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Supply chain collaboration: capabilities for continuous innovation

Claudine A. Soosay (School of Management, Division of Business, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)
Paul W. Hyland (School of Natural and Rural Systems Management, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)
Mario Ferrer (Faculty of Business and Informatics, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Australia)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 14 March 2008




The purpose of this study is to investigate how collaborative relationships enhance continuous innovation in the supply chain using case studies.


The data were collected from semi‐structured interviews with 23 managers in ten case studies. The main intention was to comprehend how these firms engaged in collaborative relationships and their importance for successful innovation. The study adopted a qualitative approach to investigating these factors.


The findings demonstrate how differing relationships can impact on the operation of firms and their capacities to innovate. The ability to work together with partners has enabled firms to integrate and link operations for increased effectiveness as well as embark on both radical and incremental innovation.

Research limitations/implications

The research into the initiatives and strategies for collaboration was essentially exploratory. A qualitative approach using case studies acknowledged that the responses from managers were difficult to quantify or gauge the extent of these factors.

Practical implications

The findings have shown various methods where firms integrated with customers and suppliers in the supply chain. This was evident in the views of managers across all the firms examined, supporting the importance of collaboration and efficient allocation of resources throughout the supply chain. They were able to set procedures in their dealings with partners, sharing knowledge and processes, and subsequently joint‐planning and investing with them for better operations, systems and processes in the supply chain.


The case studies serve as examples for managers in logistics organisation who are contemplating strategies and issues on collaborative relationships. The study provides important lessons on how such relationships can impact on the operation of firms and their capability to innovate.



Soosay, C.A., Hyland, P.W. and Ferrer, M. (2008), "Supply chain collaboration: capabilities for continuous innovation", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 160-169.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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