“None of us is as good as all of us.” This opening statement, a quote from Ray Kroc, says it all. Well most of it, anyway. Creating products, and building supply chains and services, all to delight and provide utility to the end customer, requires a collaboration of many known and unknown players, who today, work across the globe.
We still find collaboration, in the best terms, hard to do. But there are, quietly, a myriad of successes. Those successes are dramatic, game-changing, and often; the players don’t want their competitors to know. Yet the nature of engaging with trading partners in process work, de facto, means that we must talk about it. So, many companies did speak with us.
We will share the results from our research and the countless interviews that we have done over the last year with retailers, suppliers, and their technology providers. It creates a fascinating collaborative foundation for the body of collaboration knowledge and best practices. All these cases, I hope, will be a guidepost for those who are not yet engaging in collaborative work and conversations with their trading partners to see that it can be done—and provide astounding value. And for those who are already collaborating, we hope that you will gain some ideas about how to fine-tune your game and get even better results.
But before we begin, those who are looking for a quick fix can take the challenge from Jeff Bezos, who has made his company (in spite of the naysayers) the third largest and fastest-growing retailer in history: “…we are working to build something important, something that matters to our customers, something that we can all tell our grandchildren about. Such things aren’t meant to be easy.”