In global supply managers have consistently struggled with sharing valuable knowledge with customers and suppliers across borders. Increasingly the talk of the “dark side” of the cooperative relationship has left managers ask who benefits most from the knowledge-sharing activities: their company or their partners. To find the answers to these questions, the authors conducted an in-depth study of more than 100 transnational supply chain partnerships in the chemical industry, con … Read more »

In global supply managers have consistently struggled with sharing valuable knowledge with customers and suppliers across borders. Increasingly the talk of the “dark side” of the cooperative relationship has left managers ask who benefits most from the knowledge-sharing activities: their company or their partners. To find the answers to these questions, the authors conducted an in-depth study of more than 100 transnational supply chain partnerships in the industrial chemicals, consumer products, industrial packaging, toys and clothing industry in several locations in 19 countries. The authors found three types of knowledge sharing within the supply chain, each with different advantages for buyers and suppliers of information sharing, joint decision-making and sense knowledge integration. They also found that no matter how “diverse” the native cultures of the buyer and supplier companies to share these differences had no influence on the inclination, knowledge. Using examples from the car (Toyota), aerospace (Boeing, Lockheed Martin and United Technologies) and toy industry, they examine how different types of knowledge exchange to buyers or sellers profit individually, but more importantly, how they benefit the improving the partnership as a whole. They conclude that while suppliers generally benefit more benefit from knowledge-sharing activities, both buyers and suppliers, understanding the benefits of absolute versus relative gains is crucial in building a world-class global supply chains. Knowledge sharing effectively means understanding that an inequality of the benefits of what it takes to partnerships that last.
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Matthew B. Myers,
Mee-Shew Cheung
Source: MIT Sloan Management Review
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Release Date: 1 July 2008. Prod #: SMR289-PDF-ENG
Global supply chain knowledge sharing HBR case solution