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A framework of manufacturer‐retailer coordination process: three case studies

Chee Yew Wong (Cranfield University School of Management, Cranfield, UK)
John Johansen (Center for Industrial Production, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 25 April 2008




Triggered by perceived inefficiency and inequality, buyers and suppliers coordinate with each other. The purpose of this paper is to develop a framework of coordination process based on theoretical review and verifications from three case studies.


The approach takes the form of three longitudinal and in‐depth case studies, which involved coordination processes between a toy manufacturer with three European retailers in one calendar year.


The three case studies provided three main observations. First, the coordination process followed some basic sequential activities: evaluation, derivation, offer and negotiation, assessment, and implementation. Second, the coordination processes deviated from this basic sequence with an interactive coordination cycles of assessment, re‐derivation, and re‐offer and negotiation (called inner‐helix) when there was disagreement. Third, closer mode of coordination, which involved joint evaluation and derivation of coordination solutions, reduced the numbers of iterative coordination cycles. These empirical findings verified the presupposed framework of coordination process.

Research limitations/implications

Three qualitative case studies may not be highly generalisable and multiple dyadic coordination processes may occur. However, the findings form a foundation for further understanding of the coordination process.


The proposed framework of the coordination process further expands the theories of inter‐organisational relationship and the inter‐organisational cooperative process. It also reveals that deliberate evaluation and derivation activities (and even jointly with other supply chain members) may significantly improve coordination.



Yew Wong, C. and Johansen, J. (2008), "A framework of manufacturer‐retailer coordination process: three case studies", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 36 No. 5, pp. 387-408.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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