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Paper info: Managing interdependencies in supplier portfolios


Managing interdependencies in supplier portfolios


Carlos Brito
University of Porto
Carlos Brito and
Catarina Roseira
University of Porto
Catarina Roseira

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 25th IMP-conference in Marseille, France in 2009.


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Building and managing a supplier base has been referred in the literature as a key issue of supplier management. Since the seminal work of Kraljic in 1983, scholars have proposed a number of models aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of supplier portfolio management. In the IMP arena, those models are often criticized as they seem to ignore the interdependencies between the existing dyadic relationships. Such interdependencies are the main focus of this paper. It has four objectives. (1) To analyse the types of relationships linking suppliers and to (2) understand the factors and dynamics underlying their creation and management. (3) To uncover existing links between buyer-supplier and supplier-supplier relationships. (4) To clarify how supplier relationships within the portfolio may impact the performance of the actors involved. The paper discusses evidence collected in a study of two industrial firms' supplier portfolios. A main conclusion of the paper is that suppliers' interdependences are mainly a by-product of buyer-supplier dyads. Furthermore, the nature and dynamics of those dyads are a strong determinant of the scope and frequency of supplier connections and corresponding effects.