Firms fear collaboration

17 May 2000
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18 May 2000 | Liam O'Brien

Collaborative planning is still regarded with suspicion by most logistics companies, despite it being seen by many as vital for remaining competitive, writes Liam O'Brien.

According to a recent survey from Cranfield University School of Management, many firms still think collaboration means incurring more costs and giving away company secrets.

The survey found that 11 per cent of the 295 firms questioned have drawn up a joint plan with their suppliers and only 26 per cent have significant involvement with them.

But there was found to be even less collaboration with customers than suppliers, with 10 per cent of firms having a joint plan with their customers and 22 per cent having significant involvement with them.

The survey, Intelligent Logistics: Adding Customer Value in a Changing World, also revealed that the data most commonly shared with suppliers and customers was demand information, followed by order status, inventory and performance information. Financial data is the least likely to be divulged.

John Towriss, Cranfield's director of global logistics and supply chain management, said the findings confirmed that there was little collaboration in UK industry. "When we speak to employers on this issue, we are often met with blank stares. But if you don't become part of a bigger supply chain, you are going to be marginalised," he said.

Rail freight operators, added Towriss, provided an example of how limited collaboration with other sections of the supply chain could result in losses.


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