The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on buyer and supplier relationships in the textile supply chain : Exploring changes in relationship factors.

University essay from Högskolan i Borås/Akademin för textil, teknik och ekonomi

Abstract: In the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the textile industry faced significant challenges regarding the SC. The importance of managing the relationship between the supplier and buyer was crucial in order to cope with the disruption in the SC. The textile industry implemented measures to manage and minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there was a crucial missing link between the disruption and how or if the relationship between the buyer and supplier changed. The thesis aims to explore and investigate how Swedish-based fashion textile SC actors (buyers and suppliers) can manage the relationship in the SC and what factors can be identified that characterize a change. Further, the thesis examines the relationship between buyer and supplier, with emphasis on what relationship management factors have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The thesis is based on Swedish companies, having a global textile value chain. To satisfy the purpose of this study, a qualitative method with a deductive approach was implemented. The data gathering consisted of primary data, including three semi-structured interviews with two buyer representatives and one supplier representative. Additionally, a literature review was conducted to complement the primary data. The analysis is based on exploring and comparing the themes found in the primary data and the literature review regarding the factors characterizing the change in the relationship between the buyer and the supplier. The common characteristics found in the literature review and primary data indicated the change in the relationship between supplier and buyer during the COVID-19 pandemic. It could be identified that trust and communication strengthened the collaboration between suppliers and buyers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Flexibility was further a factor that characterized a positive change in the relationship because of the deeper understanding between the supplier and the buyer during the pandemic. In contrast to the findings from the interviews, the relationship factor “power” was prominent in the literature review with the characteristic of changing the relationship. However, power was not central in the interviews as a factor enabling changes. The practical implication of this study highlights the importance of the relationship between a supplier and buyer, especially the relationship during a disruption, as the textile SC is complex, and the actors are interconnected. Multiple factors can characterize the change in the relationship. In the thesis, two relationship factors were prominent from the literature and interviews, collaboration, and flexibility. Suppliers and buyers in the textile industry can use the result of this study to improve and understand the relationship factors that can characterize a change in the relationship during a pandemic disruption. 

  AT THIS PAGE YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE ESSAY. (follow the link to the next page)