Why Strategic Partnerships Will Dominate the Future
Strategic partnerships are essential to thriving in the new world of work. A lot has changed since the pandemic, and those changes are taking hold in the blink of an eye.
Supply chain transformation is not only ongoing; it’s happening rapidly. One critical element of today’s transforming supply chains is strategic partnerships.
To survive and thrive, businesses must develop new solutions because you can’t solve today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions.
The power of strategic partnerships
Strategic partnerships will set winners apart from losers. It’s that simple. That’s because it all boils down to the old adage: “Two are better than one.”
As you look across your supply chain, you’ll find fifteen capabilities that work better with a strategic partnership than without one. Without further ado, let’s dive into those fifteen capabilities.
- Agility — Working with a partner will help you build an agile supply chain with sense and respond capabilities that can pivot on command. Supply chain management enables your business to respond proactively, not reactively, to unexpected events. Responding proactively saves time and money and helps to meet customer expectations.
- Capacity and pricing — A partner can leverage its expertise, experience, and network to help you get the capacity you need at the best price when you need it. A strategic partnership can help spread and therefore reduce costs equitably.
It can achieve that by optimizing your business processes. Optimized business processes can reduce costs from production to packaging to warehousing and transportation. A strategic partnership also improves supply chain performance that benefits your customers and your organization.
- Complexity — The SCM landscape is becoming more complex with 24×7 operations, increased risk (Covid-19/pandemic, Ever Given, Colonial Pipeline, etc.), and technology. It’s a changing, globalized world that’s reorganizing its sourcing strategies.
Automating routine processes to mitigate labor shortages while meeting consumers’ expectations will drive automation and robotization of warehouses and e-Commerce functions. That will introduce another level of complexity into supply chains.
And that will require a more highly skilled labor force. Hence, your business will need to upskill, re-skill, and cross-train your workforce to overcome increased complexity. Engaging a strategic partner will ease this burden.
4. Compliance — In today’s globalized world, change is the name of the game. A 3PL can help you maintain currency with the latest changes in regional, national and international shipping requirements.
A 3PL already has qualified regulatory and compliance analysts. So it makes sense to leverage existing capabilities of a partner rather than build those special skills in-house.
- Communication and Collaboration — Supply chains are all about communication and collaboration. Without them, supply chains just don’t work.
Seamless communications along your supply chain, from suppliers to your customers, foster collaboration. Working closely with a strategic partner will iron out the kinks you may have now in your communications channel.
Importantly, an adequately implemented effective communication and collaboration system will build trust, further providing for future performance efficiencies and cost savings. You can also expect innovation.
- Customer Responsiveness — Today, customer responsiveness has become the cornerstone of modern supply chains. Strategic planning has been turned on its head, putting the customer at the top and the business at the bottom.
That means the business exists to serve and support customers while generating profits has become secondary. Supply chain management and logistics services are key in addressing customer demand.
They achieve this by providing the right products/services in the right quantity/amount, condition, time, cost, and place to the right customer.
When your business can deliver on the 6 Rights, you will have achieved customer responsiveness. Keeping your customers happy by meeting their expectations will enhance your competitive advantage.
- Data Analytics — Businesses are turning to data-based decision-making in an increasingly complex and uncertain environment. Making decisions based on anecdotal evidence no longer passes muster. Today, decision-makers must make decisions informed by reliable, relevant, and real-time data for standard reporting and ad hoc analysis.
Historical data also play a role in achieving strategic insights into hidden patterns and trends regarding customers and business processes. Therefore, any successful organization must have a robust data analytics capability. Partnering with a 3PL that has a potent data analytics capability facilitates supply chain agility, resilience, and responsiveness.
8. Experience — There is no substitute for experience. Experience comes from prior history and involvement with managing supply chains. Those experiences are comprised of successful and unsuccessful activities. In fact, unsuccessful experiences often teach the best lessons.
By partnering with an experienced 3PL, you’ll avoid repeating mistakes based on your partner’s lessons. You’ll also avoid surprises that can ambush your operations.
9. Expertise — Expertise is an invaluable resource in the New Normal. Expertise is a prized asset because tomorrow’s problems are thornier than those of pre-pandemic times. They’re more complicated and more complex, and they engender greater risk.
Growing global competition, rapid adoption of technology, and rising customer expectations all demand expertise. Hence, partnering with a 3PL can give you the benefit of a firm that brings its supply expertise to bear on your problems.
10. Innovation — Generating new ideas is a key cornerstone for surviving and thriving in the future. Since no organization monopolizes new ideas, partnering with a 3PL to manage your supply chain makes sense.
Working in partnership, you’ll benefit from diverse ideas from different areas of expertise. Integrating those various ideas will lead to faster innovation and increased trust. It will become automatic, simplifying the resolution of your toughest challenges. When that happens, you’ll innovate consistently and often, helping you to sharpen your competitive edge.
11. Resilience —Your supply chain will be more resilient when you partner with a 3PL. Building resilience is a technical competency a competent 3PL can achieve in several ways. Three such ways are data analytics, SCRM, and visibility. See #7, #12, and #15 for an explanation of each one.
Partnering with a qualified 3PL that understands the value of building resilience in your supply chain will position your supply chain for success.
12. Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM) — A 3PL partner can help you develop an SCRM plan that acts like armor, shielding your supply chain from disruptors. It’s an understatement to say that SCRM is critical to your success in the future.
You can’t address every contingency. Doing so would be cost-prohibitive. Therefore, you must analyze how you can best defend your supply chain, keeping it operational while mitigating disruptions and their related costs. You can do that by assessing the probability of expected and unexpected disruptions.
You can also build in a proactive component to your SCRM plan. This is where you can build agility, speed, and resilience into your supply chain. In doing that, you would be creating a more flexible organization—a responsive one that adjusts and adapts to changing conditions.
You can create your SCRM by yourself or make a plan with a strategic partner. Delegating SCRM to a professional 3PL does more than ease your workload. Having a professional 3PL create your SCRM plan ensures both supply chain vulnerabilities and opportunities are addressed.
13. Speed — Savvy consumers who have a fundamental understanding of the capabilities of new technologies make them relentless in their demand for speed. Thanks to the growth of e-commerce, consumers have increased their reliance on online shopping.
So, speed has become a paramount capability. Achieving speed works hand-in-hand with developing agility and resilience. Adaptive and responsive organizations ensure speedy delivery of products/services. Technology, discussed below, enables speedy operations that focus on meeting customers’ high expectations.
14. Technology — A partner can help you automate your supply chain to remove the burden of technology changes while optimizing your supply chain. But implementing technology solutions today is almost as important as selecting the technology you use.
Today’s solutions must present quick wins. They must apply directly to specific issues and concerns. And they must demonstrate an assured ROI.
- Visibility — Visibility or, more accurately, end-to-end visibility, is essential in the New
Normal. This capability gives your business a holistic view that permits you to curtail
issues before they become problems.
Combined with data analytics and a robust SCRM plan, visibility gives your business the edge you need to respond rather than react. And that will help your business stay ahead of the competition.
Strategic partnerships have mutual benefits.
In the New Normal, going it alone, at worst, will fail. At best, your business will struggle to survive in an environment of heightened competition, increased volatility, and greater uncertainty.
To combat these challenges, your business must become adept at operating in a dynamic marketplace. That entails dealing with risk, complexity, and chaos with steadiness.
If you’re looking for a reliable strategic partner to help you with your supply chain, you should look at American Global Logistics.
The future belongs to businesses that seek strategic partnerships.
You can contact us here to learn more about the benefits of forming a strategic partnership.