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An analysis of collaboration in a sugarcane production and processing supply chain

Carel Nicolaas Bezuidenhout (School of Engineering, University of KwaZulu‐Natal, Scottsville, South Africa)
Shamim Bodhanya (Leadership Centre, University of KwaZulu‐Natal, Scottsville, South Africa)
Linda Brenchley (Nelspruit, South Africa)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 8 June 2012




Sugar from cane remains an important economic contributor in many countries. A lack of collaboration has been identified as a key problem in many of these regions. To date, few sugar researchers have exploited the valuable supply chain collaboration knowledge available in the literature, such as the Supply Chain Collaboration Index (SCCI). This paper seeks to address these issues.


Qualitative and quantitative data were collected from three sugarcane milling areas. The SCCI was contextualised from a psychological perspective and used in the quantitative data analyses. A special objective was to raise a number of pertinent questions, which would fast track stakeholders to a new level of collaboration.


Many relationships in the supply chain remain relatively positive. The main attributes of concern are stability, reliability, trust, personal relationships and communication. A lack of these attributes causes fragmentation, opportunism and a desire to over‐control. Mutuality and communication are key leverages in the system.

Research limitations/implications

There is a need to understand how collaboration could be enhanced when stakeholders hold different balances of power. This study is still limited to sugarcane milling in South Africa.

Practical implications

This paper demonstrates a partially quantitative research methodology to understand collaboration in a food supply chain. The authors also propose a tool to help industry stakeholders to resolve current problems.


The psychological profiling of SCCI attributes and subsequent correspondence analyses is original. A framework of collaboration questions combined with Kepner‐Tregoe Problem Analyses is unique. These tools are generic to any agricultural supply chain.



Nicolaas Bezuidenhout, C., Bodhanya, S. and Brenchley, L. (2012), "An analysis of collaboration in a sugarcane production and processing supply chain", British Food Journal, Vol. 114 No. 6, pp. 880-895.



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