01 October 2009 | Allie Anderson
Keeping contract details and pricing out of day-to-day supplier relationships is the key to successful collaboration.
This is the view of Neil Arnott, head of supply chain at Kwik Fit, and Stewart Jackson, supply chain director at Continental Tyre Group.
Speaking at the eWorld Purchasing and Supply conference in London this week, the pair said good working relationships and human endeavour, rather than contractual details, were the most important factors in building and maintaining a strong partnership.
Jackson said: "It's people who make the difference and will create an open and honest environment for discussion and exchanging ideas. Once we have that trust it really helps the supply chain."
Automotive vendor Continental has been supplying tyres to vehicle and parts repair firm Kwik Fit for six years. Jackson said: "We work in a very complex global market but our supply chain was not very sophisticated at the beginning. We spent the first two or three years getting the basics right.
"You have to keep contracts and pricing out of the relationship. That means we can share confidential information to our mutual benefit."
Arnott added: "Things went from being very transactional to being truly collaborative. The personal relationship we have built embeds into our teams. It starts off with individuals and people."