Are you getting the most from your business review with your supply chain partner? Beyond an appraisal of the performance to date, a review is a perfect opportunity to learn more about your partner and the opportunities that might exist to get more from the relationship.
As supply chains continue to be seen and relied upon as value generators, your supply chain partners become more important players in helping you deliver operational and service excellence.
STRATEGIC VS. TACTICAL
At FIDELITONE, business reviews are one of the most important activities we conduct with our clients. They are a strategic imperative for us, in terms of maintaining and building solid relationships over time—particularly with our most critical clients. Among other things, they help us reinforce the value of a strategic partnership.
During a review, it’s important to take advantage of the time together to share what’s going on in your business and learn what’s going on in your partner’s business. These “bigger picture” insights will help both of you as you navigate the future together. Perhaps new technologies are being deployed, or changes are occurring within your industry that are impacting the way you do business or serve customers (e.g., new regulatory or compliance constraints).
LEARN. IMPROVE. GROW
Consistently communicating and continuously improving are hallmarks of our process; thus, business reviews are valuable touch points. What we learn from them is often applied to the way we do things and the improvements that we make.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
When should you expect to participate in a review? It depends on the size and scope of the program or partnership—it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Sometimes issues or situations will arise that create a need for a review. Generally speaking, you should expect to do them twice a year. Why? Besides being good for the relationship, different times of the year may create new needs or a change of focus (e.g., seasonal spikes, holiday packaging or a new program rollout). Coming together in anticipation of any challenges or hurdles will allow you to set (or reset) performance expectations to meet important goals.
Reviews don’t have to be a formal affair; they can be conducted:
- In person
- Over the phone
- During an event you're both attending, such as a conference
THE RIGHT PARTICIPANTS CREATE THE BEST EXPERIENCES
Depending on the agenda, a well-planned review will have the right resources on hand. This means staff members (e.g., information technology, warehouse operations or continuous improvement experts) who are familiar with your program and who can intelligently address any questions or concerns that might arise during the review.
The agenda should be structured to address the issues and answer the questions you have about your program, business or the goals you set—or need to reset—for your partner.
Ultimately, a business review should be conducted with your interests of performance, right outcomes and return on investment in mind. You want—and should expect—proof that your partner understands.