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Harvard Business Review on Managing Supply Chains by Harvard Business Review

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We’re in This Together

by Douglas M. Lambert and A. Michael Knemeyer

WHEN MANAGERS FROM WENDY’S International and Tyson Foods sat down together in December 2003 to craft a supply chain partnership, each side arrived at the table with misgivings. There were those on the Wendy’s side who remembered all too well the disagreements they’d had with Tyson in the past. In fact, just a few years earlier, Wendy’s had made a formal decision not to buy from Tyson again. On the Tyson side, some people were wary of a customer whose demands had prevented the business from meeting its profit goals.

A few things had changed in the meantime, or the companies wouldn’t have been at the table at all. First, the menu at Wendy’s had shifted with consumer tastes—chicken ...

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