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10 Tips for Effective Collaboration

Here's how to make sure your work with business partners pays off.
By Bob Violino
Jul 23, 2004
1. Be inclusive. Create a collaborative group that includes companies from across an industry supply chain.

2. Start with a small group to keep the project manageable. Five or six companies can represent most supply chain interests. Once the basic procedures and pilot plan are established, invite more companies to join.

3. Get internal systems ready for collaboration. Each member of the group needs to have its own item master files and systems for sharing synchronized data sorted out before the group can share RFID data.

4. Secure the support of all senior management. This ensures that each company will commit the time, personnel and resources needed to make the project a success.

5. Analyze the potential applications for an EPC pilot using two main criteria: potential value and degree of difficulty. Go after the benefits that offer significant value while being relatively easy to achieve. If possible, choose applications that can be tackled with off-the-shelf technology.

6. Get a buy-in from all group members. Make sure the applications chosen for the pilot provide benefits for each member of the group (some members may benefit more in phase one and others more in phases two or three).

7. Make sure there are early wins. Showing that the technology has real benefits will keep the group motivated and maintain the support of senior management at each company.

8. Don’t work at cross-purposes. Share ideas, decisions and information with other groups within your industry, either through industry organizations or directly.

9. Work with industry groups. Make sure that all companies in the sector will be able to use any systems and procedures that are established for sharing data.

10. Consider antitrust issues. Have a lawyer spell out what topics might run afoul of antitrust laws, and have a lawyer present at each meeting to warn members when a discussion could violate antitrust laws.
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