Building High Performance Business Relationships
In an environment characterized by scarce resources, increased competition, higher customer expectations, and faster rates of change, executives are turning to partnerships to provide sustainable competitive advantage. Partnering provides a way to leverage the unique skills and expertise of each partner and may also “lock out” competitors. Partnerships, however, are costly in terms of the time and effort required. A firm cannot and should not partner with every supplier or customer. It is important to ensure that scarce resources are dedicated only to those relationships which will truly benefit from a partnership. Yet, many organizations become involved in relationships that do not meet management expectations and/or which end in failure. How can managers determine, in advance, if a relationship is one which will result in competitive advantage, and is worthy of the time and resources needed to fully develop into a partnership? Further, all partnerships are not the same. How does management know what type of partnership would provide the best pay-off? These questions may be answered by using the Partnership Model presented in this book. The Partnership Model provides a structured and repeatable process to effectively and efficiently build and maintain tailored business relationships that may become an asset for executives looking for competitive advantage.
“The Coca-Cola Company uses the Partnership Model to structure a discussion of each company's business strategies and the "drivers" of partnership as the launching point for its strategic supplier partnership process. A joint partnership plan is created as a result of this discussion at the partnership meeting. The plan includes 3-5 annual objectives and specific initiatives, which are assigned to an owner at each company. Our partnership management routines ensure that the initiatives get done and we maintain the momentum generated in the partnership meeting.”
— Martha Buffington
Director, Supply Chain Strategy and Program Management, The Coca-Cola Company
What is The Partnership Model?
Click play to watch Dr. Douglas M. Lambert provide a brief answer to this question.
“Through this partnership model, we were able to turn around a relationship that had gotten so bad we had gone several years without doing business and a few involved vowing never to do business again. We were able to learn what our customer really wanted and what they needed. We were able to share our wants and needs as a supplier. We learned that we were really not that far apart. This process manages through individual personalities and allows the business factors to win out. Today, we hold the relationship with this customer as one of our very best. We can be very frank and honest with each other today. We know there are no ulterior motives and we are able to make decisions that work not just for the short term.”
—Bernard F. Leonard
Group Vice President,
Food Service, Tyson Foods