The International Centre for Dispute Resolution (the international division of the American Arbitration Association) has developed an online program for the resolution of large numbers of small disputes that typically arise between manufacturers and suppliers. The Manufacturer/Supplier Online Dispute Resolution (MSODR) Program was developed to handle disputes over purchase orders involving small monetary claims. It was first implemented in 2009 as a pilot program for Florence, Italy-based GE Energy and its suppliers.
This new program is very interesting in two ways. Firstly, because it favors online means of alternative dispute resolution, which are becoming increasingly popular. Secondly, because it addresses a rather frequent kind of conflicts: conflicts which arise from commercial relations between manufacturers and suppliers. In my book “Marca do distribuidor e responsabilidade por produtos” (Private label and liability for products) – Almedina, Coimbra, 2009 – I analyze the relationship which is established between producers and sellers of private label products. This is a very special kind of relation, based in very long and detailed contracts. I believe that we ought to adapt ADR mechanisms to different kinds of legal relations. We should not face different problems with a “one size fits all” attitude. Instead, ADR developers should take into account the nature of the problems they are dealing with. That will allow us to create “custom-tailored” solutions. Citizens and companies will benefit from the use of different and creative approaches.