Triads in Supply Networks



A network is made up of nodes and links.  The smallest unit that consists of both of these network elements is a dyad made up of two nodes (a buyer and a supplier) and the link that connects them (a buyer-supplier relationship).  Naturally, the focus of the supply chain management literature has been on this dyad.  However, we argue that a dyad is not the smallest unit of a network.  In fact, the smallest unit is a triad, made up of three nodes and three links.  This talk will first present briefly three examples of triads in supply networks: buyer-supplier-supplier triads, buyer-buyer’s customer-supplier triads, buyer-supplier-buyer triads.  It will then focus on an empirical study of buyer-supplier-supplier triads.  The triadic data are collected from a Fortune 500 company and its suppliers.  To the best of our knowledge, our effort marks the first attempt at collecting data from matching set of a buyer and its two competing suppliers.  Specifically, two suppliers are engaged in sourcing to one common buyer.  The study offers mixed results.  However, it points out unequivocally the need to start considering triads in supply networks.

Contact information:
Prof.dr. J.Y.F. Wynstra