منبع مفهومی و عملکرد مدیریت تامین کنندگان کلیدی: یک مطالعه کیفی چند زوجی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21250||2013||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||14018 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 42, Issue 2, February 2013, Pages 189–201
In response to a growing interest in key supplier management (KSM) among business practitioners and academics, this study aims to identify the conceptual locus and the functionality of KSM with reference to the components of a business relationship. A multi-dyadic case study was carried out focusing on KSM in relationships between a multinational electricity-distribution company and its nine key suppliers. The KSM system turned out to be a component of the technical setting of the relationship structuring the interaction, but also more widely guided the joint developmental means for improving value creation. It acts as a channel through which the buyer's and the supplier's goals are implemented in building an infrastructure for effective performance within and outside the key supplier relationship. Further qualitative research would enhance understanding of KSM in its organizational and inter-organizational contexts in terms of defining constructs and their interrelations to be tested in quantitative research.
The notion of “key supplier management” (KSM) seldom appears in the literature (see e.g., Pardo, Missirilian, Portier, & Salle, 2011), although the management of suppliers and supplier relationships has been in focus in different subject areas. KSM could be considered part of supply chain management (SCM), which nowadays is an umbrella concept embracing various broad streams of research (Hunt and Davis, 2008 and Sheth et al., 2009) dealing with the optimization of the combined efforts of many upstream and downstream organizations, and of organizational functions and processes (Christopher, 1998, Mentzer et al., 2008 and Stock et al., 2010). In a narrow sense SCM could refer to the buyer's purchasing activities, and more broadly to the whole chain of actors converting natural raw materials into value for end users (see Harland, 1996, New, 1997 and Tan, 2001). There have been tremendous changes in the business landscape since the advent of SCM, and recent decades have imposed new demands on the concept both as a business practice and as an academic discipline. The managerial focus on core competences (see Prahalad & Hamel, 1990) has increased the need for companies to source complementary activities from outside their borders, and has made the supply side increasingly important ( Reitzig & Wagner, 2010). Along with this development, purchasing has evolved from a clerical function to a strategic orientation in supplier relationship management (SRM) ( Axelsson and Wynstra, 2002, Cousins and Spekman, 2003, Gadde and Håkansson, 1994 and Kraljic, 1983). The current literature refers to SRM as the setting up, development, stabilization and dissolution of relationships with in-suppliers, as well as the monitoring of out-suppliers, all with a view to creating and enhancing value (see Moeller, Fassnacht, & Klose, 2006). SRM builds on the idea that suppliers vary in importance to the buyer. Some of them are key suppliers with whom to integrate and adapt activities, build and maintain complementary competences, and deepen the relationship in the direction of truly collaborative value co-creation (see Ivens et al., 2009a and Vargo and Lusch, 2004). Bulk suppliers constitute another category, the interaction and relationships being kept more distant in order to create and maintain optimum rivalry among them and keep up the pressure (see Dyer et al., 1998 and Gadde and Snehota, 2000). Despite the strong strategic orientation inherent in SRM, previous research has almost exclusively treated it as a mirror image of customer relationship management (CRM) (Sheth et al., 2009). The vast numbers of studies on buyer–seller relationships do not specifically take the management of suppliers into account. SRM-specific studies are scattered and focus mainly on the operational issues of time, cost, quality, and the measurement of supplier performance, and on the technical tools that facilitate interaction between buyers and suppliers (e.g., Axelsson and Wynstra, 2002, Gadde and Snehota, 2000 and Ryals and Humphries, 2007). The research thus far does not facilitate the understanding and conceptualization of SRM as intentional behavior or managerial activity (see Moeller et al., 2006). Much of the literature presents static purchasing portfolios classifying purchases and suppliers (see Gelderman and van Weele, 2002, Kraljic, 1983, Olsen and Ellram, 1997 and Persson and Håkansson, 2007), but the comprehensive perspective is missing in terms of investigating SRM as an aspect of organizational behavior and value creation that strongly affects organizational performance (see Emberson and Storey, 2006 and Pardo et al., 2011). Nor does the current literature shed any light on issues such as how to manage supplier relationships over time, or how to balance a short-term price-decreasing attitude through arms-length relationships with an orientation to build collaborative partnerships that fully involve suppliers in product development and design, and make full use of their skills, expertise and capabilities (Cousins & Spekman, 2003). This deficit in the comprehensive, strategic-level understanding of SRM inhibits companies from appropriately managing and unlocking the potential residing in suppliers as part of their business. Two premium journals have recently targeted the above-mentioned gap in the literature. In 2009 Industrial Marketing