A successful supply chain partner network knits together the pieces of objectives and benefits to the network partners into a strategic plan that brings value to all of the partners.  It is in the best interest of all of the partners in that network to participate so that the strategic objectives for the partnership can be met and not just one or two of the partners.  The value of the partnership lies in the benefits achieved by the partner members when all partners work towards the strategic objectives of the network.  These benefits are greater for the network than can be achieved by any one partner alone and this is the glue that holds the network together.

The partner network requires that each of the partners gives up a little bit of control and autonomy to the network in order to achieve the benefits promised by the strategic objectives. This should be viewed as a positive result of the partnership because the collaboration with the partners makes the decision a greater value decision.  One of the benefits of the network is that each partner within the network has the opportunity to take advantage of the experiences that each partner brings to the table.  This sharing of experiences makes the decisions stronger and more beneficial without requiring each partner in the network to learn or experience the same challenges as their partners have already overcome.  I think these improved decisions based on the partner experience is one of the key benefits of the supply chain partner network.  Bottom line is that each partner gives up a bit of control for the benefit of sharing the experience of each of the network members.

A continuous improvement process and procedures must next be implemented in your network in order ot ensure the continued participation of your partners in the management and development of a robust supply chain network.  These network building activities are not just a ‘once and done’ exercise and they must be developed into the continuous improvement process and procedures that will guide the execution and development of the network partners.  The continuous improvement procedures are built upon regular communication and review of the supply chain along with the business processes supported by the supply chain.  The world and your supply chain are continuously changing and morphing into new processes and capabilities.  The network continuous improvement procedures ensure that your supply chain network will take into account the changes across the supply chain, from raw materials to the end consumer, when making decisions. 

You should expect your supply chain network to expand and contract as partners, objectives and requirements change.  This change is the essence of the network and must not only recognized, it must be embraced in order to survive in the future. 


And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?