A comparison of manufacturers and financial services suppliers' and buyers' use of relationship management methods

Sheena Leek, Peter W. Turnbull, Peter Naudé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Suppliers and customers work within a network in which they have a vast array of diverse relationships they have to manage [Easton, G. (1992). Industrial networks: A new view of reality. London: Routledge; Turnbull, P. W., & Moustakatos, T. Int. J. Bank Mark. 14 (1996) 26]. Past research in relationship portfolio analysis [Turnbull, P. W., & Cunningham, M. T. (Eds.). (1981). International marketing and purchasing: A survey among marketing and purchasing executives in five European countries. London: Macmillan Press; Fioca, R. Ind. Mark. Manage. 11 (1982) 53; Campbell, N. C. G. & Cunningham, M. T. Strateg. Manage. J. 4 (1983) 369; Reicheld, F. F. & Sasser W. E. Harv. Bus. Rev. (1990) 105; Krapfel, R. E., Salmond, D., & Spekman R. Eur. J. Mark. 25 (1991) 72] has sought to enable companies to allocate resources efficiently and effectively to different kinds of relationships. However, little research has been carried out to investigate how this concept can be applied across sectors, across functions, across manufacturing and financial services, and across suppliers and buyers. This research explores three methods of managing relationships: formal, documented systems, personal judgement, and meetings. The perceived usefulness of each method and combination of methods used varied across industrial sectors and functions. All three methods were used by the majority of financial suppliers and buyers and manufacturing buyers while manufacturing suppliers tended to use personal judgement and meetings. Overall, meetings were perceived as the most useful method for managing relationships. Formal, documented systems were generally perceived as the least useful method by all of the groups except the financial services buyers. Since relationship portfolio analysis is generally perceived as being less useful than personal judgement and meetings, researchers must reexamine the models put forward to improve their applicability and usefulness in industrial settings. © 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-249
Number of pages8
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004


  • Buyers
  • Financial services
  • Manufacturing
  • Relationship management methods
  • Suppliers


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