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Supply Chain Collaboration in Kernels Popcorn

Modern business houses have been involved in an enormous pact of debates regarding the collaboration of supply chain management. On the other hand, the dialogue about primary considerations for supply chain collaboration usually doesn’t get to the specific way out of how the collaboration in the supply chain works, how to manage it, what are the obstacles and how it brings real advantages for the companies. But the primary considerations of supply chain collaboration lead the companies to achieve competitive advantage and help to find the solution to the above dilemmas. This research paper has set out to appreciate what are the primary considerations of supply chain collaboration in the context of Kernels Popcorn, how it occurs, what are the barriers, and how to overcome them to gain a competitive advantage for Kernels Popcorn. To do so, this paper has interviewed almost 15 supply chain executives of Kernels Popcorn who are the leading position at this supply-chain management system.

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This paper on Kernels Popcorn’s supply chain collaboration with primary considerations has been designed through both literature overview and scenarios of Kernels Popcorn. Typically, the key issue of this paper has encompassed primary considerations of supply chain collaboration rather than collaboration module. It is one of the most popular popcorn manufacturing companies in the USA. They operated their numerous branches abroad through franchising; in addition, only in Canada do they have 65 branches.

The concepts of supply chain describe approaches of manufacturing finish goods and services to the consumers. During the overall demand and supply manner, both manufacturer and the supplier have to consider a set of key issues at an early stage of manufacturing. A short description of the company has presented ahead of the doorway into the literature review and current circumstances of the Kernels Popcorn.

Research objectives and research questions

The objectives of this research paper are to find the primary consideration of Kernels Popcorn supply chain collaboration and to investigate what would be the suitable actions for their supply chain collaboration consideration. It also describes primary considerations and makes a proposal to develop a recommendation in the context of Kernels Popcorn. The research objectives of this paper are to strengthen Kernels Popcorn’s competitiveness and profitability to lain behind the implementation of primary considerations. Following are the crucial research questions capable to meet the aim of the paper for both the literature overview and recent poses of the Kernels Popcorn. To do so, this paper would define supply chain management (SCM) along with its stages and engage its efforts to answer the research questions as follows-

  • What would be the supply chain collaboration for a chain retailer?
  • What are the primary considerations for supply chain collaboration?
  • Narrate the supply-chain collaboration process?
  • Discuss supply chain management software.
  • Application of supply chain management software-SAP[1]
  • Crafted opportunities of the supply chain collaboration considerations.

Literature review

Mentzer (2008, p. 1) defined supply chain collaboration as an integrating of the complete working path for strategic co-ordination of the conventional business activity within the specific company along with the businesses of other companies who are active within the supply chain of that specific company with the aim to improve the long-standing performance for each individual company as well as its complete supply chain.

Lambert, et al, (1998, p. 15) argued that within this explanation of supply chain management presented above has pointed out the collaboration as a resource through which every company working jointly within a particular supply chain to achieve common goals and objectives s regarded as sharing information, understanding as well as risk and profits for long-term. In this way, the companies would share the required understanding of how the other players of the supply chain are operating their business-leads and taking decisions to get a competitive advantage and arguing for co-operation rather than competition. Thus, collaboration stands for reciprocated goal-setting to improve the present situation that presents far away from any written contract among the involved parties.

Bowersox, Closs & Cooper (2002, p. 94) argued that due to the altitude of loyalty it is quite essential for real collaborative relationships within the wider supply chain. They further added that in real-life practice, it is quite impossible for any company to collaborate with each company, thus it becomes a strong challenge for the companies to identify the collaboration efforts which they would declaim. Bowersox, Closs & Cooper (2002, p. 95) also said that the way out of this dilemma is to find out the key suppliers as well as customers who are ready to maintain exclusive collaborative relationships only with them. The necessity of primary consideration has risen in this regard to determine among the whole supply chain, which relationship is most important. Within the supply chain, all relations are not equally significant. Thus the primary considerations of supply chain collaboration would identify the key components, selecting the key commodities to determine the key sub-systems. The primary consideration would argue for best practice to choose the key suppliers or else customers by keeping joint effort to resolve any dilemmas. This working together would help the company to identify perfect players among the supply chain members. When the collaboration starts within the key supply chain, the companies would ultimately become within a scheduled practice and emphasize looking for new relationships.

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Five factors: According to Wailgum (2008, p. 1), supply chain management (SCM) is a process that conveys products or goods and services utilizing both art and science to the target market segmentation of the company over and above fulfill consumer demands. SCM is composed of the following five major forces.

