Capitalizing on the Unexpected


Download Article PDFThere’s an old adage that no plan survives the first contact with the enemy. Or, as Mike Tyson famously put it before one of his prize fights: “Everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth.” If there wasn’t some truth to those adages, there wouldn’t be Murphy’s Law, a Plan B or bumper stickers with a colorful variant of the phrase “Stuff happens.”What’s true in our everyday lives is also true in supply chain management. Supply chain organizations create plans for designing, making and delivering products, and their procurement teams contract with suppliers to deliver the goods. In the best relationships, suppliers enable their customers to bring new products, technologies and services to market before their peers. To that end, successfully managing buyer-supplier relationships has become vital in today’s fast-paced business world, helping buying companies innovate and stay ahead in the competitive global marketplace.But, just as Mike Tyson’s opponents often found themselves on the canvas despite their best plans, the best supplier relationships sometimes are confronted with the unexpected —positive or negative events beyond the control of one party or both. When they do, not only must buyers deal with the resulting effects, which are a common cause of relationship stress, but they also miss out on opportunities for improvement. In a recent study, we set out to learn how these unknowns can affect the buyer-supplier relationship, and in so doing, provide some insight into how to create strategies to deal with them.SUBSCRIBERS: Click here to download PDF of the full article.