Management published a special issue on “Organizing and Integrating Marketing and Purchasing in Business Markets” (see Ivens, Pardo, & Tunisini, 2009), and similarly in 2010 the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science published a special issue “exploring the relationship between marketing and supply chain management” (Mentzer & Gundlach, 2010). Both of these special issues are devoted to supply-side-related strategic issues and activities. The implication is that the management focus in this area is moving from the buyer–supplier interface towards strategic supply–demand networks of interrelated relationships. Thus, in response to recent developments in business practice and academic research, this study focuses on key supplier management (KSM), which is a specific area of supply and supplier-relationship management. The aim is to illustrate, by means of an empirical case study, the challenging nature of the KSM phenomenon emanating from the various components of contextually embedded business relationships, and thus to reveal its conceptual locus and functionality. We use the term KSM system in the empirical study to refer to all the defined activities and procedures that are intentionally used as techniques for managing the content and context of value creation within the key supplier relationship (cf. Pardo et al., 2011) between the case companies — the European Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) and its nine key suppliers. The KSM system thus represents an empirical account of the KSM phenomenon. In setting out the theoretical background below we build up a theoretical framework based on the interaction and network approach as applied to the KSM context. The interaction and network approach provides a system-level account of the dynamics among various interlinked actors, and facilitates understanding of the structural and processual elements of the relationships as well as of the behavior of single actors within the relationships and networks (see e.g., Anderson et al., 1994 and Håkansson and Snehota, 1995). The approach thus supports the construction of a framework for the empirical study of KSM in terms of identifying the conceptual locus and revealing the key functionality aspects. The framework, building on the conceptually well-established interaction and network approach, describes the conceptual landscape of KSM in a relatively simple but nonetheless comprehensive manner, thus facilitating the combination of theory-driven deductive and data-driven inductive analysis. The third section describes the methodological underpinnings of the study, and the pathway from the theory via empirical implementation to the results. The fourth section presents the empirical case and its results. The conclusion and managerial implications are discussed in the final section.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The current paper continues the work of Pardo et al. (2011), who see KSM not only as the activity of manipulating the resource ties of a relationship but also as a layer within the relationship between buyer and supplier. We similarly focus the level of scrutiny on the relationship with a view to defining the KSM phenomenon, its functionality and the related challenges accordingly. The current study contributes in describing and defining the conceptual locus of the KSM phenomenon with reference to the key supplier relationship between the buyer and the supplier. Accordingly, KSM activity could be conceptualized as interplay between a formal KSM system and an interaction process involving elements of exchange, coordination and adaptation, as well as balancing the short-term and long-term goals within and outside the focal KSM relationship. According to the findings of the empirical study, the formal KSM system was linked primarily to the technical setting of the key supplier relationships, i.e. to the activity links and resource ties that refer to technological (information systems), procedural (pre-determined communication practices, supplier-performance measurement system) or legal (contracts) arrangements, the nature of which further reflect the social setting. However, integrated into the buyer's intentional KSM activities these components comprise a system that not only facilitates business exchange but also stimulates and steers the adaptation and coordination activities. In this sense the KSM system is seen as a higher-order technical setting: a structure that promotes change in the relationships and within the different components in the set direction. As the focal case study shows, developing a well-functioning KSM system is a very challenging task: after several years of iterative development most of the key suppliers, and even EEDC itself, are still not satisfied with the current system. The challenges in the big picture seem to relate to the difficulties in recognizing and discussing the goals within and outside the relationship, and regarding the short-term and long-term orientation. In this sense the KSM system did not function as a communication forum that would have ensured the organized consideration of the managerial aspects of the relationship, and open discussion on the buyers' and the suppliers' goals. The optimal emphasis has to be found between and within the parties. This is not only about the focal relationship. There should be more wide-ranging consideration of the internal resources and value creation of the companies within the dyadic KSM relationship and other relationships, and of the interrelatedness between the two. The effects of one party's actions are always subject to the perceptions of the other party, and thus