The business world is changing probably faster than ever before to meet these challenges. Organisations are more frequently looking to develop alliances both with customers and suppliers. As customers seek to evaluate potential partners and alliances the international standard provides a high level of confidence. ISO 44001 is a neutral platform on which to create more effective engagement.
The benefits of collaboration will be organisation specific based on the business objectives and much of this can be realised without going down the certification route. The value of certification is that introduces a level of rigor to ensure internal processes are maintain and followed proving greater sustainability in relationships. A first step might be to focus on ISO 44000 Principles for Successful Collaborative Working. Understanding these 12 principles and their applicability within your organisation will help in assessing the value and impact of moving to a more systemic approach.
The cost of implementation is reflective of the level of maturity in terms of collaborative working. An initial self assessment will enable organisations to gauge the current level of compliance and a facilitated GAP analysis will provide a definitive implementation programme. It is important to recognised that much of what ISO 44001 requires are more likely to be minimal changes to existing company processes therefore the internal costs can be minimised. Certification costs will vary dependent on the scope but the best approach is to start with a limited pilot programme and build from there.
Current experience working with reasonably mature client suggests that between 3-6 months allows for the necessary processes to be embedded in an organisation.
Whilst the ICW team can help guide the implementation the value of certification is that it is undertaken by an independent certification body, ICW would recommend careful consideration the selection of which you choose. Those that are members of ICW executive Network have been validated by the Institute as having a robust understanding of the intent of the standard. Currently ICW is working with UKAS on a pilot programme for accreditation of certification bodies to assess ISO 44001 and with ISO/CASCO to define assessor capability.
Partnering is a commitment between two or more parties in a collaborative relationship to create value by striving to achieve shared competitive goals and operational benefit through a spirit of mutual trust and openness. It is important to recognize that not every relationship is a partnership but it can encompass the partnering ethos.
Every relationship is unique so there is no one-size-fits-all solution but based on experience the standard provides a route map that will enable organisations to consider the implications and benefits of collaborative working.
There are perhaps three key issues in any relationship. The first is to appreciate that in every relationship there are three sets of objectives Yours-Mine and Ours. A robust relationship must recognise all three and work towards satisfying them all. This must be supported by an effective dispute management process and finally the development of an exit strategy since once people understand the issues for disengagement it relieves the constraints for engagement.
Effective relationships help drive performance and whilst we have many management processes these relationships are frequently left to chance. Having a robust and systemic approach ensures that relationship issues do not become performance failures. Organisations are made up of people and whilst systems, procedures and processes can direct performance it is the interaction between people that are the catalyst for success. Simply put: "companies make contracts but people make business".
There are many different outcomes for collaborative relationships which depend on the objectives of the partners. The easy way to think about potential benefits is to consider improvements in delivery processes, which could be achieved by working with external organisations with complementary skills and resources. It very much depends on the strategic objectives of the organisations involved.
There has been a lot of emphasis on measuring performance through Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Service Level Agreements (SLAs), which are outcome based but very little done to consider how well organisations work with each other. The CRAFT range of tools developed to monitor and test the strength of the relationships, which drive these outcomes.
The more integrated the relationship and the greater the focus on innovative approaches the more likelihood of differing views. Strong relationships are built on the ability of the partners to resolve disputes effectively.
Organisations are about people who in turn are a kaleidoscope of traits and styles and whilst companies may have strong cultures success rides on the ability of people to work together and share knowledge. Critical behaviours of individuals can undermine even the strongest of relationships. Whilst ISO 44001 is a standard based on implementing a robust management system every requirement within it has a direct influence on the way individuals behave it is not simply about process.
The simple answer is No. Whilst there is always a place for adopting collaborative behaviours, implementing a systemic management approach will likely require organisational changes, investment and skills development thus it should always be linked to the organisations objectives and a robust business case. Implementing ISO 44001 has to be judged based on the specific value proposition.
Implementing effective collaborative approaches will likely effect many elements of the business as such it needs high level executive support to ensure alignment internally and support in selecting partners. Few business relationships never face challenges and at times executive intervention becomes necessary. ISO 44001 calls for the appointment of a Senior executive responsible for collaborative working to provide support where collaboration has been identified as mission critical to achieving desired outcomes.
Trust is a concept based on perceptions and in essence not something you can write into a contract. Trust builds incrementally through openness, honesty, transparency and delivering on commitments and promises.
Collaboration is no different in these terms to any other contracting approach. The difference is that often the real benefits of working closely with a partner are to create new knowledge. Every agreement should clearly define who owns what and who will own any jointly created IP. Fear of losing control of IP can be a major constraint in any relationship therefore during the engagement stages it is important to clearly identify with potential partners what can be shared and what can't.
Absolutely, since in many cases these arrangements involve organisations sharing delivery processes and even placing outsourcing companies in direct line with your customers it is crucial to have a partner that shares your ethos and culture.
In short we would suggest not. Collaborative relationships take effort and thus they should be focused on delivering value. In fact once an agreement has been put in place there should be regular programmes to stretch the value proposition as this will help to strengthen the relationship. As organisations seek to achieve more there is a place for constructive conflict in order to drive through new ideas. In general terms it is not conflict that's the issue but the way it is handled and good conflict management can strengthen a relationship.
In any relationship there has to be give and take so collaborative working relationships cannot be one sided. Often they involve commitments that restrict one side or the other. This has to be considered up front and addressed before putting the arrangement in place.
Collaborative approaches do not change the essence of competitive selection processes, the difference comes when you consider the desired outcomes and the need for a more integrated relationship. In the selection process it is important to define measurable benchmarks and regularly validate these throughout the relationship.
The failure of many relationships is that the solely focus on savings which can distort the true value of an integrated approach as such focusing on how organisations can better work together will drive cost out. There are no absolutes since value objectives in every case will be different but cost should be seen as total cost. If the relationship is solely focused on delivering saving then the likelihood is it will fail relatively quickly unless there is a detailed risk and reward arrangement. Even so the pressure to retain savings will often create pressures. However many organisations suggest that integrated collaborative working can realise upwards of 30% reductions in total cost.
This can vary a lot, e.g. the size of the organisations concerned will have an in put here. An Executive partnering board is recommended with sponsors from both partners. A joint management team should support this with shared responsibility for performance.
The ISO 44001 self assessment should be the starting point for any development programme by understanding your own strengths and weaknesses you can start to create the right engagement strategy.
There is risk in every aspect of business and collaboration is no different managing risk is what makes organisations successful. In many cases the risks that organisation already have can be mitigated by working closer with strategic partners and joint management.
Partnerships and collaborative alliances are becoming more common in today’s market and customers are likely to welcome them, providing organisations can demonstrate that they have robust approaches that are suitably managed. In many cases these collaborative approaches can be structured to meet customer demands.
The more global and diverse the market place the more important it is to have a clear process for developing the right relationship. ISO 44001 has been created to establish a common and independent baseline that helps both sides understand how to move forward.
It certainly can, working with other organisations and often making them part of the overall process often means they are becoming part of your operation. It is important to find partners that share your culture and approach so as to support your position in the market place.
This depends on the specific circumstances but in general experience suggests it take 12 months to establish the relationship and further 6-12 months to deliver real value. This is why it is important to focus on building the right relationship appropriate to the business strategy and not trying to partner with everyone.
The only answer is to ensure you have clear objectives up front and well defined measurements in place to monitor progress towards them.