In order to achieve Customer centricity, Collaboration and Team work are key enablers. For Consumer Goods (CG) organizations, the eco system of partners, retailers, manufacturers need to align together to changing consumer needs and yet achieve their individual goals.
Let’s take a trade promotion example, where a promotion runs into trouble because stocks are not available. In fast selling CG, out-of-stock situations can result in permanently lost sales for the manufacturer. The urgency and accuracy with which the communication happens across the stakeholder eco-system can spell the difference between success and failure. Is the retailer speaking to the manufacturer in real time? Is the manufacturer updating the value chain and the partner eco system based on demand? How’s the consumer being engaged with to avoid loss to competition?
Take a completely different situation where organizations are setting up Shared Services groups for various functions across Finance, IT, HR, Procurement, Transportation. Clearly the benefits are immense by streamlining the processes and standardization while giving regional business flexibility. Having said that, unless there is solid collaboration between the “Function”, and the “Geography” and the “Business Units/Brands”, no centralization strategy will truly work. It is also critical to enable a platform for “joint problem solving” especially when the information intensity is high and IT complexities need to be managed.
In both the above examples, it is important to have mutually defined KPI’s that can be measured and improved to result in economies of scale, cost savings, and higher business agility to serve the consumer better. Clear communication processes and tools with free flow of insights lead to effective collaboration and partnership. Take the inroads a company like Keurig Green Mountain has made by partnering with multiple leading organizations such as Coca-Cola and Campbell’s. It is the perfect example of Innovation and Collaboration with the eco system aligned to consumer needs.
Collaboration and Team work are as important in our daily lives and everything we do. A classic example is one of the best Soccer (football) games I watched earlier this month. The best player was the person who made fantastic passes that led to 2 goals for the winning team. There is no substitute to collaboration irrespective of the industry or role so make it a habit!