To explore the nature and scope of good and bad practice in the relationships that UK supermarkets have with their suppliers of own‐label products in the main commodity sectors (meat, dairy, fresh produce).
The paper presents the results of a postal survey of supermarket suppliers, which formed part of a wider study of corporate social responsibility in UK supermarket supply chains.
The results demonstrate the heterogeneity in relationships between supermarkets and their suppliers of own‐label products in the main commodity sectors the extent to which retail and supply chain strategy is likely to influence the way in which supermarkets deal with suppliers. Best practice was most evident in the two supermarket supply chains where supply base rationalisation has virtually ceased and the adoption of lead suppliers and sole suppliers has been most evident in recent years.
Postal survey limited to suppliers in three commodity sectors, where buyer power is greatest. Would expect different results for relationships with branded suppliers.
With supermarkets coming under increasing scrutiny over the way they treat suppliers, the conceptual framework and survey instrument represent a mechanism for independent assessment of supply chain relationships in sensitive markets, which could be used constructively to encourage the more widespread adoption of good practice and the elimination of bad practice in supermarket relationships.
This paper presents the results of the first attempt anywhere to empirically measure fairness in relationships between supermarkets and their suppliers. Further research is necessary but the results of our early work are extremely encouraging.
Fearne, A., Duffy, R. and Hornibrook, S. (2005), "Justice in UK supermarket buyer‐supplier relationships: an empirical analysis", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 33 No. 8, pp. 570-582. https://doi.org/10.1108/09590550510608377
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