Four tips for effective supply chain collaboration

Date : 29 March 2018

Wendy Manning - vice president of customer logistics at Coca-Cola European Partners and Paul Dunne - supply chain director at Boots, are co-chairs of IGD’s ECR UK initiative. They share their advice for businesses who are struggling to collaborate. 

1.    Be clear about why you want to collaborate and consider what value you want to get out of it

Wendy: The first question is why do you want to collaborate? Then think about what the issue in your business is. From that point there are lots of places on where you can get some top tips on starting your collaboration journey.

2.    Start small

Wendy: Don’t do a massive end-to-end project from the beginning. Start with a smaller shared data/shared resources type of activity first so you can review.

Paul: If I was a company starting out I’d make sure that I was aware and operating within the legal framework as far as competition law and the like goes. Then you must be clear on where you’re willing to play and where you’re willing to get involved. 

3.    You need the right mindset and ambition

Wendy: If you go in to just deliver for yourself then it’s probably not going to work for you. But, if you go in with the right mindset and are open to looking at things in a different way because you need to achieve something specific, then collaboration will work. 

4.    Be open and curious

Paul: Having worked on both sides of the fence – supplier and retailer – I think the one thing I like in how people collaborate is how open and curious they are to the challenges faced by your collaborative partner. And that’s both the retailer being respectful of a supplier’s challenges and vice versa. If you go into it with that mindset, you’ll be successful.

Efficient Consumer Response (ECR) helps companies in the food and grocery industry work together for the good of our consumers. For more information and to find out how it can help your business, visit our ECR page.

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