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A conceptual framework for supply chain collaboration: empirical evidence from the agri‐food industry

A. Matopoulos (University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece)
M. Vlachopoulou (University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece)
V. Manthou (University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece)
B. Manos (Aristotle University of Thessalonki, Thessalonki, Greece)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 8 May 2007




The purpose of this paper is to analyse the concept of supply chain collaboration and to provide an overall framework that can be used as a conceptual landmark for further empirical research. In addition, the concept is explored in the context of agri‐food industry and particularities are identified. Finally, the paper submits empirical evidence from an exploratory case study in the agri‐food industry, at the grower‐processor interface, and information regarding the way the concept is actually applied in small medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) is presented.


The paper employed case study research by conducting in‐depth interviews in the two companies.


Supply chain collaboration concept is of significant importance for the agri‐food industry however, some constraints arise due to the nature of industry's products, and the specific structure of the sector. Subsequently, collaboration in the supply chain is often limited to operational issues and to logistics‐related activities.

Research limitations/implications

Research is limited to a single case study and further qualitative testing of the conceptual model is needed in order to adjust the model before large scale testing.

Practical implications

Case study findings may be transferable to other similar dual relationships at the grower‐processor interface. Weaker parts in asymmetric relationships have opportunities to improve their position, altering the dependence balance, by achieving product/process excellence.


The paper provides evidence regarding the applicability of the supply chain collaboration concept in the agri‐food industry. It takes into consideration not relationships between big multinational companies, but SMEs.



Matopoulos, A., Vlachopoulou, M., Manthou, V. and Manos, B. (2007), "A conceptual framework for supply chain collaboration: empirical evidence from the agri‐food industry", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 177-186.



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Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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