Original Research

An analysis of buyer-supplier collaboration in the South African textile industry

H. Parker
Acta Commercii | Vol 7, No 1 | a31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v7i1.31 | © 2007 H. Parker | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 December 2007 | Published: 05 December 2007

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H. Parker, Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this article is to explore perceptions regarding buyer and supplier collaboration around product development. The aim is to gain an understanding of which factors influence buyer-supplier collaboration outcomes in the South African textile industry.

Methodology: This study comprised two data collection stages. The first stage comprised the design and administration of a questionnaire survey. The second stage utilised a qualitative interview methodology and entailed interviewing a subset of the questionnaire respondents in order to probe respondents own experiences in collaborative product developments and their perception of the factors that determine collaboration outcome.

Findings: This study has shed light on the experiences of South African firms in the textile industry engaging in buyer-supplier collaboration around product development. While this study is exploratory, it has provided evidence that there are certain factors which are perceived to have a significant influence on collaboration.

Implications: Under the past protective shield of tariffs, South African clothing and textile manufacturers could afford to allow an adversarial mode of operation to perpetuate inefficiencies. However, the increasing external pressures, including the very real threat of overseas competition, heighten the need for collaboration between buyers and suppliers. This relates, in particular, to collaboration aimed at new product development, which can be seen as a new imperative for the survival and growth of this industry. Currently, there are numerous barriers to effective collaboration. The overwhelming power of retailers in the value chain is one such barrier, as it creates an environment which is pressurised, strained and not conducive to buyer-supplier collaboration.

Contribution and Value: Studies on collaborative new product development have primarily been done in developed countries, with a focus on technology intensive industries. This study sheds light on the dynamics of collaborative new product development in the South African context. It is a mature industry which is facing severe challenges. Factors which influence the performance of collaborative projects in this context were explored and hold important implications for managerial action, and government support for buyer-supplier collaboration initiatives.


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