Your supply chain network will expand and contract based on my different actions and reactions to the events and objectives of the entire collaborative network.  This expansion and contraction of the network membership and participation can be viewed almost as the network breathing and living.  The supply chain partners in the network participate in the collaborative community based on the overall and long term benefits that they can realize from the community.  The community will be the driving factor for this expansion and contraction in participation, there is no one leader of the community that drives the direction and the objectives of the community, the key driving factor in the community is the customer members and their desires. 

You must remember this foundation principle in order for the community as a whole, and as a result each member of the community and extended network to be successful.  The collaborative community is a social organism that lives through the benefits of all members of the community.  The driving, or lead, factor in this drive is the end customer of the community.  The supply chain network are contributing members to the support of the customers’ demands.  This extended supply chain network must though also gain a benefit in order to participate in this community.  The strength of the community and a key factor in participation is the benefits and value to the members of the participation, obviously.  These benefits and value achieved as the results of the community can be greater and more stable as a result of this network working together as a community.

The members of this community must be assured of the continued value that will be delivered by the community.  Even more important than the overall value achieved through the community is that this value must be fairly distributed across the network rather than focused on any one partner in the network.  So the maintenance of this network partnership and the community as a whole must apply to all of the members.  It is not necessary that this sharing of benefits be equal across all partners in the network, however it is necessary that the benefits be shared fairly based on the participation and value provided by the partners.  This will cause the expansion and contraction of participation by the members.

The maintenance of the partnerships must focus on meeting the needs of the partners in achieving value over the long term.  While everyone would like to benefit 100% of the time, I think that members of the network understand that in some functions the value returned will be greater than other functions.  The benefit of membership in the network is that these benefits can be more stable over a longer period of time and the underlying costs of achieving these long term benefits are shared across the 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?