How SMEs can benefit from supply chain partnerships

Jafar Rezaei, Roland Ortt, Paul Trott

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    In recent literature on supply chain partnerships in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), there is controversy regarding the benefits of these partnerships. To resolve this controversy, specific information is needed on the implementation of these partnerships by SMEs; an area, that, thus far, has received little academic attention. In this paper, we examine different business functions (production, marketing and sales, purchasing and logistics, research and development (R&D) and finance) within a supply chain partnership. We collected data for each individual function from 279 high-tech SMEs and examined the relationship between the specific types of partnerships and the overall performance of the SMEs. The results indicate that it is only in the area of R&D that partnerships have a significant positive effect on overall firm performance. The results imply that SMEs primarily can benefit from particular types of supply chain partnerships, i.e. R&D partnerships. The results contribute to the debate in the literature by explaining why many SMEs were found not to benefit from these partnerships. We also provide implications for firms and how SMEs can better utilise supply chain management (SCM).
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number0
    Pages (from-to)1527-1543
    Number of pages17
    JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
    Issue number5
    Early online date4 Sept 2014
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015


    • supply chain management (SCM)
    • supply chain partnership
    • SMEs
    • high-tech


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