through specific kinds of trust-building activities. However, questions that tap the respondent's perceptions may indicate that individual's unique view of the other party's trustworthiness. Although a survey would be targeted at senior managers familiar with key suppliers, those individuals' perceptions may not reflect the views of the critical decision makers. Thus, measures of trust-building activities are likely more valid for gauging trust in predicting relationship development. In addition to the development of the model, three main findings came to light through this investigation that add to our understanding of supplier alliances. First, by examining numerous close buyer–supplier relationships, we found that true supplier alliances may be less common than self-report surveys (e.g., Ellram, 1995) indicate. By using Sako's three characteristics (informal technology transfer, broad communication channels and risk sharing without prior negotiations) as criteria, we found only a few supplier relationships that warranted being called alliances, despite wide use of the term by both supplier and buyer firms. However, we found numerous examples of supplier relationships that were operating well beyond the traditional arm's length mode, reflecting different degrees of alliance. Second, we note that firms need to develop a longer-term perspective about their technological requirements if they are going to outsource technology through longer-term supplier relationships. The movement to form longer-term supplier relationships has to be reconciled with the increased speed of obsolescence in many fields. We foresee a growing need for firms to connect technological forecasting with supplier management, as is already the practice in successful high-technology firms. Third, our field investigation allowed us to synthesize and add to the work from several fields to produce a single model. Past work has tended to look at one or two factors in isolation. We found that several factors might work in concert to greatly restrict the likelihood of strong supplier alliances developing. The model is designed to allow its assumptions to be tested empirically, providing the essential avenue for theory verification and development. At this time, we are preparing a mail survey that will be distributed to North American firms to gather the information necessary for this next step. Our study points out a number of areas where further research would be very valuable to managers. Managers should be concerned about gauging (1) how much risk they perceive in a particular level of alliance with a supplier, (2) their level of trust in the supplier and (3) the supplier's level of trust in the firm. Scales could be developed to help managers judge the first two items; these could be administered to firm members who deal with a particular supplier to gain a sense of their trust level in the target supplier and compare that to levels in Sako's hierarchy. However, it may be much more difficult to measure how much a supplier trusts the firm. A firm would have difficulty getting reliable responses from supplier representatives if they were asked directly about how much the firm was trusted. The problem may be particularly pronounced if the suppliers did not trust the firm: How likely would it be that the suppliers would answer truthfully if the untrustworthy customer were to ask them to rate its trustworthiness? There are also operational issues of matching measures of relationship intention with levels of buyer and supplier trust. These are just some of the challenges we face in taking the next steps in learning more about strategic supplier alliances.