In September, I’m coming up on 30 years of working in the industrial B2B space. While it doesn’t get the limelight of startup internet platform businesses or sexy new disruptive technologies, there is one aspect that is especially satisfying – Partnerships. I’m not talking about a legal or ownership type of arrangement; I’m talking about working with customers or suppliers where the relationship is so important to both parties that it is in your interest to work so closely that you might as well be one company.
You can have these kinds of relationships and may not know it or recognize it. Then you miss some opportunities that would help make everyone’s jobs easier and miss the opportunity to add value to the relationship. One important tool is the Daily/weekly Information sharing meeting – don’t wait for a shipment for this information to be transmitted. Answering questions like the following will go a long way to creating a transparent and open relationship:
- What did you produce today?
- What are you going to deliver?
- Were there any problems? What is being done to resolve them? or to compensate for the problem?
These are power meetings – on steroids. They only need to last 15 minutes. You can go face to face online, you can share spreadsheets so that everyone is on the same page in just a few minutes, say what needs to be said, make decisions, and then get on with your day.
The next great opportunity is the Quarterly or Annual Review. I was recently a part of an annual review with a customer where the relationship came on strong about a year ago. Our first project together was a huge success. It did take some time, as in most projects, to smooth out the bumps, and the value was quickly recognized by both parties. On the other hand, the second major project was a mixed result. There was value in it for sure, but there were clear challenges that impacted both organizations. The best part of the discussion was the mutual recognition that both companies have been introspective. We have each understood how to prevent these problems in the future and have a positive view on moving forward, continuing to grow the relationship. Why did that happen? Because both companies recognize that there is alignment in both companies’ strategies, values, and business goals. We closed the meeting by talking about next steps for new opportunities as well as how we should conduct quarterly reviews going forward – face to face, finally!!
At Brotech, our goal is to have a handful of great partnerships, where there are ambitious goals, achievement, some naturally occurring hurdles, and most of all, open communication and understanding. In addition to helping each partner achieve its own goals, these relationships are often a joy, which is something we could all use in our professional lives.
Brotech Precision CNC President