In today's volatile global marketplace, firms should pursue flexible asset distribution and high-quality, low-cost manufacturing operations simultaneously. Previous studies have examined the relationships between supplier management-related variables and market performance with cross-sectional data; however, little guidance is available for newly internationalizing ventures aiming to build a global supply chain network from scratch. To shed light on this dynamic process, we examine Uniqlo's successful supply chain development in China, using longitudinal contextual data. Our findings show that Uniqlo went through discrete dynamic stages in its supply chain development efforts. First, Uniqlo, initially a small firm, developed relational governance with its suppliers by exercising dynamic economic power concentration over time. Second, it began to provide technical support to help its suppliers build competence with the aim of increasing their cooperation. Third, Uniqlo enforced compulsory nonexclusivity arrangements with suppliers to achieve supplier flexibility by not just having Uniqlo as primary customer. This provides relational flexibility through both relational governance and partner flexibility for the principal firm in the global supply chain development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas