Supplier base management: the contrast between Germany and the UK

Fred Lemke, Keith Goffin, Marek Szwejczewski, Colin New, Rolf Pfeiffer, Bertram Lohmüller

Research output: Working paper

27 Citations (Scopus)
1550 Downloads (Pure)


Supplier base management is an important aspect of the management of manufacturing operations, as reducing the number of suppliers – the supplier base – is a key approach in many companies including the US and the UK. By having fewer suppliers, manufacturers have more time to work closely with each remaining supplier, for instance, on improving quality and product innovation. However, is this approach being adopted in Germany as fast as it has been in the UK? This paper describes research which addresses this question and
which also investigates how German companies are managing contacts with their suppliers.
The study was conducted in two stages. Firstly, a survey of manufacturers in Germany and the UK
identified the trends in the supplier base of companies in each country. Secondly, a follow-up telephone survey
was carried through with purchasing managers at a random sample of 34 German plants to identify, for
example, the advantages experienced by manufacturers, which had reduced their supplier base.
The findings show that German manufacturers have not reduced their supplier base by as much as
companies in the UK. The second part of the research showed that German manufacturers, which have reduced their supplier base, perceive the benefits of this. However, other companies appear to have failed to take the opportunity to gain advantages from a reduced supplier base.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCranfield
Number of pages26
VolumeSWP 0100
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Publication series

NameSoM Working and Occasional Papers
PublisherCranfield School of Management


  • supplier base management
  • contrast
  • germany
  • uk
  • manufacturing practices
  • supplier management


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