Collaborating with customers, suppliers and partners is a win-win-win for all involved. Feedback is immediate and innovation is an outcome that helps business flourish.

Collaboration is pivotal to success for manufacturers and distributors. Supply chains are connected to a larger degree than ever before.  Global is commonplace.  Customers and manufacturers talk frequently.  Suppliers collaborate with manufacturers on developing new products.  Collaborative planning, forecasting and VMI programs are commonplace.  In many industries such as aerospace and distribution, they are a “must”.  Consumers have gained a more powerful voice with social media.  Feedback is immediate.  The bottom line is that collaboration has evolved from a fluffy concept to a vital and pragmatic one.

Certainly, collaboration arises on a daily basis in my consulting practice.  More and more, I am on a webinar or conference call with my client and other partners, collaborating for a win-win-win.  For example, to design and implement any major initiative, it is likely you’ll involve customers, suppliers, ERP partners, logistics partners and the like.  Thus, we should take advantage of opportunities to improve our collaboration capabilities – AND to collaborate more often.  I’ve taken this to heart with my affiliations:

  • Ontario (ONT) ProVisors – a group of trusted advisors (advisors who support commercial businesses such as CPAs, attorneys, and commercial bankers). These types of professionals can make or break success.  Just ask anyone who delayed in protecting critical intellectual property.
  • Innovations Committee for MCIE (Manufacturers Council of the Inland Empire)’s Manufacturing Summit. Innovation is all about collaboration!
  • APICS Inland Empire Chapter – APICS is the #1 trade association for supply chain and operations professionals and spans the supply chain from executives to shop floor workers and from your customers’ customers to your suppliers’ suppliers.
  • Harvey Mudd executive roundtable – I facilitate this group with my colleague Kash Gokli, the head of Harvey Mudd’s manufacturing program. We are creating an invitation-only community of Southern CA business executives.
  • ACA Group – I am part of this alliance of consultants with significant supply chain and operations expertise. We collaborate on client projects to provide a team with deep bench strength and diversity to cover a vast array of services to meet our client’s full scope of needs.
  • 180 Systems Alliance – I am a part of this alliance of ERP consultants who are known to “consultants without bias” to partner with clients to help them select the optimal system for their needs.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you to think more about collaboration.  The great news is that there is a GREAT opportunity coming up to collaborate on emerging supply chain trends at APICS-IE’s executive panel and networking symposium.  We welcome you to join us on April 30th at Eagle Glen golf club in Corona.