Are we beating “collaboration” to death so people are not listening any longer?
In Supply Chain Management and Logistics, we talk about collaboration very often. But, are we saying the word “collaboration”, maybe too often? We feel that collaboration is lacking between the supplier, warehouse, customer/shipper, the logistics provider and the ultimate customer. So many supply chain and logistics professionals say, “The customer only asks for cost reduction and quick delivery.” There is a better way to a “win-win” partnership through collaboration rather than pounding on the table. Some say it will take more time for people to start collaborating. It is in its infant stages. We are not ready for it. But, we should be….
Let’s look at collaboration differently, using a new word: Harmony.
Many people are simplifying their lives and the way that they do business. As we evaluate our priorities we are very aware of how important harmony is in our business relationships. Harmony is not to be taken for granted, nor is the great need for outstanding customer service.
The number one factor in feeling comfortable with any supply chain management or logistics provider is customer service beyond your expectations. If good customer service is lacking, it will ultimately chase you away from whatever business altogether. But if you are able to communicate any problems then it may change the decision that you will make. Communication is vital in being in harmony within the supply chain management and logistics arena with a supply chain, logistics provider, supplier or your customer. Goals, service level agreements (SLA), and key performance indicators (KPIs) should be negotiated and resolved so that all parties in harmony are marching to the same sheet of music.
Both the client and service provider have an obligation to meet a need. Basically, your service provider needs you to pay them and you need them to fill a need that your business has. Often times, issues can be dealt with proactively, to keep everything running smoothly. In this case, the business doesn’t have to spend the resources in looking for another service provider, and it helps the service provider do a better job overall.
There is a big benefit for everyone in having harmony in business relationships, and especially when it comes to supply chain management and logistics. With harmony, there isn’t a risk of lack of communication and therefore the needs of everyone in the supply chain are met, especially customer needs and wants. A win-win relationship is formed when all parties are willing and able to share respect and appreciation.
One thing that is constant in life is change. Be ready for changes to occur in your supply chain and deal with them as a team. Adjust where need be, to the advantage of all parties.
“If you wish to live in harmony, you must respect every person and, in non-essential matters, yield!”
― Dada J.P. Vaswani
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