Plan: considering production and delivery costs, lead time, product quality a set of metrics construct the strategic area of the SCM. Besides these factors, the planning of SCM needs to consider the required products and services of consumers. Develop efficiency through low cost of production; less lead time and better product quality are the vision of the planning stage. Primary considerations for supply chain collaboration are covered mostly by SCM planning. (Wailgum 2008, p. 1)

Source: pricing strategy and suppliers’ payment process are valued through the categories of product delivery system. The primary phase of SCM sources reflects on the inter-connection between the existing process and development ratio. Thereafter the secondary segment encompasses a set of sequential dynamics- inventory collection modes such as shipment, inventory collection period, the required time for finished goods production, manner of finished goods dealing out, and finally suppliers’ payments empowerment. (Stevenson 2006, pp. 67- 84)

Make: third force make is for manufacturing goods. Six stages of new product development are followed here. The most significant portion of SCM entries involves in- idea generation, idea screening, concept development, and testing, development of marketing strategy, analysis business, product development, market testing, and commercialization respectively. Workers efficiency, productivity, product quality parameter, etc. are also evaluated in this stage (Tech Target 2009, pp. 13-18)

Deliver: the fourth stage delivery of the SCM is also termed logistics. Order placement by the consumer, warehouse network development; reach products to consumers as per their prerequisite and payment empowerment system. All of these three tasks have been coordinated by the host company. Snabe & Herzberg (2003, pp. 7-18)

Return: Baily (2008, p. 109) argued that for most companies return is the sticky part. In this case, chosen network coordination has to be flexible and receptive in returning delivered products from the consumers.

Supply chain collaboration: Norbridge (2009, p. 1) stated that the concept of supply chain collaboration is the yield of CPFR approaches- collaborative planning, planning, forecasting, and replenishment respectively. Decrease the dilemmas and challenges between existing demand and supply chain are the major jobs of the CPFR. The rhythm of all IT vendors essentially required to deal with e-commerce so that they could dramatically improve their roads to trade. In addition, basic concepts of the CPFR are the key primary consideration of supply chain collaboration. On the other hand, hypothesis construction and valued over the scope of prospect.

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During supply chain management, primary collaboration consideration brought most of the profit for the business-to-business (B2B) module. Solution premise of this consideration portion is termed ‘Three Percent Solution’ that entire tier 1, 2, and 3. Recent global consideration constructs on e-commerce selling recompenses in most of the cases. Other factors are- sources of fixed capital, manufacturer, and supplier. For joint venture or merger- collaboration consideration includes five general issues plotted subsequently to the B2B Value Creation figure. (Norbridge 2009, p. 1)

  • Exchange of information
  • Construct plan considering gathered information
  • Appreciate independent working module as well as greater success
  • Performance appraisal
  • Establish rewarding during greater achievement

The concept of collaboration can be categorized as skills of cooperation. During inventory management, efficiency execution hinge on both the manufacturers and the retailers. For both parties, effective leadership is also momentous compels to be efficient in considering supply chain collaboration. On the other hand, utilization of supply chain software like SAP would evaluate a balance among demand, supply, and related costs. Fawcett et al (2008, pp. 1-20) argued that the Cultivation of these tools or approaches in a proper manner has fertilized collaboration consideration consequently dynamic all over the supply chain flow.

Supply chain collaboration process: reengineer and the trade-off between transactions and trading partners facilitates through CPFR, which is a part of collaboration consideration dynamic rather than technical standard. A process model of CPFR is composed of planning, forecasting, and replenishment between buyer and seller. These three phases are executed afterward. The Foundation of this non-proprietary approach is treated as an initiative, which allows recognizing industry by a set of standards. Some CPFR users are-,, etc. (Maier 2009, pp. 1-3)

Concept of Supply Chain Collaboration

Fawcett et al (2008, p. 2) stated that the SCM[2] has been identified as a significant core competence of modern business which a catalyst of endearing business models. Maier (2009, p. 3) added that SCM could compel the profitability of a company by enhancing revenue growth in the course of superior customer service as well as satisfaction as a part of an elegant reasonable strategy. SCM also keeps an active part to dramatically reduces cost and numerous companies move violently to achieve the competitive benefits generated from SCM.

Baily (2008, p. 109) pointed out that there are grave barricades to gain the benefits of SCM and the companies try to encumber the dilemmas through collaboration with the members of the supply chain. Baily (2008, p. 110) also added that the SC[3] collaboration has been clarified as the capability of work crosswise organizational limitations to put together and manage the exceptional value-added course of action to meet the customer needs far above the existing level. Thus, the Supply Chain Collaboration engages to share of resources, intellectual properties, information, human resources, as well as technology along with the collaborated parties to generate competitive advantage for both.

