Embrace the 'business collective' to boost your supply chain

Most organisations are missing the opportunity to develop business via collaborative working, according to a report.

In a white paper DHL identified a new collaborative business model which focuses on working with partners to develop a more complete picture of business challenges and solutions.

It said some businesses were working this way but according to a survey that it carried out, 70% of business were only at the early stages of adopting this business model.

The report said most organisations still conducted business as separate entities, interacting transaction by transaction. However, it concluded that this way of doing business was changing and that organisations should come together to align on a shared mission and competitive strategy.

The white paper, by Lisa Harrington, president of the lharrington group, was commissioned by DHL to identify the opportunities of adopting this transformational business model.

Harrington said that leading companies were recognising the need to do business differently. “CEOs and supply chain managers are asking one of the most pressing business questions: how can we work together to win in the global marketplace?” said Harrington.

“Many companies are now realising that thanks to new technologies, combined with new management science, it is possible to identify challenges and develop collective solutions. It is outdated to adopt an inside-out approach to the world of business that is informed only by your own business’s perception and capabilities.”

A survey conducted alongside the white paper showed that although a small number of companies were starting to embrace the “business collective” approach, more than 70% of businesses were either only starting to explore new partnering models or were still partnering at a transactional level.

Under the old transactional model, companies approached business from an “inside-out” perspective with a single lens, DHL said, while the new “outside-in” approach involved partners collaborating to develop a more complete picture of challenges and solutions.

It identified several stages of adopting the new business model, with the least “mature” stage including using outside experts to review operations with a view to streamlining them, while more developed stages included multiple organisations coming together to solve a problem collectively. Only 5% of organisations in DHL’s survey claimed to have reached a fully integrated partnering model with customers.

Damian Pike, vice president, innovation & transformation at DHL Supply Chain, said: “No longer are businesses able to face competition through an ‘us versus them’ lens,” he said “The customer is the focal point for the predictive enterprise, and the business collective is the means to serve them. By serving customers as a single entity, with a predictive mindset, businesses can create shared benefit for everyone.”

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