Look beyond your company’s borders and discover an untapped collaboration resource.
When they hear the word “collaboration”, many executives think of a phenomenon that happens only in brainstorming sessions and long meetings. And while breaking down silos is important for keeping everyone on the same page, not enough businesses look beyond their walls – to their partners and suppliers – for ideas and insights that could accelerate revenue and growth.
Perhaps the most obvious advantage of external collaboration is fresh perspective. Your partners see and understand your business from a different angle, resulting in data and observations that your internal staff may never have discovered on their own. So how can you explore and leverage this resource in order to demonstrate that B2B partnerships improve supply chains?
Ready to start growing your business through collaboration? Download our free ebook, Building strategic alliances in the US market.
Why is collaboration important and how do B2B partnerships improve supply chains?
Business today is global, digital and always on. To prosper and grow in this fast-moving environment, businesses need be innovative, adaptable to market changes and responsive to customer needs.
Collaborating closely with your suppliers and partners, who may have skills and resources complementary to your own, can make this much easier. Reasons to collaborate include:
- An exchange of ideas, in areas such as product development, marketing and HR, can foster innovation and game-changing insights.
- B2B partnerships improve supply chains by allowing for the sharing of resources, which results in cost savings and efficiency gains.
- It can involve an exchange of skills and technologies, which enables your business to keep up with industry best practices and technological advances.
- It creates a more stable and efficient supply chain, due to each supplier having more insight into the processes and needs of its partner organizations.
- B2B partnerships improve supply chains by simplifying and streamlining line-of-business workflows in order to increase productivity.
- It improves customer satisfaction by giving them faster access to the answers and expertise they need.
In essence, B2B partnerships improve supply chains, and collaboration between a business and a partner or supplier can create something much more impactful than if each party acted in isolation.
It definitely pays to learn the best practices and principles for collaboration within your own industry. That way you can set the most appropriate goals and standards for your company. Learn more about the power of benchmarking.
Steps for a successful collaboration
A collaboration with another business can be a daunting prospect – after all, it often means sharing a significant amount of information about your processes, financials and customers with an outside party. Here are some strategies to help ensure its success.
Open communication channels early
The success of a business is often built on its relationships. Do you envision a possible future collaboration? Reach out to them, in person or via social media, so that when it’s time to discuss working together, you won’t be strangers.
Treat everyone as equals
The most successful collaborations tend to be democratic, where important decisions are consensus driven rather than dictatorial. A good way to maintain a healthy collaboration is to rotate the leadership of a project back and forth between each party.
Establish key objectives and KPIs
Ensure both parties are in agreement about the desired outcome of the collaboration and how its success will be measured. A balanced scorecard can help you to clarify the objectives and corresponding performance indicators of the partnership.
Set clear boundaries and responsibilities
Make it clear who is the primary expert in each area, and put it in writing as part of the partnership agreement. This ensures that each party is focusing on its own strengths, and it limits your liability to the areas you are explicitly responsible for.
Establish an agreed timeline
What delivery dates, turnaround times and other key milestones are involved in the collaboration? Make sure these are included in your project plan when it’s signed off by both parties.
Get a collaboration platform up and running
Utilise technology at your disposal and connect with potential partners and collaborators through a platform like Powerlinx. Partnerships are no longer just about handshakes over a boardroom table, use the data and technology that’s available in the market and streamline the way you find and connect with partners.
A productive collaboration requires work and commitment. But when done right, it can build trust, drive innovation and create business growth.
To find out more, download our free ebook, Building strategic alliances in the US market.
By Matt Meakins