Barriers of Supply Chain Collaboration

Stevenson (2006, pp. 67- 84) explained that there are countless barriers to collaboration among the companies depending on the nature of group effort. When the collaboration occurred in the form, inter-firm collaboration there should raise the barriers that are deeply concerned with corporate cultures. Moreover, the most widespread barriers could identify from insufficient information sharing, neighborhood conflicts, as well as contradictory metrics of coordination. Such barriers may slow down both Collaboration Company’s eagerness and aptitude to collaborate in a resourceful manner that carries great weight. Consequently, most companies seriously struggle to put into practice the schemes that go ahead like an effectual collaboration within the supply chain.

Contingency Approach of Supply chain Collaboration

Fawcett, et al (2008, pp. 1-20) argued that the contingency theory and force field theory has a great deal of contribution to identifying the primary considerations for supply chain collaboration.

Here the contingency theory could be applied to bring a superior understanding of the dynamics of strategic business alliances and has been argued to be used in the supply chain networks of Kernels Popcorn. Obviously, the contingency agenda would assist to recognize the primary considerations of the supply chain collaboration. The Force field theory would contribute to define the primary considerations and allow interacting with members involving a dynamic impact on supply chain collaboration.

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Within this research paper, the interview process has been engaged to provide a prosperous framework to getting the collaborating data of Kernels Popcorn. The staff of Kernels Popcorn have selected on the starting point of their status of excellence at the supply chain and admired for good conduct as well as best-practice presenters of SCM. To do so 15 supply chain executives and managers have been interviewed with the following questionnaire-

  • Would you consider SCM as an ephemeral management fashion rather than a significant ready for action strategy? Why?
  • What is Kernels Popcorn’s functioning characterization of SCM?
  • Has the Kernels Popcorn begun supply chain collaboration, if so what are the usual benefits?
  • What are the most significant barriers that Kernels Popcorn has come across its supply chain collaboration efforts?
  • What are the major challenges of Kernels Popcorn’s supply chain collaboration?
  • Has Kernels Popcorn would be able to overcome each of the foremost challenges?
  • What are the 2-6 most significant primary considerations of successful supply chain collaboration?
  • How Kernels Popcorn determines and evaluate are the roles of different supply chain members?
  • How forcefully Kernels Popcorn would follow collaboration with members of the chain?
  • How Kernels Popcorn does assists suppliers to get better performance?

Primary considerations for supply chain collaboration

Mentzer et al (2007, p. 2) and Chopra & Meindl (2008, p. 182-198) have mentioned that the development and maintenance of supply chain collaboration would particularly require some primary considerations that would help the companies to save substantial time and effort to facilitate successful collaboration which is as follows-

Common interest: The parties involved in the supply chain and interested in bilateral collaboration would come in a venture that the outcome of the collaboration should keep the ongoing commitment. The common way out produced by their common interest would positively reduce inventory. (Mentzer, et al 2007, pp. 381)

Openness: The parties within the collaboration practice must openly talk about their preparation and procedure. Thus, openness facilitates the companies to share information, which has conventionally well thought-out like propriety. The Openness among the collaborating parties would ensure improved customer service for both companies Cohen, et al (2007, pp 19- 70)

Reciprocated assistance: At the time of assessing the supply chain threats or opportunities, the companies would ask for cross-company resolution. Reciprocated assistance would evidence more competent use of human resources. Chopra & Meindl (2008, pp. 182-198)

Clear expectations: The collaborating parties necessitate understanding what would be expected from this integration and how the other relationships have been maintained. Clear expectations of the companies would strengthen the core competencies for each company. Cohen & Roussel (2005, pp. 291-326)

Leadership: Leadership is very essential to bring the successful outcome of the collaboration among the companies. The dynamic leadership should drive the collaborating companies to evidence faster market of new products, superior public image, enhanced shareholder value, and strong supply chain as a whole. Polychronakis. & Xiang (2008, pp. 1-42)

Cooperation rather than punishmen

This collaboration practice would focus on jointly resolving the inconvenience and threats rather than any blame to each other. Chopra & Meindl (2008, p. 188)

ü Trust: From each level of management as well as functional region the collaborating companies would practice extensive trust to achieve common interest. The greater trust and inter-dependence could ensure a perfect internal and external environment among the rapport of both companies. Childs, et al (2008, p. 17)

Sharing Benefit: Sharing the business pain, operational risks, as well as losses, the real collaborative rapports of the parties, must have to prove. It is a wise way out for the companies to ensure better delivery in the course of the reduced time cycle. (Lambert et al, 1998, p. 8)

The Technology: Mentzer (2008, p. 2) stated that to gain a practical collaborative relationship throughout the supply chain the advanced technology has been considered as one of the primary considerations. He further added that the right technology has a wide speared role through communication and information flows within the supply chain collaboration but without the other primary considerations mentioned above, technology cannot bring any successful outcome.

