The 8 Modules, 31 Focus Points and 5 Collaboration Phases of the SEIC Methodology provide a path to success

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Our Diagnostic Tool provides a gap analysis of SEI capability to support the strategic planning process

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In-depth explorations of the approaches and techniques used by leading organizations in the field of SEI today

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Thought leadership and insightful articles on the most important issues for companies pursuing an SEI agenda

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Insight calls are available to join for all members of the SEIC and will be addressing a number of topics

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Useful downloads, from unique research to practical templates, frameworks and tools being used by SEI leaders

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The 11 modules of the SEI methodology focus on the key processes that enable the successful rollout of SEI

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Our Capabilities Assessment tools provide the means for organizations to gain insight into their own SEI approach

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In-depth explorations of the approaches and techniques used by leading organizations in the field of SEI today

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Thought leadership and insightful articles on the most important issues for companies pursuing an SEI agenda

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Useful downloads, from unique research to practical templates, frameworks and tools being used by SEI leaders

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Stronger together: improving external and internal collaboration to boost SEI

An effective communications strategy in support of SEI is essential for successful collaboration, and a necessary step in bringing an SEI vision to reality

SEI Communications Strategy 2

For true supplier collaboration and, ultimately, co-creation to take place demands a level of cooperation and communication well beyond what you would usually find between buyers and their suppliers, regardless of how strategic those relationships supposedly are.

 

The common reality is that the existence of only uneasy trust between the two, combined with the cultural and physical boundaries in place, can prove prohibitive to true collaborative partnerships taking root.

 

Effective communication is at the heart of this issue, and it’s worth taking the time to think about the communication frameworks that are in place to link procurement effectively and routinely with internal stakeholders and key suppliers.

 

It was the subject of a recent call with one of our SEIC members, and it forms a significant part of the SEIC Methodology. After all, with effective communication, progress can be shared, projects – and their objectives – become transparent and, by extension, both internal and external stakeholders are more likely to want to collaborate.

 

Often, the roadblocks to collaboration are deep-rooted, however. Externally, relations with suppliers might have gradually soured over years of negotiation, which can cultivate an erosion of trust and an unwillingness to share the type of sensitive information that is crucial to support successful Supplier-Enabled Innovation (SEI).

 

Internally, while SEI might be a critical deliverable for certain staff within procurement, it can be difficult to spread this commitment across the company. This can result in key stakeholders not contributing to SEI relationships and blind-spots being opened that can cause breakdowns in communication with suppliers.

 

In a separate call with two other members of the community, some interesting insights were provided on how to approach the problem.

 

First, external support can be a driver of internal support, so convincing key suppliers of the value proposition of SEI is a critical step. This can be difficult and time-consuming – suppliers will often be apprehensive, regardless of how healthy relations are, as they will be sharing their knowledge and strategic plans as well as entrusting their resources with you.

 

In return, your organization must therefore play the commitment game – show how your partnership with the supplier is or has the potential to be unique, leading to added benefits for both parties. After they’ve committed to an SEI partnership, regular and scheduled communication channels should be opened, ranging from quarterly or half-year conference calls between senior management to gauge progress, to bi-weekly or monthly updates and information sharing.

 

Having this enhanced trust with suppliers can bring external knowledge and insight into the business which, in turn, can act as a springboard to bring your internal stakeholders on-board even more. Once they see that suppliers are committed and willing to share information and resources, they will be more willing to contribute their own resources and intellectual capital to the process.

 

An effective communications strategy in support of SEI is far more than a public-relations drive, or a chest-thumping exercise when things go well. It’s an essential lubricant to successful collaboration, and a necessary step in bringing an SEI vision to reality. It can utilize the strength of both suppliers and internal stakeholders, providing an SEI strategy with the support and expertise it needs to make an impact.

 

Samuel Wrest

 

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