There is evidence that relationships are very important in effective marketing strategies. This article focuses on the relationship that firms need to develop with their suppliers. We propose that effective relationship with suppliers will provide firms with next-generational competitive advantage. Toward this purpose, the article discusses the reasons for the emergence of relationship marketing and the future academic research needed in this area. The article concludes that organizational buying is dramatically shifting from the transaction oriented to the relational oriented philosophy, and will shift from a buying process to a supplier relationship process. This shift toward supplier relationships will change the role, processes, and strategies of firms and, therefore, new areas of inquiry will emerge. These include understanding suppliers as customers; cross-functional supplier teaming; economic value of supplier equity; supply experience curves; hub and spoke organization; bonding with suppliers; global sourcing processes; cross-cultural values in purchasing; cross-national rules and regulations; and service procurement.
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