Business networks are biological
Networks competing with networks is the future for supply chains. Harvard Professor Marco Iansiti in his book "The Keystone Advantage: What the New Dynamics of Business Ecosystems Mean for Strategy, Innovation and Sustainability" predicts that the future business competition will not be between companies or even supply chains but between networks.
Professor Iansiti likens these networks to biological ecosystems and says that “the hallmark of both a biological and business ecosystem is the way that every members fate is ultimately tied to the health of the network as a whole no matter how fit an individual member appears to be.”
In other words you can't make it by yourself no matter how big, fast or strong you are!
He then goes on to explore the analogy of keystone species in nature who play central roles in holding entire ecosystems together hence the books title:
The Keystone Advantage: What the New Dynamics of Business Ecosystems Mean for Strategy, Innovation and Sustainability (Harvard Business School Press, 2004)
He goes on the identify two other key network roles in addition to keystones - dominators and niche players and suggests that the vital strategic question for any company in a network is what is the right role for them to play.