A straight line and ultimate evaluation of all the primary considerations pointed out above finally affect the bottom line of the supply chain collaboration and when the organizations identify with this, they at once drive to collaborate with the key vendors of their complete supply chain processes. Giménezt & Girl-It (2007, p. 13)

SAP Integration at Kernels Popcorn

SAP AG (2003) reported that Kernels Popcorn is an enormous retailer with huge outlets in the USA and Canada. The successful implementation of SAP at Kernels Popcorn would move the company by efficient and competitive team learning the foremost SAP accomplishment among eighteen business units with a satisfied customer base. The internal process of Kernels Popcorn would stimulate all inheritance coordination in a particular dependable platform where the succeeding segment of growth has in progress with augmentation of decision-making support capabilities to facilitate Kernels Popcorn business more successfully. The strategic and decision support by integrating SAP, Kernels Popcorn would move conveying major reimbursement to its business and learning has been an indispensable success factor.

Tech Target (2009, pp. 13-18) mentioned that the Kernels Popcorn team worked with SAP US Education Team by means of a very close corporation to expand and carry out a tailored learning program and resulted in extremely exceptional. The team members from the IT department of Kernels Popcorn employees and the most surprising thing is that 50% of the team members have turned into Certified SAP Consultants. The reimbursement has been instantaneous and gone beyond the expectations of management. SAP AG (2003) has quoted a few of the Certified SAP Consultants from the Kernels Popcorn team member mentioning that the fundamental principle of the successful outcomes was basically that the project has followed team learning and the SAP team just has helped to shape their future direction. Consequently, the team members of Kernels Popcorn acquired enormous benefits in terms of generosity from the attendees as well as ideas invention of business specialists, and most of the team members now become software specialists as well.

SAP UK Education Team has been admired Kernels Popcorn’s team learning stating that the learning environment worked predominantly well with the loom that they took in affiliation with Kernels Popcorn was really a balanced, well-organized team learning progression with joined-up education. Within this four-stage program, the technical and business proficiency with the team spirit of the Kernels Popcorn team has helped specifically to short up and prickly knowledge-transfer sittings intended to fit into the entire organization. Their team learning approach spread over a period and encouraged communication among the strands on the condition that enough time to discuss among the groups would make advancement for the organization. The senior managers of Kernels Popcorn were always absent from this workshop but they not only advocates the learners also strongly supported achieving the objectives of the SAP implementation.


Kernels Popcorn should follow both long term and short-term recommendations of this report.

  • It should assess the risks before making a long-term supply relationship with the global industry.
  • Kernels Popcorn has required from $100,001 to $200,000 investment, so it should increase promotion costs to attract more investors;
  • As it is the World’s largest retail popcorn chain selling astonishing flavored popcorn in unique packaging, it should ensure safety and health factors through the production and distribution by eliminating risk issues;
  • Before coming collaboration, it should consider the possible environmental harm;
  • It should not provide attention to educational background or previous experience because only enthusiasm is good enough to make a collaborative relationship.
  • Its franchise fee is $25,000, which should reduce immediately to develop supply chain management;
  • It should develop collaboration with local trade unions, employee representatives, and other agencies for contributing ethical trading via global partnership;
  • It should upgrade its websites;
  • To enhance internal satisfaction and assurance, it should introduce the motto of doing business via the internet;
  • Online payment systems like- PayPal, Google, or credit cards also be useful in offering a “back- end” customer security system
  • The company should publish online electronic brochures to attract more third parties and web users
  • Setting software scheduling plan for providing information to the client with an adequate concern of security along with privacy policy;
  • It should develop the communication system both in internal and external extent concerning corporate suppliers, retailer partner and the local public in relation to the codes of conduct;
  • Kernels Popcorn requires to go forward with economic, ethical, legal, and philanthropic responsibilities for supplying apparel to franchisees.


This present research and interviews demonstrated that the supply chain managers must take hold of the competition and shift their psychology to bilateral cooperation as a core concept of collaboration among the players of a supply chain. As the primary considerations for any further collaboration supply chain managers would emphasize advanced levels of creativity and group efforts, complete cultural and structural alterations more effectively than previous. Thus for Kernels Popcorn, the primary consideration would assist to produce policies, practices as well as procedures of collaboration


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Childs, J., et al (2008). Supply Chain Management: An Investigation of Collaboration in the Grocery Industry, School of Business, University of Southern Maine. P. 1-28. Web.

Chopra, S., & Meindl, P., (2008). Supply Chain Management. 3rd ed. pp. 48-90 & pp. 182-198. Pearson Prentice Hall.

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Neicpopcorn. (2008). 2008 Popcorn Kernel Handbook.Web.

Norbridge (2009). Supply Chain Collaboration – Close Encounters of the Best Kind. Web.

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Wailgum, T. (2008). Supply Chain Management Definition and Solutions. Web.

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