The Operations Phase
by Andrew Humphries and Linda McComie, SCCI Ltd
Thursday, July 05, 2012
The operations phase is about all the mechanics of managing a collaborative relationship throughout its productive life to ensure that it is efficient, effective and that there is continuous performance improvement. Operational oversight will involve working very closely with the partner organisation to meet joint objectives on a day to day basis. It also involves instigating activities that make continuous improvement happen including process innovation and learning from experience and, provides the ability to exploit new opportunities that the joint business opens up.
As the relationship grows its objectives and the supporting contracts/SLAs will need to be reviewed. The effectiveness of the collaboration will be increased by ensuring that relationship responsibilities such as operational processes, risk, resourcing and performance span both organisations. All these activities will be co-ordinated and managed by the Relationship Managers (RMs) jointly at their monthly meeting.
In addition it is important to create a clear understanding at all levels of those aspects of the joint business that affect the bottom line and the ability to create value. This will be provided by a performance measurement system that is optimised specifically for relationship management. A prime example is SCCI’s PartnerLink which enables key performance drivers of innovation (Creativity), alignment and investment (Stability), open dialogue (Communication), operations (Reliability) and building commitment (Value), to be measured and understood across the enterprise. It should also give you a view of the softer aspects of a relationship such as Trust, Commitment and Long-Term Orientation that have a motivational impact on operational performance.
A record of all decisions, actions and achievements from this phase must be kept in the Enterprise Relationship Management Plan (ERMP) for each relationship. This documentation is used to jointly keep track of policy and practice. It will include static information such as the objectives, contract/agreement(s), organisational and management arrangements and contact details, and dynamic information such as changes to contract schedules, regularly updated plans, performance and continuous improvement records, minutes of management meetings including actions, and copies of communications such as newsletters.
Here is a checklist of actions that should be used to manage the operations phase:
At the very least a monthly, formal operational meeting chaired jointly by the RMs, would address the following:
• Review performance targets in last period and issue statistics
• Review work/orders in progress
• Review forecasted work, sales and orders in next period
• Review resourcing
• Facilitate the Sharing of Intellectual Property (IP)
• Consider and solve problems
• Review and update the joint risk register
• Agree updates to the ERMP
As a result of fall out from the operational meeting the following may need to be considered separately/less frequently:
• Actively seek out, initiate and manage process improvements
• Review and update the commercial agreement
• Review value proposition and joint objectives
• Review future plans
• Review industry and technology updates
• Identify new business opportunities to refer to senior management
• Identify policy issues to refer to senior management
• Review and update Exit Arrangements
• Involve other supply chain partners
• Agree updates to the ERMP from these meetings