- Research Feature
- Read Time: 16 min
Companies that form joint ventures must learn to avoid five minefields that can blow up the relationship.
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The idea that e-commerce would lead to disintermediation has turned out to be largely wrong. The Web transforms but does not eliminate the advantages of the middleman‘s central lookout position. The authors show how new kinds of intermediaries are helping smart companies realize the promise of the Web. They offer nine ways that intermediaries traditionally add value and explain that three will change, three will survive in a new form, and three present growth opportunities.
A company’s interaction with the scientific community is crucial to its ability to incubate and commercialize new ideas.
The authors examine the theoretical and practical problems associated with trade promotions, and they explain how the right kind of deal can be created — a transparent system that generates mutual trust and provides benefits to both manufacturers and retailers. The key is proper implementation of what is thus far a little understood tool: the pay-for-performance trade promotion, in which retailers get rewarded according to how much they sell, not how much they buy.
Paying attention to personal relationships accelerates learning and increases the effectiveness of alliances.
In almost every business-to-business industry, companies are facing increasingly powerful intermediaries in their distribution channel. Industry consolidation is replacing a multitude of small “mom and pop” distributors with a handful of national, professionally managed, publicly traded corporations.
Companies frequently mismanage their dealings with suppliers and miss many opportunities to reduce costs. Perhaps it’s time to reexamine purchasing, reestablish some tension in buyer-supplier relationships, and leverage the free market.
Much has been written in recent years about flexible factories and flexible manufacturing systems (FMS), but the literature has been largely theoretical; managers who are interested in making their factories more flexible have little empirical research on which to base their decisions.
Interactions between retailers and their suppliers have often been adversarial, with each trying to gain at the expense of the other. But this long-established pattern is rapidly giving way to cooperation, with both sides working together to streamline the distribution channel system.
Supplier-customer relationships in the United States are changing rapidly. Where once contracts were short-term, arm’s-length relationships, now contracts have increasingly become long term. More and more, suppliers must provide customers with detailed information about their processes, and customers talk of “partnerships” with their suppliers.S
JAPAN’S DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS, LONG THE TARGET OF CRITICISM, ARE CHANGING. DEREGULATION, NEW MANUFACTURING IMPERATIVES, consumer behavior, and the economy have interacted to reshape Japanese distribution. The trends have important implications for global business, since the system now offers areas of opportunity for Western manufacturers and retailers.
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