Collaborating with competitors : value through coopetition in the New Zealand forest industry : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Supply Chain Management at Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand
The purpose of this research is to investigate the scale of possibility for coopetition to be applied
to the logistics activities in the export log supply chain in New Zealand. The research ascertains
there are financial benefits of approximately $200million to the industry from cooperating in port
logistics and shipping activities while continuing to compete in other sectors of the chain. The
research tests to see if the existing theory on barriers and facilitators applies in this case study.
Two research methods were used: 1. Qualitative interviews with exporters to probe for specific
factors that support or hinder coopetition adaptation. 2. Quantitative research looking at
financial implications, involving data collection from industry, building a simulation model, and
simulating four degrees of coopetition adoption.
The research identifies that small levels of cooperation between exporters can produce the most
cost reduction benefits, with decreasing returns to scale through further collaboration attempts.
As well as providing overall cost reductions the research indicates that there is a significant
reduction in cost volatility by collaboration in shipping and logistics. While exporters used various
terminology the themes that emerged, through semi-formal interviews, the barriers and enablers
that were identified in this context relate closely to those models of other authors. The alignment
of the physical world in time and space, the connection between strategic business models and
relevant levels of autonomy and risk and the alignment of values, history and ability to
communicate with relationship and their cost were all found to be significant factors that could
both enable or disable cooperation between competitors in this case. Levels of trust and
communication were found to be generally low in the log export industry the input of an
independent third party may assist in supporting cooperation. The research concludes that there
is potential for at least small and medium sized players in the industry to adopt some level of
coopetition to reduce costs in the supply chain. However, the findings indicated that there are
significant invisible costs associated with coopetition outside of the operational costs. The full
cost of building and maintaining relationships required for it to persist still needs to be
investigated further. These factors should be considered when analysing the savings as they may
easily erode any gains made through coopetition.