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Preparing for the future of collaboration

With the coronavirus pandemic affecting many aspects of the economy, Steve Bailey, Commercial Director at Agilitas, says that organisations must cautiously prepare for the future in the best way they can through partnerships and collaboration. However, channel firms are still as unconvinced about the future role of collaboration as they were two years ago

There is a growing need in the market for supply chain consolidation. With more customers reducing the number of partners they work with, suppliers are able to offer a wider number of services. We have seen this movement lead to an increase in MSP partnerships and collaboration, meaning that one supplier can provide a customer with both their service offerings and those of their partners. This meets the requirement for a simplified supply chain, while still addressing all the customer’s needs.

It is important to adapt to these changes in behaviour in the market, to ensure businesses within the channel remain relevant and performance continues to grow. Channel partners that collaborate effectively across the supply chain will notice a reduction in costs, improvements in speed and most importantly, customer satisfaction.

Reducing suppliers and increasing services
Reducing the number of suppliers within a specific supply market means that channel partners can focus on the ones that are the most successful. To benefit from supply chain optimisation, companies should use collaboration techniques, including constant communication between all parties in the supply chain. Communication platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Slack can ensure that this collaboration can take place, despite the current inability to meet with other businesses face-to-face.

Reducing the number of suppliers can help to optimise the supply chain through greater efficiency and productivity. Better efficiency ensures channel partners have a stronger chance of keeping up with demand and can access more accurate information and integrated data. This means changes to market conditions can be responded to in a quicker and more timely manner.

In the past, many channel partners have believed the key to success is increasing the number of dependants in the supply chain. However, it is now clear, through the onset of technology, that quality outweighs quantity. Through collaboration, one supplier can offer a plethora of services that would have once come from many different sources. This is more efficient for channel partners and has been further enforced by the increase in virtual collaboration tools during COVID-19.

Build relationships and loyalty
Collaboration amongst channel partners can significantly bolster each organisation by utilising the services that they offer. This is a great way to stimulate growth by engaging with partners at all levels to build relationships and loyalty. These relationships enable each organisation to realise their shared goals, increasing the chances of greater wallet share, resulting in higher overall revenue.

By integrating effective collaboration nto an organisation’s work methods, a company will not only help to build better relationships between partners but will also create a positive business culture which fosters engagement. This means that collaboration is an advantage to employees as well as partners and end-users, creating all-round benefits for the channel industry.

MSP partnerships can produce astonishing results, providing all parties involved are accountable and dedicated to the goal of mutual success. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a level of uncertainty across many industries and has meant some channel firms have lost faith in the power of collaboration due to the lack of face-to-face meetings. However, it is still possible to collaborate through virtual communication software, with some channel businesses offering a portal to its partners, which assists them in providing their customers with additional support. It is also important to note that the pandemic has built new levels of trust amongst channel firms to work in a more collaborative manner. We are seeing many more partnerships being formed in order to survive and thrive.

As we step into 2021, channel partners should be looking to integrate collaboration into their company culture. This can be a daunting task for many organisations. It is hard to imagine collaboration working effectively in the current situation, where we’ve had no choice but to work remotely, but it can be argued that collaboration is taking effect now more than ever before.

With the implementation of communication platforms and collaboration tools that can be used both at home and in the office, it’s likely that supply chain optimisation will only accelerate in 2021. It is tools and resources like these which will ensure a positive year lies ahead for the channel and will enable effective collaboration and supply chain optimisation, despite the economic situation and the prospect of many months of uncertainty for so many businesses.