The purpose of this paper is to present a framework for advanced relationship planning between a contract manufacturer and the other key players within the supply chain. In doing so it allows the contract manufacturer to achieve improved optimisation through better insight into current and future supply chain activity.
The research commences with a literature review that synthesises across total quality management (TQM), customer focus and contemporary business excellence to create a framework specific to contract manufacturing. The major elements were verified by surveys. Applicability and exploitability was validated using action research.
The paper confirms that horizontal alliances in either collaborative or cooperative form are in their infancy as regards contract manufacturing. The framework presented makes it possible for contract manufacturers to identify, evaluate and form relationships with competitors and complementor companies towards understanding the interdependence between all supply chain players.
Further refinements are possible and could include the determination of formal avenues for relationship development and guidance while operating within supply chains at different levels of development.
Understanding how supply players interact in the field of contract manufacturing will assist in determining the influence of cooperation and competition or a mixture of both. The framework presented will provide direction in unravelling the intricacies of the connections and therefore provide the contract manufacturer with a valuable tool for relationship planning.
The Advanced Relationship Planning Framework described offers a unique supply management approach from the supplier of contract manufacture viewpoint that synthesises across the TQM, Customer focus and business excellence.
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