Purpose — Collaboration has been referred to as the driving force behind effective supply chain management and may be the ultimate core capability. However, there is a fairly widespread belief that few firms have truly capitalized on its potential. A study was undertaken to assess the current level of supply chain collaboration and identify best practice. Design/methodology/approach — Supply chain executives provided insights into collaboration. Survey data, personal interviews, and a review of the collaboration literature were used to develop a conceptual model profiling behavior, culture, and relational interactions associated with successful collaboration. Findings — Positive collaboration-related outcomes include enhancements to efficiency, effectiveness, and market positions for the respondents' firms. Research limitations/implications — The small sample size represents a limitation, but is balanced by the quality of the respondent base and their expertise/experience. Another limitation involves securing input from only one party to the collaborative relationships. Developing a longitudinal study would help determine how collaboration-related factors and relationships change over time. Practical implications — Several respondents mentioned a “blurring of lines” between organizations contrasted to an “us vs them” approach. This was expressed in a number of different ways — treating the arrangements as if they both were part of the same operation, treating them as co-owned, and employing a new focus on the best common solution. Many of the respondents indicating rewards are not distributed evenly still admitted they get enough “out of” the collaborative arrangements to make it worthwhile. Originality/value — Real-world practical experiences are recounted involving many of today's top companies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management