Many chain co‐ordinating initiatives fail due to a lack of trust in and resistance against supply chain co‐ordinators, unequally distributed benefits, opposing requirements of involved parties and asymmetric distribution of power. The goal of this paper is to provide insight into factors influencing the successful implementation of a supply chain co‐ordinator. For this purpose, the Electronic Service Center (ESC), a successful, pan‐European chain co‐ordinator based in The Netherlands, is studied. The ESC acts as a central and neutral supply chain co‐ordinator and aims at co‐ordinating the flow of information between customers, logistics carriers, warehouses, forwarders and suppliers. This paper provides a general overview of the roles of supply chain co‐ordinators and provides a short review of factors responsible for failure. It investigates the ESC, describes the supply chain and the various roles of the supply chain co‐ordinator, and discusses the various trade‐offs made by the organisations involved in the supply chain. In the last section conclusions are drawn and recommendations given for future research.
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