While numerous articles have been written concerning various aspects of developing supplier partnerships, the empirical evidence of the causes for forming a partnership and the ensuing benefits from such relationships has been scant and primarily limited to the automotive industry. This article describes a model for supplier partnerships and reports on an empirical test of the model using a questionnaire distributed to a broad-based sample of industries. The results indicate that the extent to which a supplier partnership is developed is dependent on top management commitment and on the philosophical view of purchasing. Further, as the degree of the partnership increases, the buying firm typically enjoys significantly increased short-term productivity improvements and long-term strategic advantages.
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