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Preferred customer status with key suppliers: case study at MAN Truck & Bus AG and three of its suppliers

Gonzalez, D. (2013) Preferred customer status with key suppliers: case study at MAN Truck & Bus AG and three of its suppliers.

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Abstract:Earlier research has recognized that business-to-business markets tend to have oligopolistic market structures due to a reduction of suppliers and that increasing responsibilities are assigned to suppliers. These causes gave rise to an increased dependence of buying firms on their suppliers changing the dynamics between the two parties as the supplier’s resources are restricted. This study examines the benefits of being a preferred customer and which factors influence customer attractiveness as suppliers assess customer attractiveness before entering an exchange relationship. Furthermore, the purpose of this study is to find out which factors influence supplier satisfaction relying on the assumption that satisfaction will to a great extent determine if customers are awarded with a preferred customer status or not. Ultimately, the drivers that directly lead to achieving the preferred customer status shall be identified. For that purpose, a literature review and a case study relying on three interviews at a major producer of commercial vehicles and three interviews at different supplier companies were conducted. The results showed various benefits such as cost, logistics and information sharing advantages. When assessing customer attractiveness factors, the case study revealed that the interviewed suppliers mainly consider economic factors. Their satisfaction in the customer relationship however, according to the case study, is strongly influenced by relational factors including supplier involvement and well-structured and consistent communication from the customer, which at the same time are two important drivers to achieve the preferred customer status. Regarding that one of the outcomes is that suppliers do not treat all customers the same way and that important benefits can be achieved, some practical implications of the study are that awareness at customer companies has to be raised as another result of the study also was that the interviewed customer lacked awareness for the importance of the topic and thus also commitment to reaching the goal of preferred customer ship.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration BSc (56834)
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