At the ICW Awards ceremony on Thursday 26th November in the House of Lords the results of the Benefits Realisation research, commissioned from Warwick Business School, was formally launched. This work has been carried out over the past 6 months. It involved academic research on collaboration, a series of senior executive interviews across a range of industry and government sectors, a senior executive workshop and a wide reaching survey. The full report is available as a PDF on the ICW website but we include below the Executive Summary, which we hope will encourage you read further:
When we began this research programme on behalf of ICW into the Benefits of Collaborative Working our premise was that the principal driver behind collaboration would be cost reduction based on increased efficiency through better process integration. This was, to some extent, borne out by our investigations into past research of the subject which focused on either client or supplier-based engagement. It was equally apparent that the challenges came from mistrust of this single objective and limited consideration for the wider implications of the end-to-end or holistic perspective of multiple organisations - at various levels - being “joined up”.
This premise was quickly challenged when we engaged with Senior Executives in a series of one-to-one interviews. What emerged was a broader perspective where a more open and committed approach fostered greater confidence on both sides resulting in more productive engagements, allowing a flowthrough supply chains to end users. Increased visibility leads to greater reliability and more constructive problem solving which in turn reduces perceived levels of risk. More inclusive relationships result in more business, enhanced scope, more innovation and greater certainty of outcomes on all sides of the relationship.
From the research, interviews, survey and case studies, some of which are contained within this report, we have clearly identified a range of tangible benefits achieved through collaborative working including:
Growing interdependency as a result of more complex, high risk, business together with increasing global trade is focusing industry and government on the need to invest in developing more integrated business relationships. The research detailed within the report indicates that drivers and trends are focused on building confidence in outcomes as opposed to the historical approach focused on cost reduction. As the survey discovered, cost reduction featured lowest in terms of collaborative working drivers. The challenge for organisations is in building commitment and sustainable relationships which ensure they do what they promise. Organisations managing complex and extended supply chains rate managing risk as a key factor; the research also highlights that business relationship risk is now an additional major consideration.
The most significant future challenge is to change traditional organisational cultures to accept more readily collaborative business models. This highlights the need to identify and further develop competencies and skills to harness collaborative working. There is a clear recognition that the adoption of a more systematic approach, such as BS 11000 and its future iteration as an International Standard (ISO 11000) scheduled for publication autumn of 2016, integrated with supportive collaborative processes and systems will underpin the business environment where collaborative working can be seen as a competitive advantage.
We would like to thank the WBS team who have produced a valuable contribution to our knowledge base and would encourage those interested in collaborative working to use this as a future reference point. From the Institute's perspective it is worth noting that the last major research programme 'Future Connections' gave rise to the CRAFT programme and on to BS 11000 with ISO 11000 now firmly on the horizon for late 2016.