16 May 2012
Anyone for 'T' at Retail Week's Supply Chain Summit?
Strong partners are the key to successful supply chains. That was the main 'takeaway' from all the speakers at the Retail Week Supply Chain Summit on 15/16 May. As a 3PL that's music to our ears, but we know this takes time, effort and trust.
Managing relationships in a complex world of multichannel and multiformat retailing and navigating the delicate stakeholder landscape, which also includes competitors and 'complementers' (i.e. competitive situations where customers prefer a product or supplier alongside another - think Intel/Microsoft), requires a level of maturity.
Moving partnerships a stage further, the topic of collaboration was high on the agenda. We heard examples of how retailers and their suppliers are starting to move from the theory to the reality of collaboration with presentations from Dan Curran of WorldDutyFree and Wincanton's own Steve Taylor. Professor Richard Wilding of Cranfield talked about the behavioural side of collaborative relationships, saying you have to ease into them gently starting with cooperation, then moving to coordination before getting to collaboration. He recommends starting with 'low risk dates that create value for both parties' - sessions to explore the potential opportunities and build trust.
There has to be a change in mindset and behaviour. We all need to be 'T shaped people' rather than 'I shaped' with our arms outstretched to demonstrate that we understand our own process and the process we're part of. 200 people standing up in the Raddison Blu with their arms out to the sides was a sight to behold indeed! But once the feeling of silliness subsided, we were left to pause for thought - more ready to consider 'WIIFWE' (what's in it for WE).
The Wincanton team