Towards Collaborative Customer-Supplier Relationships in Global Building Product Businesses

Towards Collaborative Customer-Supplier Relationships in Global Building Product Businesses

Pekka Huovinen (Helsinki University of Technology, Finland) and David L. Hawk (New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA)
Copyright: © 2003 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-048-6.ch008
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Our aim is to enhance management of collaborative customer-supplier relationships among globally operating building product suppliers. Three key concerns are: (1) how best to manage achieving effective collaborative customer-supplier relationships in a global building product business (2) how best to create and manage a supplier’s relationships with its primary customers across the globe and (3) how best can suppliers and customers both advance collaboration in global building product businesses? We apply aspects of Rappaport’s (1952) collaborative approach to the baseline strategic game of prisoner’s dilemma, as articulated by Axelrod (1984). Prisoner’s dilemma has long been used as a guide for formulating strategic collaboration positions. Herein it is used to help readers understand how a building product supplier can select between customers as: nonessential, essential but untrustworthy, and finally as essential and to be trusted. For management responsible for a supplier’s relations with customers, this implies a mental progression from dependence, through greater independence, to acceptance of the advantages of continuous interdependence between parties. We advocate the adoption, deepening and continuous renewal of such collaborative relationships among suppliers and customers across global building product businesses. We will focus on the context of a large Finland-based supplier who is setting business objectives for global operations. This discussion on customer-supplier collaboration, in terms of its conditions and benefits, may well be applicable to global business contexts involving building product suppliers based in the U.S., UK, other EU countries and Japan.

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