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Managing the Dark Side of Close Buyer-Supplier Relationships

It is all too easy for relationships between companies and their suppliers to become too chummy and for essential checks and balances to get less attention than they require. Often, the longer and deeper the relationship, the cozier it can be—and thus at much greater risk of underperformance. Here's how to identify and guard against those risks.

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This is an excerpt of the original article. It was written for the December 2015 edition of Supply Chain Management Review. The full article is available to current subscribers.

December 2015

It’s December, and time once again for our annual Executive Guide to Supply Chain Resources. This is a comprehensive guide to services, products, and educational opportunities targeted specifically to supply chain professionals. The editors at Supply Chain Management Review wish all of our readers a successful year to come.
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As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, hosts and hostesses all over the United States are thinking not only about food shopping lists but about family dynamics. Who’s coming this year? Is Uncle Jeff still not speaking to his nephew Brandon? And that simmering argument about party politics that broke out last year: Are the cousins over that now?

Close relationships are not always synonymous with good relationships. And the same is true between businesses that have worked together for a long time.

In particular, tight links between companies and their suppliers have been touted as a business strategy to improve performance through, among other things, increased efficiency and innovation. But just as with personal relationships, the ties can become unhealthy for one or both sides. There’s a dysfunctional “dark side” to business relationships—one where complacency, closed-mindedness, short cuts, and “group think” overshadow the good side of close interactions.

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Sorry, but your login has failed. Please recheck your login information and resubmit. If your subscription has expired, renew here.

From the December 2015 edition of Supply Chain Management Review.

December 2015

It’s December, and time once again for our annual Executive Guide to Supply Chain Resources. This is a comprehensive guide to services, products, and educational opportunities targeted specifically to supply chain…
Browse this issue archive.
Access your online digital edition.
Download a PDF file of the December 2015 issue.

Download Article PDF

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, hosts and hostesses all over the United States are thinking not only about food shopping lists but about family dynamics. Who's coming this year? Is Uncle Jeff still not speaking to his nephew Brandon? And that simmering argument about party politics that broke out last year: Are the cousins over that now?

Close relationships are not always synonymous with good relationships. And the same is true between businesses that have worked together for a long time.

In particular, tight links between companies and their suppliers have been touted as a business strategy to improve performance through, among other things, increased efficiency and innovation. But just as with personal relationships, the ties can become unhealthy for one or both sides. There's a dysfunctional “dark side” to business relationships—one where complacency, closed-mindedness, short cuts, and “group think” overshadow the good side of close interactions.

SUBSCRIBERS: Click here to download PDF of the full article.

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