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Supplier evaluation processes: the shaping and reshaping of supplier performance

Kim Sundtoft Hald (Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark)
Chris Ellegaard (Copenhagen Business School, Center for Applied Market Science, Herning, Denmark)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 19 July 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to illuminate how supplier evaluation practices are linked to supplier performance improvements. Specifically, the paper investigates how performance information travelling between the evaluating buyer and the evaluated suppliers is shaped and reshaped in the evaluation process.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper relies on a multiple, longitudinal case research methodology. The two cases show two companies' efforts in designing, implementing, and using supplier evaluation in order to improve supplier performance.

Findings

The findings show how the dynamics of representing, reducing, amplifying, dampening, and directing shape and reshape supplier evaluation information. In both companies, evaluation practices were defined, redefined, and re‐directed by the involved actors' perception and decision making, as well as organisational structures, IT systems, and available data sources.

Research limitations/implications

The identified factors and dynamics could be empirically tested on larger samples to increase generalisability.

Practical implications

The results provide insights into how an evaluating buyer may analyse and control supplier evaluation processes thereby improving their effects. Managers must know how performance information is altered before reaching key supplier actors in order to optimise supplier performance.

Originality/value

Current studies on supplier evaluation practices are limited in their focus on design, implementation, or use. This paper explores all three phases empirically, and proposes a set of dynamics to better understand and control the often taken for granted link between intentions and outcome of such practices. In relation to future research, the authors propose a more holistic direction, which will take the entire supplier evaluation process as its unit of analysis.

Keywords

Citation

Sundtoft Hald, K. and Ellegaard, C. (2011), "Supplier evaluation processes: the shaping and reshaping of supplier performance", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 31 No. 8, pp. 888-910. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443571111153085

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited