Collaboration – from micro to enterprise

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When to start collaborating across your supply chain?

Collaboration is certainly not the preserve of large enterprise. Small and medium size companies can benefit greatly by implementing a few fundamental steps designed to increase efficiency throughout the supply chain.

Collaboration is defined in the Cambridge English Dictionary as being ‘the situation of two or more people working together to create or achieve the same thing’. So, do you believe you truly collaborate with colleagues or associates across your supply chain, on a daily or weekly basis? Alternatively, do you pass them off as people that simply work elsewhere? Or perhaps people that have little or no involvement in what you do with no shared objectives? We have seen that this is often the case, yet supply chain collaboration is critical for the future success of businesses everywhere.

Collaboration = effective operations
Greater collaboration across the supply chain enables more sophisticated, more complex, yet more efficient operations. Transparency and open communication are two hugely enabling first steps for fostering supply chain collaboration. This is the perfect way to begin to create a chain of collaborators all working together rather than alongside or against each other – or most typically, having very little at all to do with each other!

Of course, it’s far easier to talk about supply chain collaboration than to achieve it – and it will take time and new processes – as with any change management. Here are some initial pointers that we have selected to help you build a structure as part of collaboration planning for your company, and its supply chain suppliers and partners:

Transparent tactical transacting
Communicate regularly and tactically, consider sharing transactional data such as invoices, credit and debit notes, payments and purchase orders, clarity of P2P process flow.

Management information sharing
Think of transparency around production forecasts, capacity planning, Impact assessments, bills of materials, production and transportation plans, inventory and pricing, marketing materials.

Strategic, joint planning
Get heads together for joint planning, share goals, strategic relationships and profitability, pricing plans, and sales and operations planning, project and spend pipelines.

Clearly, there are many more elements to mention than we have included in this post. However, the benefits of implementing even some of these, stretch far and wide, including cash flow forecasting, resource planning, stock out optimisation, shorter lead times, lower inventory levels, high inventory turns, improved customer service metrics, and increased profit – again there are more than we can mention here! There are indeed many great reasons why you really should look to increase, or to start collaborating across your supply chain.

Identifying all areas for potential collaboration, forming a supply chain strategic plan and making it happen are the real challenges. This is where SK Euroca can help, working with you to create a collaborative working environment across your supply chain.

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