Supply Chain Collaboration: A Conceptual Maturity Model

Supply Chain Collaboration: A Conceptual Maturity Model

Goknur Arzu Akyuz (Department of Industrial Engineering, Atilim University, Ankara, Turkey), Guner Gursoy (Yeditepe University, Istanbul, Turkey) and Nes'e Celebi (Atilim University, Ankara, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5202-6.ch210

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We live in an era of global competitiveness with supply chain (SC) focus, and within the dynamics and global nature of today’s economy where competition is no longer between organizations but between supply chains, coordination and collaboration become key to effectiveness, agility and competitiveness (Kim, 2006; Trkman, McCormack, & Ladeira, 2010; Akyuz & Gursoy, 2010; Cao & Zang, 2013; Lehoux, D’Mourse, & Langevin, 2013). Collaboration in the context of SC is an amorphous meta concept that has been interpreted in many different ways by both organizations and individuals, academic definitions focusing on the business-to-business (B2B) Internet-based technologies while practical definitions having a wider scope (Wang, 2006). In this chapter, the confusion, interchangeable and ambiguous use of collaboration terminology is tried to be enlightened via literature taxonomy and also a collaboration maturity model is introduced.

Arshinder and Deshmukh (2008) list collaboration definitions in their study as: (a) joint planning, joint product development, mutual exchange of information and integrated information systems, cross coordination on several levels in the companies on the network, long-term cooperation and fair sharing of risks and benefits, (b) two or more independent companies working jointly to plan and execute supply chain operations with greater success than when acting in isolation, (c) a win-win arrangement to provide improved business success for both parties, (d) a strategic response to the challenges that arise from the dependencies. It is evident that the concept is multi-dimensional, going much beyond simple transactional integrity among systems and it is well-proven to be directly related with various ideas such as SC cooperation, integrity and visibility. The related literature also provides very strong support regarding the benefits accruing from collaboration as well as positive correlation with SC performance, and the critical capabilities such as agility and flexibility (Akyuz & Gursoy, 2010; Sanders, 2007; Arshinder & Desmukh, 2008; Cao & Zang 2013; Wiengarten, Humpreys, McKittrick, & Fynes, 2013; Kim & Nettesine, 2013).

The collaboration concept is explored with the related concepts and terminologies in the literature. In the next section, the relationships and precedence among collaboration-related terminologies, and existing maturity models are discussed by highlighting the ambiguities and interchangeable use. Motivated by the lack of consensus on terminology and the maturity stages of the existing maturity models, a conceptual model is developed via a mapping of the model stages onto various SC processes. The conceptual maturity model provides process-based, staged and precise descriptions of chain-level evolution of collaboration for SC researchers.



The SC collaboration literature clearly highlights that it is closely interrelated to the terms of communication, cooperation, coordination, integrity, partnership, visibility, trust and synchronization. The terms of “cooperation,” “coordination,” “collaboration” and “integrity” are interchangeably used and sometimes refer to different evolutionary stages along a continuum of dependency among SC partners. The terminology of “intra- and inter-organizational coordination” is preferred while discussing the opportunities of the Internet-based information systems (Akyuz & Rehan, 2009; Chen & Chen, 2005; Arshinder & Deshmukh, 2008; Kelle & Akbulut, 2005).

Key Terms in this Chapter

External Integrity: The degree to which a firm can structure its organisational practices, procedures and behaviours into manageable processes across SC partners.

Maturity Model: Staged model describing different evolutionary levels towards improvement and better capabilities.

Collaboration: Ability of two or more partners to engage in joint activities at strategic, tactical and operational levels to plan and execute SC operations towards a win-win agreement with greater success than when acting in isolation.

Supply Chain (SC): Complex networked system of organizations, people, technology, activities, information and resources for moving a product or service from suppliers to customers. Includes channel partners, which can be suppliers, intermediaries, third-party service providers and customers, engaging in planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing, procurement, conversion, and all logistics management activities.

Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) System: Integrated management information system towards planning, execution and control of all enterprise resources, including money and human resources.

Internal Integrity: The degree to which a firm can structure its organisational practices, procedures and behaviours into manageable processes within the enterprise.

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