We are constantly surrounded by “partnership” opportunities. Consider how your partnerships and strategic alliances can add an aspect of quality to your business. Businesses that are seeking mutually beneficial relationships in the local business community can benefit by partnering with customers and other business associates. Partnerships with reliable stakeholders such as customers, suppliers and consumers provide opportunities to enhance profitability, sustainability and collegiality.
Customers are a diverse blend of end users or providers of products and services. Successful business partnerships are codified by needs, prioritized by objectives and identified and initiated by key personnel. The challenge of partnerships is determining the commitment of major decision makers. Goetsch and Davis (2016) advises to “break off the further involvement” if a key decision maker is not fully on board (p. 66).
According to Goetsch and Davis (2016) there is no limit on the types of partnerships that businesses can form for mutual benefit. Partners must desire a quality organization. A quality organizational culture is built over time. Business leaders must become adept at building business strategic business relationships both inside and outside of the organization. The goals and objectives should be aligned with continuous quality improvement and strategic plans for sustainable competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Partnerships with Customers:
A customer is usually an end user of business services or a consumer of goods. A successful partnership with a business customer begins with trust and integrity before profitability. The goals of partnering with customers should be focused on demonstrated commitment to services that exemplifies building long-term relationships, not just short-term sales. In quality organizations, continual communication with customers is high priority.
Creating customer perceptions of quality in an organization is essential. Customer-driven organizations ensure trust, responsiveness, communications, ease of doing business and a structure that is customer-focused to attract and retain profitable customers. Moreover, a quality organization intuitively partners with customers by empowering them to make suggestions and recommendations or even participate in product and service development.
Customer solutions and customers satisfaction are key components in securing new opportunities which can ensure future business and build relationships. Some challenges of customer partnerships are based on perceptions of customer loyalty and customer profitability. Goetsch and Davis (2016) suggest “organizations should never assume an automatic positive correlation between loyalty and profitability” (p. 101).
Partnerships With Competitors
Goetsch and Davis (2016) assert that creating partnerships with competitors has become commonplace in small to medium businesses. Competitors can become customers as well as suppliers and referral partners. An innovative alliance is mutually beneficial if shared by groups of stakeholders. This creates opportunities for customers to receive better service, competitive pricing and for stakeholders to meet and exceed customer’s expectations.
Partnership With Suppliers:
Partnerships with suppliers are a valuable and innovative business resource. Revilla and Knoppen (2015) assert “companies should move from an arm-length relationship and turn their supplier relationships into a tool for innovating faster while cutting costs” (p. 1408). Fantham (2015) points out that supplier partnerships help customers understand the fundamentals and dynamics of their perspective industries in order to educate consumers. Moreover, Fantham acknowledges partnering with other businesses provides “valuable insights about how they can more closely align strategic goals and objectives with those of their customers to ensure quality in their organizations” (p. 54).
Goetsch and Davis (2016) concur that supplier partnerships are an important quality tool. Through supplier development programs, ongoing education and training will continually improve quality and long-term profitability for customers. Through this type of alliance stakeholders are continuously educated on innovative techniques, industry breakthroughs, innovative products and services to keep customers competitive, profitable and sustainable.
Strategic partnerships and alliances are essential in a total quality setting for building business relationships and improving organizational effectiveness. In a total quality business model, partnerships with customers build business equity, increase profitability and provide opportunities for improved goods and services. Partnerships with suppliers improves total quality by providing opportunities for innovation, and knowledge sharing in the marketplace. Good will, new business referrals and complementary specialization skills are indicative of positive partnerships with competitors to improve total quality for all involved.
Fantham, R. (2015). Continued growth and value for all. Supply House Times, 58(9), 54. Retrieved December 21, 2015 from http://www.bnpmedia.com
Goetsch, D. L., and Davis, S. B. (2016). Quality management for organizational excellence: Introduction to total quality (8th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Pearson Education.
Revilla, E., & Knoppen, D. (2015). Building knowledge integration in buyer-supplier relationships. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 35(10), 1408-1436. Retrieved December 21, 2015 from http://0-search.proquest.com.oak.indwes.edu/
About the Author: Adele S. Busch is the Owner/President of ASB Business Services, LLC. “Business By Personal Invitation”. ASB offers customized and selective Executive telephone outreach for businesses and professionals, specializing in Business Development calls, Meeting and appointment Reminder Calls, Customer Follow-Up Calls, Networking Follow-up Calls and Business Research. Partner with Adele by contacting: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 614-477-2961.