The wide range of current buyer-supplier relationships defies simple explanation. At one end of the spectrum, single sourcing has been identified as an ingredient of Japanese manufacturing success, yet has not been universally adopted, even in Japan. Relatively few firms truly follow W.Edwards Deming’s call for a ‘long-term relationship of loyalty and trust’ (Deming 1988). Source reduction practices and dual sourcing (Ramasesh et al., 1991) have been advocated as alternatives to single sourcing, with an emphasis on the stability of the supplier base (Morgan and Dowst 1988). Single sourcing with a well-qualified backup supplier is another realistic option (Galt and Dale 1991).