New Ways of Working Together Part 1 - Collaboration Within and Between Companies
By Camille P. Schuster, Ph.D.
Collaboration is necessary for managing the paradox of increasing efficiency while providing additional consumer value. Good preparation is essential for success. The purpose of this book is to help you prepare for collaborative discussions.
To begin you need to know your own company’s mission, vision, and most valuable consumers. Identifying the mission, vision, and valuable consumers of your potential partner is also important preparation. Next, you need to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business processes and the processes of your potential partner.
Armed with this information you are ready to plan for collaboration. Unlike competitive situations, hoarding information is not the path to power. Like competitive situations, protecting proprietary information is necessary. However, in collaborative discussions it is necessary to share appropriate information to create effective joint strategies.
Sharing information about company mission and product or process objectives is a good place to begin. Both companies know and understand their valuable consumers and have a set of objectives based upon their analysis of strengths and weaknesses. Who are the consumers of the manufacturer who are frequenting the retailer? Sharing information to identify these joint consumers is essential for success. Each company has objectives for the coming year. Which ones can be addressed together? Now you are ready to create a joint strategy that benefits suppliers, retailers, consumers, and shareholders.
As companies begin to share this level of information and successfully complete joint projects, they realize the value of collaboration. One successful project leads to another and the process of collaborative decision-making evolves.
By working through the exercises in this book, you will be ready to engage in collaborative discussions leading to synergistic solutions that create efficiency and consumer value.