CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
December 15, 2017
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Study finds 10 ways to improve supply chain collaboration

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A report from research firm SpendEdge report says companies need to pick their partners carefully.

Companies that are looking for ways to streamline their supply chains need to pick their partners carefully in order to tap into the benefits of collaboration, a procurement industry analyst firm said Friday.

Improving supply chain collaboration can deliver business returns such as fostering innovation, reducing costs, increasing business opportunities, and establishing long-term success, according to the report from market intelligence firm SpendEdge, a London-based company with U.S. offices in Elmhurst, Ill.

Achieving that collaboration can be hard to do, however, so SpendEdge has compiled its "List of Top 10 Ways to Implement Supply Chain Collaboration." Those best practices include:

  • Select your partners carefully. Consider things other than size when selecting a partner for supply chain collaboration, looking also at value, common interests, shared strategies, infrastructure, and processes.
  • Collaborate in areas of shared stability or success instead of trying to fill in gaps or compensate for weaknesses.
  • Define the terms and extent of the collaboration, such as what the collaboration will consist of, the time period that it will cover, and how it will be executed
  • Identify mutual goals by considering what you and your partners want to achieve: Increasing profits? Entering new markets? Lowering acquisition costs? Improving logistics management?
  • Use sophisticated benefit-sharing agreements where both parties can profit equally, albeit in different ways.
  • Adopt a joint performance management system, agreeing on metrics and methods such as sharing the same performance management system, supply chain software, and procurement operations solutions.
  • Optimize your workforce and infrastructure, ensuring that all partners have the right staff, resources, and organizational systems to succeed.
  • Engage in long-term collaboration between enterprises, as opposed to shorter-lived individual operations, so partners can foster innovation through long-term investments.
  • Ensure successful communication, sharing any issues or obstacles encountered at any stage of the supply chain and working together to eliminate them.
  • Establish sustainable funding, agreeing on costs over the pre-determined time frame.

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