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The Evaluation of Supplier Performance: A Case Study of Volvo Cars and its Module Suppliers

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This paper addresses the topic of supplier evaluation programmes in practice. Whereas most empirically based studies have used surveys and focused on the dimensions of supplier evaluation, we use a case study centred on Volvo Cars and its suppliers to illustrate the details of the practices used in supplier evaluation programmes. Our empirical results reveal that in the case of complex relationships and supply networks, supplier evaluation is a multi-dimensional and multi-criteria activity involving a variety of functional specialisms. The end result is a series of partial and partly irreconcilable evaluations that cannot be aggregated into a single, unequivocal set of scores. Rather than bemoan this apparent lack of precision or propose a better set of tools, we argue that it would be unwise and counterproductive to expect different measures to coalesce into a coherent whole. The multitude of measures used to evaluate suppliers and their potential implications provide a good platform for dialogue and joint action in buyer-supplier relationships.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2003

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