Assessing critical success factors (CSFs) for a supplier in a relationship-driven B2B-market

University essay from KTH/Industriell Management; KTH/Industriell Management

Abstract: It is necessary for firms to consider and understand sales and buying processes to improve relationship initiation and accommodate the buyers and end-customers. Relationships within the supply chain enable firms to access beneficial abilities to overcome challenges and complexities of new products, shrinking time to market, capital intensities and thus meeting competitive challenges. Developing strategic partnerships with key supply chain actors is an emerging trend in supply chain management. Firms are seen as complex nodes in interdependent supply chain networks where competitive advantages are met by collaboration and co-creation in the business environment. The aim of this study is to investigate the problem areas and assess the critical success factors for a supplier within a relation driven B2B three-tier supply chain network by adopting an abductive, theory-building methodology using qualitative case studies, using the case company as a focal firm. Two different three-tier supply chains are investigated within the focal company with an endcustomer, a buyer and a supplier in each supply chain structure. The study offered us four dominant themes common to all findings. These are structural power within the supply chain network, relationship stability with the end-customer, market knowledge and structural network position. In our discussion, we looked for common denominators to frame our propositions. We organized the propositions in each of the four key themes that emerged from the findings. We then incorporated literature at this stage to compare and contrast our findings, essentially using the literature study as an additional source of validation. The main theoretical contributions of this research involve targeting a new area of  importance in the crossroads of supply chain management, customer relationship management and knowledge management, and identifying four critical success factors in a market entry on a relationship-driven industrial B2B market.

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