Clause 4 – Strategic – Developing a collaborative strategy


Clause 3: Awareness | Clause 5: Internal Assessment

This stage helps you establish a platform of knowledge on which to develop a programme for building relationships. Having identified the potential for collaboration, the next steps are to develop specific strategies and risk management that will deliver the required outcomes.

  • What do you want to achieve?
  • Do you have the skills to support the complexities of these integrated approaches?
  • How to manage knowledge and information flows?
  • What will your customers and markets make of a collaborative approach?
  • Who could you partner with?
  • What would be the impact of withdrawing from collaboration?
  • Most importantly what do the specific risks look like?

Every relationship is different. However, the most important issues will be common to most. BS 11000 captures these key factors to provide a common and consistent foundation.

Key Components

Develop specific business strategy

While there may be many common factors, each relationship will likely have varying drivers which will shape the relationship. It is crucial to understand these and ensure they are transparent to the organisation and stakeholders. As the relationship progresses these must remain at the fore as they will influence every aspect of the development. It is important to consider the available resources to support a collaborative programme. The drivers can include:

  • Resource enhancement
  • Skills and technology
  • Cost reduction
  • Risk mitigation
Establish knowledge management processes

One of the significant benefits of collaboration is the ability to share knowledge with partners. This also creates a challenge for many organisations to identify what can and can’t be shared. Having a clear focus on this up front will avoid clashes later.

Establish objectives, strategy, business case and identify potential collaborative organisations

From this point you now start to develop the strategy that will drive the process forward. It should include matters such as organisational structure, business processes, the business environment and the people and resources required to deliver the programmes.

Understanding the dynamics of the market is important. Consider how customers and suppliers may view the collaboration.

Having the concept is one thing but you have to consider who might be collaborative partners. Of the existing supplier base, think about who might have an appetite for change and respond to a new, more collaborative, way of working. It can be useful at this stage to consider adopting the Kraljic model.

Establish initial exit strategy

Part of the strategy should include the implications of exiting the relationship at some point. This is not simply having a method for termination but should incorporate transition and acquiring key assets or knowledge. This may highlight key aspects that must be part of the overall plan for implementation (e.g. ownership of intellectual property).

Incorporate relationship management with risk management processes

As the strategy is refined there should be a more detailed analysis of the specific risk profile, highlighting issues that need to be addressed jointly with potential partners.

Business continuity and CSR are two aspects which can frequently be overlooked. With greater integration between organisations, you should evaluate the impacts of a breakdown of the relationship and how the business would be maintained.

In addition, as partners may now be seen as synonymous with your organisation, think about how that might affect internal sustainability policies and the organisations’ visions and values. This is particularly important for high-profile organisations who will be held responsible for the sustainability issues in the supply chain.