An Investigation into the factors influencing Supply Network Flexibility in the International Spirits Industry and the impact these factors have on competitive advantage
Businesses that compete on the global stage in international markets have extensive and complex supply networks. They rely on these networks to reach customers around the globe. These supply networks must be flexible and quality. Flexible means they will be able to quickly respond to the needs of the customers and Quality means consistency throughout the entire network to deliver a product that meets the specification and needs of the end customers. This research looks at the international spirits industry, and the largest companies in the industry who have extensive networks across the globe. The research aims to assess the practices used by these companies in their supply strategy. Further, the research looks to identify the importance of flexibility in large networks and highlight the need for quality and collaboration to quickly meet the needs of customers in international markets. The results highlight that the industry views flexibility as business critical to not only satisfying customers but also a factor that allows them to gain an advantage in the marketplace. They are achieving flexibility through a number of practices. Mainly, they are focusing on developing Quality through integrating with partners and developing robust relationships through developing trust, communication and collaborating. Collaboration requires businesses to work together to align goals and objectives that make relationships robust and allow the needs of the customers to be better met.