In my last entry I introduced guiding principles as a concept or means to developing your collaborative extended supply chain. The guiding principles as I said previously define how you will achieve the objectives that you have defined for your collaborative network, I also think of guiding principles as your first effort in developing your collaborative culture. Guiding principles critical to defining how you and your partners will interact with each other and also now you will act in situations or activities that interact with your partners. Guiding principles not only provide guidelines, they also provide support to the collaborative network.
What do I mean by when I say that guiding principles provide support to the collaborative network? In brief, if you and your partners are following the guiding principles they can be confident that their decisions are beneficial to the entire collaborative extended supply chain network. I hope this gives you a perspective on how important guiding principles are to your collaborative extended supply chain network. Let me repeat this to impress upon you the importance of guiding principles - if you are making decisions that follow your guiding principles, you can be confident that your decisions will be beneficial to your entire collaborative extended supply chain network. I realize that this can be difficult to accept, since it truly embraces collaboration and in fact creates a culture of collaboration and partnership. It can be very hard to include your collaborative network in you decision making, but it is important to embrace this in order to achieve success, value and full hearted acceptance and commitment from your partners.
Now let me get into developing your guiding principles by beginning with a definition of principles - “a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning”. So again, you are building a foundation for a system of behavior and in order to do this you must start by working with your partners. As I mentioned, you are using the guiding principles as a foundation to your collaborative culture.
These guiding principles will describe how you will achieve your objectives and will provide the continuum to support the continuous improvements that will become the basis of your successful extended supply chain network. So think of guiding principles as methods and you will use these methods to achieve your objectives. So an example of a guiding principle is - partners will interact with each other openly and honestly; another could be decisions made by the partners will be embraced and supported both publicly and privately. I think it is important that you develop your guiding principles as a collaborative effort with your extended supply chain partners. You can see, I hope, why I suggest initially that you focus on analysis to identify your key services and suppliers. You must begin to develop your guiding principles after you define your mission and you must develop your guiding principles initially with a small group of motivated partners because if you start with too large of a group you will never be able to come to an agreement.
Your guiding principles should be small in number and focus on providing guidance. I think you should think of your guiding principles as a kind of ‘Bill of Rights’ for your collaborative extended supply chain. If you think of it in that manner, your guiding principles will evolve and grow as your collaborative network grows.
And now for the audience participation portion of the show…
Have you contemplated the key partners and functions that make up your extended supply chain? How do you measure the results across the extended supply chain?