The Dutch pork supply chain was chosen for study, as it has changed dramatically over the past years. The Dutch pork sector is the fourth biggest exporter of pork meat in the world (ABN AMRO, 2002). Important factors driving change in the sector have been high costs of production and governmental regulations (Backus and Dijkhuizen, 2002); issues of food safety and animal welfare, environmental protection, and traceability (Sharp and Reilly, 1994; Verbeke, 2001; Verdonk, 2001; Wandel, 1994); and consumer preferences, including nutritional value, sensorial aspects, and ease of preparation (Saxowsky and Duncan, 1998; Verbeke, 2001; Ziggers, 1998). The supply chain has undergone structural and organizational change. Competition has increased, as the market is oversupplied, and former cost advantages have disappeared (Maijers et al., 1999). To compete successfully it is argued that increased chain cooperation is a strategic imperative (Backus and van der Schans, 2000; den Ouden et al., 1996; Perry, 1989). In this regard the Dutch quality system ‘Integrated Quality Control’ (in Dutch: Integral Keten Beheersing, IKB) can be considered an instrument for providing the necessary vertical liaisons among the players in the chain (Srivastava, 1999). Introduced in 1992 by the Product Board for Livestock, Meat, and Eggs (PVE) in cooperation with the livestock and meat sector, the IKB system sets out standards for feed quality, hygiene, transport, information, and use of veterinary products, among other things (Kanis, Groen, and de Greef, 2001; PVE, 2003). The system covers about 80 percent of all pigs slaughtered in the Netherlands, and most Dutch retailers and butchers sell pork-meat products produced according to the IKB system (Kanis, Groen, and de Greef, 2001). However, the implementation of a more relational approach to marketing practice has not been without problems. The lack of trust, defined as “a willingness to rely on an exchange partner in whom one has confidence” (Moorman, Deshpandé, and Zaltman, 1993: p. 3), between the chain players has frequently been mentioned (Bondt et al., 2003; Srivastava, 1999; Urlings, Walstra, and Tacken, 2000). An imbalance of power in relationships and information asymmetry in the chain is evident. With the IKB system covering some 80 percent of all pork-meat products our research focused on the volume driven part of the supply system (omitting organic pork meats and other niche products). The slaughterhouses can be considered as chain leaders (Visser, Vlaar, and Neves, 2000), and it was therefore believed to be appropriate to ‘network’ from the slaughterhouse to the other supply chain players, both upstream and downstream. Capturing the
understanding of both sides of the dyads in the pork supply chain is important when examining interaction as a major source of channel conflict is goal- and domain-dissensus (Achrol and Etzel, 2003). We obtained data from the supply chain of the case study slaughterhouse, one of the biggest slaughterhouses in the Netherlands. Source: Lindgreen, A., Palmer, R., and Trienekens, J. (2005), “Relationships within the supply chain: a case study”, Journal on Chain and Network Science, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 85-99. (ISSN 1569-1829)
With reference to the case study critically discuss the keys factors that the Dutch Pork Supply Chain may consider when selecting potential partners?
In the context of the above case study, recommend any ten supplier relationship management practices which may help Dutch Pork to improve its supplier relationships from a distant to a closer association. Make use of relevant examples to justify your recommendation?