Building Business Relationships.

Suite 2, 21 Bloomsbury Square
Bloomsbury, London WC1A 2NS

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CRAFT is the unique strategic approach to collaboration that was developed with the ICW community to provide a framework for creating a systemic approach to maximizing the full benefits of collaborative working. Behind the core methodology there is a wealth of guidance, tools, skills development courses and workshops aimed at supporting individuals and organisations to enhance and sustain their business relationships.

The life-cycle model around which these various approach provide a framework that is adaptable to virtually every size of organisation. The eight stage model focuses on ensuring that collaborative working is considered a strategic approach and as far as practical embedded in an organisations operational policies, processes and systems by addressing the strategic intent, suitably adopting appropriate engagement strategies and managing relationships in a structured and sustainable way.


Changing the way we relate to our customers and suppliers is not easy and executive support is required to overcome internal constraints where collaboration may be viewed as soft and fluffy. It is equally crucial to ensure that efforts are focused on those relationships where collaboration will deliver real value.

Creating effective collaboration needs strategies focused on the business objectives. The strategy must recognise the risks associated with greater integration together with aspects of knowledge management and business continuity. It is particularly useful to consider at this stage your exit strategy as this will help identify key concerns.


Finding the right partner is critical and frequently we assume that long standing traditional supplier relationships can simply migrate. Often this is not the case so it is important to understand the profile you are looking for and how you will evaluate their capability to collaborate. Equally how to negotiate the WIN/WIN.

Establishing Joint governance for collaborative programmes and integrating these into effective contracting arrangements requires careful attention. There must be consideration for both the joint objectives and those of the individual partners, together with ensuring the incentives and measurement will support collaborative behaviours.


The key to maintaining a sound relationship is to ensure that it remains current and drives innovation to bring additional value to the relationship through joint continual improvement programmes.

Relationships need nurturing changes in people and the business environment must be monitored along with performance and behaviours. Issues and disputes will be inevitable but can strengthen relationships if handled effectively.

Nothing lasts forever and business relationship will likely reach their end. Maintaining a joint exit strategy is important to keep the partners focused. At the same time having clear rules for disengagement will frequently improve engagement throughout the life of the relationship.

As we see greater reliance on external parties to deliver solutions and an increase on contracting for out comes the emphasis on collaborative working will grow. Whilst the BSI standard creates the ground rules it also provides a robust basis for developing the skills to manage collaborative relationships.

This life-cycle model is at the core of ISO 44001 the international standard for collaborative business relationships.

Creating the future is better than predicting it. The CRAFT methodology and portfolio of guides, tools and workshops was the foundation of BSI - ISO 44001

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