University of Oulu

Hänninen, K., Muhos, M. and Haapasalo, H. (2021) ‘How small enterprises manage unexpected customer requests in B2B sales’, Int. J. Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Vol. 44, No. 4, pp. 452–469.

How small enterprises manage unexpected customer requests in B2B sales

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Author: Hänninen, Kai1; Muhos, Matti1; Haapasalo, Harri2
Organizations: 1Micro-Entrepreneurship Centre of Excellence, Kerttu Saalasti Institute, University of Oulu, Pajatie 5, FI-85500, Nivala, Finland
2Industrial Engineering and Management, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 4610, FI-90014, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Inderscience, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-12-13


This article analyses upstream supply chain practices in small enterprises to determine how firms manage unexpected customer requests in business-to-business (B2B) sales situations. A small company’s offer often fails to satisfactorily meet a customer’s needs in B2B sales situations. In such situations, an upstream supply chain network plays an important role in advancing B2B sales negotiations. The selection of a new supplier is crucial if the existing supplier network is not able to respond within an acceptable amount of time. In small firms, well-managed supplier networks can ensure fast delivery. Selecting a new supplier during sales negotiation could be risky; however, potential risks could be mitigated by having a core group of suppliers who can expeditiously fulfil requests.

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Series: International journal of entrepreneurship and small business
ISSN: 1476-1297
ISSN-E: 1741-8054
ISSN-L: 1476-1297
Volume: 44
Issue: 4
Pages: 452 - 469
DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2021.119732
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
Funding: This study was carried out as a collaborative effort by the RapidPRO II Project funded by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (TEKES), MikroY Project funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and with collaboration with the University of Maryland (UMD), College Park, Mechanical Engineering, Maryland, USA, and the University of California (UCSD), Rady School of Management, La Jolla, California, USA. We appreciate the companies involved in the study for sharing their experiences.
Copyright information: Copyright © 2021 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.