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Managing Collaborative Relationships In a Crisis: My Five Key Takeaways

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Peru Consulting 22 Apr 2020 Time to read: 

It was a privilege to be asked to be a guest panellist at the recent Global Sourcing Association webinar, “Managing Collaborative Relationships In a Crisis”. All of the panellists were asked for their key take-aways from the event, here are mine:

Stay Close To Your Customers

During times of disruption its more important than ever to stay close to your customers and understand their (quite possibly) changing needs – at the end of the day disruption is essentially about change – suppliers who are inattentive to their customers changing requirements during times of disruption are those who are most likely to get left behind… I would call it the “what happened there?” effect.

Flexibility is Key

Flexibility is key when it comes to contractual rights and obligations in your supply chain contracts – In the normal course of commercial relationships I’ve seen both extremes of contract management, from customers who file their contracts away and largely forget about their rights and obligations to clients who manage their contracts to the letter and have established sophisticated processes and governance for obligations management. However, the reality is that if both parties to a commercial agreement are willing to be flexible, contracts typically have a number of mechanisms to support this in a structured, transparent, and auditable way, for example, contract change and waiver provisions.

Act Tactical, think Strategic

Act tactical, think strategic – During these uncertain times, many organisations are understandably looking to batten down the hatches, with a focus on cost reduction and keeping cash in the business etc., however out of adversity comes innovation. Those that use times of disruption to innovate and consider how they can strategically re-position themselves for the “new normal” are those that are most likely to thrive.

Bad Behaviour Won’t Be Forgotten

Don’t believe that people will forgive and forget bad behaviour during these times, I’ve personally already started making a list of services that, in the “new normal”, I will not continue to use and those I will use more of based on how suppliers and service providers have behaved… this includes at least one sternly worded letter to an industry regulator as some sectors have demonstrated such risk averse postures – almost in fear of the shadow of their regulators – that they are actually creating more risk than they are mitigating.

Collaborate to Succeed

Almost 20 years ago a not for profit organisation, the Myelin Repair Foundation (which was established to identify drug treatments for MS) pioneered the Accelerated Research & Collaboration (ARC) model to accelerate the development of drug trials through global collaboration between charities and biotech and pharmaceutical companies. The scale and scope of worldwide scientific collaboration over the last 20 years has seen research and development timescales reduced by orders of magnitude – research into vaccines that might have previously taken over a decade is now condensed into months. Consider the opportunities to collaborate in your own lines of business to accelerate research and development and share best practice. Start thinking of other businesses operating in your industry vertical as potential collaborators not competitors.

At Peru Consulting we have a wide range of services to help IT suppliers and service providers collaborate with both their customers and their supply chains to create win-win outcomes and thrive in the “new normal”.

To find out more about our range of services tailored specifically for suppliers and service providers please read our ‘What Customers What – How to Thrive in Times of Disruption’ article here.

To find out more about our overall sourcing and commercial services, capabilities and experience visit our Sourcing & Commercial service page.

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