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The Power Regime Perspective: Choosing the Appropriate Competitive Strategy in Food and Farming Supply Chains

Andrew Cox

Dan Chicksand

Paul Ireland
This SECOND article, of a SERIES OF FIVE, contends that lean and collaborative strategies for food and farming are based on erroneous general assumptions about these industries. The first article in this series analysed the latest advice for businesses in the food and farming industry on how to achieve sustainable and profitable production in the face of foreign competition. It also introduced the Power Regimes Methodology. This article develops our arguments about the detrimental consequences of the current preference for lean approaches by demonstrating that an over-reliance on cost leadership within the pig industry has resulted in the erosion of profitability and quality and has not led to competitive advantage. It is argued that farming businesses need to understand their position in a specific supply chain and adopt a competitive strategy that can ring-fence an acceptable return rather than slavishly follow the latest management fad. Participants in this industry—just as in any other industry—need to understand the full range of strategic options open to them. They need to decide at the very least whether they should be pursuing cost leadership or brand differentiation.



The Power Regime Perspective: Power and Business Choices in Food and Farming Supply Chains

Andrew Cox

Dan Chicksand
This article is the FIRST of a SERIES OF FIVE that considers the latest advice for businesses in the food and farming industry to achieve sustainable and profitable production in the face of foreign competition. This first article introduces the Power Regimes Methodology, developed by the CBSP at Birmingham University Business School. This approach offers a way of thinking about how businesses can compete effectively in red meat, dairy and horticulture, as well as in other types of supply chains. The Power Regimes Methodology analyses supply chains, in terms of dyadic power relationships throughout the chain. The balance of power within a supply chain shapes how it operates and who benefits commercially. Given the increasingly powerful position of multiple retailers this article challenges current thinking and government advice that favours collaboration as a ‘win’ for all participants in food and farming supply chains and suggests alternative strategies that may be more appropriate for, in particular, actors within the chain.



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