The perceptions of different customers towards collaborative partnerships and sustainability in the supply chain - A case study of Trouw Nutrition
MetadataShow full item record
Supply chain (SC) collaboration with the aim to innovate can play an important role in solving various sustainability issues in the agri-food sector. However, many companies fail to have successful collaboration because of misconceptions and differences in perceptions between the SC members involved. Little research is found combining the perceptions of current collaborative partnerships and how sustainability perception can affect these. Besides, to resolve the issue of misconceptions and failure of SC collaboration, including collaborative innovation, it is relevant to study the different perceptions of SC customers. Hence, this research is aimed to get a better understanding of what the perceptions of different customers in the agri-food SC are towards collaboration, including collaborative innovation, in the present partnership. Besides, by studying the perceptions towards sustainability a better understanding can be obtained on how sustainability affects the present partnership and how it can be promoted. For this qualitative research, 20 interviews were conducted with customers from four different customer groups of the animal nutrition company, Trouw Nutrition. The findings show that the perceptions of the different customer groups towards the present partnerships are based on three dimensions (intrinsic considerations, external drivers and partnership criteria), which consist of elements that are considered as important for collaboration and collaborative innovation. The findings indicate that on an abstract level the different customers find similar elements important to the present partnership. However, more specifically for collaborative innovation, differences occur in which elements are important amongst the customer groups. Besides, it is observed that the customer groups differ in their opinion on the importance of collaborative innovation. Furthermore, findings show that the different customer groups perceive sustainability in different ways. Based on the three dimensions identified in the present partnership, it is observed that sustainability perception can affect (negatively or positively) the feasibility of addressing sustainability in partnerships and it became clear that sustainability can be promoted in two ways. First sustainability can be promoted by anticipating on existing intrinsic considerations towards sustainability, and second by external drivers that are required to stimulate them towards sustainability. These findings contribute to gaining insight in what is found important for collaborative innovation, which can be used to create more effective partnerships. Also, useful insights are given in how sustainability can be promoted which is especially relevant for the agri-food sector as this sector is challenged in enabling to feed the future sustainably.