the better the companies know each other the better the relationship functions. The next step in the relationships in question is to define the mutual short- and long-term goals that sketch where the organizations are going together. It is then a question of defining the framework in order to reach the goals effectively. What are the parties' roles and liabilities? What kinds of activities, resources and organization do they require? This discussion is still slowly evolving. The managerial implications of the study derive from the empirical description of a real-life KSM system and the theoretical discussion. The system in question is in use in a specific empirical setting involving an electricity-distribution company and various service suppliers, and this as such sets limitations on its direct application to any other context. The aim is to facilitate effective and efficient value creation within the key supplier relationship, which means that the system should act as a channel through which the buyer's and the supplier's goals are implemented in building an infrastructure for effective performance. The KSM system should guide and support the service-production process in meeting set goals in at least two ways. Firstly, it should guide the operational-level acts as well as the administrative functions on the supplier's side. In this the buyer and supplier need to jointly determine the key areas of value creation in the relationship, and how KSM could improve performance in these areas. Furthermore, the roles of the buyer and supplier should be considered in terms of performance: to what extent the buyer affects the supplier's service production by determining how the service is produced instead of determining the specifications for the expected outcome. The key to success is to define the various areas of expertise and to determine how they best contribute to service production through the KSM system. It could be concluded from the study that the buyer should intentionally learn to overcome the structural inertia that prevents it from giving responsibility to the supplier. Secondly, the system should guide the development of the technical setting of the relationship in order to support the service process. In this sense KSM is not only about action between dyadic partners, but should also take into account the actions through which the parties could jointly introduce performance-enhancing elements into the relationship. In order to achieve success in this area the buyer must openly give the supplier responsibility for aspects related to the development of the service process, which it knows best. KSM is not only a buyer's management tool, but is also a joint developmental means for improving value creation in the relationship from the perspectives of both parties. It follows from this that the long-term and short-term goals and expectations, as well as the instrumental use of the relationship to serve goals in areas outside the focal key supplier relationship, should be openly discussed and agreed between the parties. In the current study the conflicting views regarding KSM actions and some parts of the system were mostly attributable to problems in communication. The only way to form a solid basis for KSM activity in the long term is through open communication and a fair division of the benefits and risks — no matter how challenging they are in terms of the contradiction that derives from balancing long-term and short-term goals within and outside the KSM relationships. The focal study opens up some avenues for further research. Firstly, explorative qualitative research would enhance understanding of KSM activities. We defined the conceptual locus, but further study is evidently needed in order to build a sharper view of the phenomenon and its position with reference to other organizational elements inside and outside the key supplier relationship. For example, the current research did not focus on KSM with reference to the internal activities of the buyer and the supplier. Its conceptual locus and linkages with other organizational activities, processes and structures thus need to be defined in order to shed light on KSM from the organizational viewpoint as a managerial tool or orientation. Secondly, in order to strengthen the viewpoint of the current study it would be useful to continue scrutinizing the KSM phenomenon with reference to the inter-organizational and network landscape. This type of research should aim at more fine-grained analyses and conceptualizations of KSM activity not only as a dyadic phenomenon but also as linked to various inter-company actions and processes. Specific focus points include the disruptive and vitalizing effects on KSM activity that arise in its interplay with other activities and processes in the inter-organizational space. Qualitative studies would contribute in terms of identifying the building blocks of KSM and its links to other organizational and inter-organizational phenomena. It would then be possible to form constructs and describe their interrelations to be tested in subsequent quantitative research. These studies could benefit from the research on customer relationship management (CRM) (see e.g., Reinartz, Krafft, & Hoyer, 2004) with a view to creating settings that illustrate the linkages between the defined constructs related to KSM and, further, to organizational performance. Finally further studies should scrutinize the phenomenon in different empirical contexts. The resulting rich and perhaps partly contradictory findings from such studies would serve to theorize the conceptual locus, and would reveal other aspects affecting KSM functionality.