The collaborative priority management process requires a robust and inclusive maintenance program in order to ensure that the objectives and requests are fairly and regularly reviewed, prioritized and executed. The maintenance program must provide a method and process to regularly evaluate the progress of improvement execution, evaluate and incorporate new requests and objectives in the existing priorities, and encourage and manage the participation of the members of the network.  This priority management process is a very important contributing factor to the retention and continued participation of the network partners because it provides the foundation for strong partner relationships.  

This is an especially difficult process due to the nature of the collaborative network.  The collaborative network is made up of a diverse cross section of members that interact on a regular basis with each other to come together to support the common objectives.  The nature of the network is the opposite of a command and control organization.  I think this difference can be understood better based on the name, an organization implies the command and control nature where there is a leader(s) that makes the decisions and the people in the organization execute the decisions.  The network implies a group of people and organizations where the decisions are collaborative based on input, desires and benefits to the network, this is more of a democratic group of people and organizations.  The difficulty comes from the need to maintain a robust and open line of communications, a fair and open process to review objectives and requests, a collaborative decision making process and finally a process to monitor and coordinate the execution of the objectives and requests. 

The management of this maintenance process must be rotated among the partner members In order to maintain and encourage the continued participation of the partner members.  This type of rotation also requires a structure, or process, that allows the leadership to rotate without impacting the process.  This type of structure and rotation requires a clear set of procedures that can be followed and executed in a structured and continuous manner so that the rules of engagement are not redefined each time the process management changes.  This type of structure will also ensure the continued appearance of a fair and unbiased approach to the management of the process.  It is important for the continued success of the maintenance process and the continued success of the collaborative network that member needs and member participation drive the improvements and the network does not become just another branch of a strong command and control organization.  As I have said earlier, this is a very difficult process to implement and maintain, however it is also a process that is critical to the success of the collaborative network. 


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?