What takes a partner or vendor relationship to the level of a true collaboration? And what are the benefits of collaboration? Let’s discuss.
The consumer goods industry is always changing and the brands, retailers and vendors in this space have their work cut out for them. One way they can lessen the load is to lean on partners that they can trust.
A partnership will only work if both parties are aligned on the same goal. If your company is striving to get the job done right and satisfy customers, but your partner is striving to get the job done quickly and at the expense of quality, then the partnership has hit a roadblock. Someone will be left with disappointing results at the bottom line.
Oftentimes, effective agreement lifecycle management can alleviate these issues. Stefan Hilger, a member of the gicom executive board, explained his best practices for improving these conversations for 2021 on his LinkedIn page.
But what takes a partner or vendor relationship to the level of a true collaboration? And what are the benefits of collaboration? Let’s discuss.
How Can You Benefit from Collaboration?
In the tumultuous retail industry we’re experiencing today, flexibility is critical to success. New challenges are coming up every day, and if you don’t adapt you won’t succeed.
One way to maximize benefits of a successful collaboration is to automate the agreement lifecycle management process. This will strengthen efficiency by removing manual processes like approvals, data exchanges, agreement and contract reviews and more, that can lead to errors and waste valuable time. Additionally, automated platforms also reduce unnecessary costs by giving both parties access to the up-to-date information needed to make a major business decision.
Overall, automated collaboration software creates significant value for both parties – the retailer and the supplier – so all agreements and negotiations can be exchanged through a common platform with one source of truth.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the consumer goods industry and some examples of where collaboration would have lessened the impacts of “unprecedented” disruptions.
1. Supply Chain Visibility
Just recently the supply chain was interrupted by rolling power outages in China, increased COVID-19 cases in Vietnam and more. The best way to keep issues like these out of the customer’s experience is to improve transparency and visibility with partners.
With increased visibility comes increased agility. If you can foresee a problem or are alerted to it right away, you can pivot to back-up suppliers or get the news out to customers quickly, so they aren’t blindsided when their delivery is late. If your partners are transparent with you, you can be transparent with your buyers.
2. Differentiation from Competitors
E-commerce shopping adoption accelerated during COVID-19, creating a more competitive landscape for online brands. Your success comes down to your value proposition and how your brand stands out.
If you want to offer faster shipping than your competitors or the lowest price, this often comes down to how you manage your agreement lifecycle. Flexible agreements made possible by open communication between partners, give you the opportunity to deliver on customer promises by working with your partners to renegotiate deals, not against.
Partners that are devoted to creating the best customer experience and enhancing the value proposition will improve the bottom line for all parties.
3. Adaptability for Changing Customer Behavior
Customer preferences change all the time. During the height of COVID-19, home decorations and athleisure categories experienced a surge in demand. As a result, the brands that could pivot their assortments to prioritize these categories had higher profit margins than those that didn’t.
In addition, there were brands that leaned into new technology innovations and discovered new markets that could be reached with omnichannel advancements. For example, some retailers found new potential customers as a result of offering BOPIS or improved delivery options.
In each scenario, your partners should be able to adapt to innovative business shifts and continue to meet your needs without missing a beat. Once there is a seamless, integrated process for negotiation amid disruption via a “joint link”, both parties are in a better position to make faster decisions, agree on special/promotion offers and ensure that no agreement (and no money) gets lost.
With a true collaboration comes open communication about what each party needs. With your current partners, are they open to restructuring the plan as preferences or opportunities change? Do they have their finger on the pulse of their industry and the best ways to meet your goals, even as the goals fluctuate?
For the best collaborative partnerships, the answers to these questions come easily.
How Have You Managed Collaboration?
By properly managing agreements with an agreement lifecycle management platform, consumer goods companies become more flexible and can easily identify shared goals with partners. Then, they can pivot when a crisis emerges and find the most efficient and effective solution for everyone with minimal back and forth.
gicom is determined to help you improve the agreement lifecycle management and develop true collaborations. With the gicom solutions, you and your partners can avoid wasting time repeating processes; streamline administrative work like documenting, invoices and more. gicom simplifies the communication, ensuring that both parties are satisfied by every interaction. Reach out to us today to see how we can support your partnerships.
How have you worked with partners this year to overcome disruption together? What worked and what didn’t?