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Professor David Ford
Professor David Ford

Internal News - 25 October 2007

Honorary degree for researcher who improved customer-supplier relations

A researcher who has developed a worldwide system for improving the way companies interact with customers and suppliers has been awarded an honorary Doctorate degree from Uppsala University in Sweden.

Professor David Ford of the School of Management was a co-founder of the Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Group, which began work in 1976.

The group has developed a theoretical model of buyer-supplier relationships which concludes that the high cost and complexity of technology had made companies so dependent on one another that the market is not as free as previously theories assumed.

Instead, buying and selling in industrial markets could only be understood as networks of complex and often long-standing relationships between customers and their suppliers, and these need to be managed in different and innovative ways.

The IMP Group now has several hundred members from 43 countries, who have written over 1100 papers and more than 30 books on managing in complex networks. Members are consulted by businesses from around the world.

“It’s an honour to be recognised by such a prestigious university as Uppsala," said Professor Ford, who receives the award at the end of the year.

“This has been very much a team effort and I like to think it is the work of the team that is being recognised.”