Uncover, Evaluate and Foster Strategic Partnerships
Seldom is a company in a monopoly position in which their product or service can not be obtained elsewhere. On the contrary, in most cases, suppliers need to not just have a excellent product but also differentiate themselves in other ways. They need to create value that goes beyond the mere characteristics of a product or service if they are to position themselves as a key long-term supplier. The best way to accomplish this goal is to commit to investing in a strategic partnership. This is much more than just a buzzword. It requires both sides to recognize the value of transcending the traditional adversarial relationship between buyer and seller – to overcome the notion that procurement’s primary focus is price and availability. The supplier must agree to be a reliable source for the customer’s needs on a long-term basis while the customer needs to see the supplier as much more than today’s lowest-price source.
The process of forming a strategic partnership can be initiated from either side but it requires both sides to make a commitment and an investment. The initial investment is in both sides learning about the other’s strengths, weaknesses and strategic direction to understand the potential for synergy. If it’s there, the supplier must agree to invest in learning the customer’s products and markets and to direct resources to create products or services that meet their ongoing requirements. On the other side, the customer must invest in educating the supplier about their requirements, leverage their strengths and allow them to make a reasonable profit. The philosophy needs to be one of trust and cooperation. If both sides agree to such a relationship, the rewards are great. A customer can rest assured that the supplier will do everything possible to meet their needs, both planned and unplanned. The supplier can be comfortable that they won’t lose the business due to a minor problem or slight price difference and they receive guidance about the best new products and services to create. In short, both sides win.
Moving to a strategic partnership model can be very challenging. Companies have ingrained ways of doing business and of dealing with suppliers. Their procurement processes has been molded around an adversarial supplier model. To break through this barrier requires help from someone with experience in creating and nurturing strategic relationships. Azmat Khan’s has had a long career doing just that and can now offer those skills in a consulting role. He’s had a great deal of experience in identifying, evaluating and executing these types of relationships. He’s seen both sides and will ensure maximum mutual benefit.
My experience with Azmat’s abilities occurred while I was a Global Account Manager for Lucent Microelectronics. As Director of Strategic Relationships at Sun Microsystems (now Oracle), Azmat identified Lucent as an excellent candidate to be a strategic supplier and saw an internal need for a particular chip that wasn’t being met. He got both sides together and convinced them to invest in a partnership. Sun got the chip they needed with much less resources than if they had to do it all themselves and Lucent got increased revenue and help in developing important new technology – a great success and definitely win-win.
I heartily recommend Azmat Khan as a consultant in the area of strategic relationships.
Joe Ardini Retired VP Business Development Fab Owners Association, previously VP Sales Ircona Ltd; VP NA Sales Silverback Systems, VP of Strategic Development Stratus Computer, Global Account Manager Lucent MicroelectronicsRead More Client Testimonials