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Harnessing the power of supplier collaboration

Harnessing the power of supplier collaboration

At PLM global we like to think that we are a very innovative bunch. Our ability to supply, repair, maintain, buy back and even recycle hand held capture devices, mobile print and EPoS hardware is only possible because we have stayed focussed on exactly what matters to the customers who trust us with their business.

In the quest to provide a truly comprehensive service which considers the needs of every client, we have not only harnessed the best technology out there, but we have also worked closely with our OEMs and suppliers to keep abreast of new technological developments, discuss progressive ideas and find common goals.

Such positive collaborations between suppliers and buyers however are sadly not always guaranteed. There has long been a culture of ‘them and us’ when it comes to sales teams and procurement departments, with the old-school state of permanent negotiation often resulting in a
relationship which is more ‘adversarial’ in nature.

We know, first-hand, how the formation of strong collaborative relationships with key suppliers is essential if either side is to stand any chance of making meaningful improvements, encouraging valuable innovation and, of course, reducing those all-important costs.

Trust can be a powerful tool for growth

Working together demands a high degree of trust, and well-placed trust can result in the swift resolution or timely avoidance of problems. New opportunities too can be identified and created as a deeper understanding of capability is gained. All in all it’s a win-win situation; genuine and open collaboration is almost always a mutually beneficial arrangement and offers rewards for both parties.

There are many examples out there of where forward-thinking companies have reached out to their supplier base to invite participation in projects or indeed to invite their input on what new trends they may, collaboratively, be able to benefit from. Two heads (or three, or four) are certainly better than one, and when trading times are challenging, sharing capabilities and innovations really can result in competitive advantage.

What’s the secret to creating a meaningful collaboration?

Well, depending on the starting point there are a few steps required and the first of these may be a change of mind-set. Successful collaboration requires buy-in from both sides and this may mean that the buyer/supplier relationship needs some form of recalibration – a readjustment to allow the trust to build.

When there’s trust then there is a far higher likelihood that information will be shared, even that of a competitively sensitive nature. Of course, in order for the sharing to take place, there also needs to be clear channels of communication and an understanding of how exactly the respective teams can work together. Thankfully, cloud-based applications have made this particular aspect of collaboration so much easier and secure than ever before.

Finally, as with any shared project, the setting of responsibilities, time-scales and desired objectives is essential – a task which in itself may form the first collaborative exercise. And it goes without saying that both sides of the supplier-buyer ‘superteam’ must pull their weight – it is after all a two-way relationship.

If long-term stability, cost competitiveness and operational improvement are on you wish list then we say collaboration with key suppliers is most definitely for you. Yes, effort and time may be required from both parties and perhaps even the allocation of budget and resources, but the end result will undoubtedly be worth it. The alternative is to continue to ignore the power of combined strength and pass up those currently-unattainable opportunities.

If you’d like to find out more about how OEM partnerships benefit PLM Global and the customers we serve, then get in touch.

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