On the Fourth Day of X-Mas (Collaboration)

On the fourth day of X-Mas
my blogger gave to me
four little words,
tri-focal lens,
two boxing gloves,
and a lesson in strategy.

One of my favorite presentation titles at eyefortransport‘s recent Supply Chain Directions Summit in the San Francisco Bay Area was Coca Cola’s presentation “Winning Together“.

Coca Cola is now making a big push to improve its supply chain through collaboration and information sharing. According to Coca Cola, success depends on:

  • relationships,
  • communications,
  • commitments, and
  • visibility.

Ok, so these words are not so little, but they are fundamentally important. They define a blueprint for successful collaboration between you and your supply chain partners. As outlined in the presentation, the keys to sourcing success are not canned processes or over attention to metrics, but working as a team internally and externally with dedicated partners and by focusing on communication to customers when a shipment is in danger of being late, not on-time percentages, as this allows both parties to work together to resolve a potential problem before it occurs. Strong relationships are the key to success and sustainability – take the time to get it right!

The presenter also made the point that very little information is truly confidential, and that the best way to resolve issues and collaboratively improve supply chain performance is to put everything on the table. Share all relevant information with your partners, and give them anything else they ask for if it will help them help you. This isn’t saying that you should publish all your corporate information on your web site, you can always enter into two-way information protection agreements, but that you should not hold back in sharing with a partner trying to make your operations better.

Note that eyefortransport‘s sister organization, eyeforprocurement has a number of upcoming events next year custom designed for today’s procurement professionals, including the Supplier Management Forum next April in Miami. Registrations received before year’s end save $400 off of the regular registration rate and those who quote “sourcing innovation” in the discount code field save an additional $100.