In my last post I discussed the second point of what I am referring to as the collaboration framework, or the three nodes of the collaborative network;
- Internal technology and capabilities,
- Value added networks providing the ‘glue’ between partners and
- Third is the technology capability of your partners.
The second topic covered the value added network, or VAN, that can be used to provide and integration layer between your internal business participants and your external extended supply chain partners. I suggested that the VAN will begin to transform, with the help of their clients, into a Value Partnership Network with their clients to build a community of extended partners that make up and utilize the collaborative framework methods and technologies. The VAN will provide the ‘glue’ that tie the external partners to the internal business participants and provide the technology and methods to support the collaborative framework.
So, let me begin this discussion on your external partners’ capabilities and the methods to tie all three nodes of the collaborative network together into a framework that will support and encourage an environment providing mutually beneficial opportunities and to develop partner-relationships across your entire extended supply chain network. The relationship with your external partners will require two critical concepts to determine the success of the community;
- A technology capability that supports the current communication needs,
- An objective to develop a partnership with the members of the community that supports a set of mutually beneficial objectives. (I see this second objective to develop the partnership relationships across your entire extended supply chain network as the key to success.)
The value partnership network provides the technology ‘glue’ between the partners that will provide a robust and highly flexible framework to support the growing technical and operational capabilities across the community without requiring each member of the community to support the same technical capabilities as the other partners in the community. The technical capabilities of the extended supply chain network must be forward and backward compatible to support the ever changing capabilities of all partners in the community. This framework gives you the opportunity to develop a decoupled network to support your partners’ current and future capabilities.
I suggest that you develop the collaboration framework based on a strategy of supporting your partners’ current needs and capabilities while providing the framework to support future needs and capabilities. This is where it becomes beneficial to the community to group your partners and the framework methods that support the partnerships into groupings of business needs and objectives along with technical needs, objectives and capabilities (current and future). This is how your communication and collaboration methods and technology that decouples your partners will become an advantage.
The VAN concept of connecting your partners will provide the method that decouples both the technology and collaborative methods to meet the variable needs of each of the partners in the community. You can then divide your partners into technology leaders, those on the leading edge of technology and mainstream partners, and those that follow the current standards. You can also divide your partners based on the collaborative capabilities and objectives. You can then mix and match the capabilities across your collaborative community to take advantage of the objectives and capabilities of your community.
In my next discussion I will begin to pull all of these disparate pieces together to describe potential strategies that can provide a means to grow and expand the capabilities of your community along with the benefits of developing these communities. I believe there can be huge benefits achieved by developing these value added partnerships that are mutually beneficial to all partners in the community.
Now for the audience participation portion of this program……
Have you developed a roadmap to solidify these relationships and increase their value to your community?
What technologies do you utilized to support your extended supply chain? Do you have a partnership with a VAN and how do you take advantage of their services? How does EDI transactions and the EDI network play into your current extended supply chain and future plans?
Have you defined a map of the integration points within your extended supply chain?