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Change and Continuity in the Supplier Base: A Case Study of a Manufacturing Firm 1964-2002

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This paper is based on a longitudinal case study of the supplier base of a manufacturing company between 1964 and 2002. The analysis of the development of this supplier base illuminates a complex interplay between continuity and change in the supplier relationships. In the short term the supplier base is characterised by continuity and the changes from one year to the next are few. However, over time these minor modifications result in vigorous restructuring of the supplier base. The analysis reveals that purchasing policy drives less than half of the total number of changes. Changes emanating from the relationships to customers and suppliers are as frequent as the internally driven. Furthermore, technical modifications in terms of influences from design and manufacturing account for a substantial share of the changes. The conclusions are interpreted in relation to recent studies of purchasing behaviour and some important methodological implications are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-12-01

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