Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate V

Recently, Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), Supply Chain Management Review (SCMR), and Michigan State University (MSU) released the Fifth Annual Global Survey of Supply Chain Progress.

The report measured the performance of firms along eight dimensions of supply chain competence:

  • Alignment with Business Strategy
  • Strategic Customer Integration
  • Strategic Supplier Integration
  • Cross-Functional Internal Integration
  • Supply Chain Responsiveness
  • Planning & Execution Process & Technology
  • Supply Chain Rationalization / Segmentation
  • Risk Management

The report found that the less mature companies needed to focus on greater collaboration with business partners and pay more attention to areas of weakness. Another mark of leaders was greater strategic alignment and significant, positive, involvement of top managers.

But I think it’s pretty obvious that collaboration is the ultimate key. What better way to mutually identify and improve the areas of weakness? What better way to improve strategic alignment? What better way to maximize the positive involvement of management? Furthermore, without collaboration, you’ll never truly achieve strategic integration between customers, suppliers, or internal departments.

So you want to achieve collaboration, but aren’t sure how to sell it? A recent CAPS Research study by Stanley Fawcett, Gregory Magnan, and Jeffrey Ogden, as summarized in How to Manage Supply Chain Collaboration, puts forward a three step process to identify and compare the benefits, barriers and bridges to assess and communicate the viability of pursuing a path toward collaborative advantage. The three stages are as follows:

  • Introspection
    A company’s orientation and philosophy consists of two building blocks: customer orientation and systems thinking orientation.
  • Supply Chain Design
    A five step process: scan, map, cost, manage competency, and rationalize
  • Supply Chain Collaboration Relationship alignment, information sharing, performance measurement, people empowerment, and collaborative learning.

By figuring out where your company is, and then working your way through a proper supply chain design planning exercise, you’ll be in a position to align your relationships, share information, measure your performance, and progress collaboratively.