Why Should You Rely on Supply Chain Collaborations?

In many companies, supply chain management is still limited to collaboration along the internal supply chain in planning, purchasing, logistics, order processing and production. It is thought of end-to-end within the company's boundaries. This focus on the internal supply chain presents companies with numerous challenges.

In addition to a lack of transparency regarding supplier and customer planning and events, a lack of trust and aspects of data protection make further collaboration difficult. This often leads to a need for more flexibility, agility and resilience in the cross-company supply chain.

In summary, supply chain collaboration is primarily about coordinating with external partners to maintain an optimized flow through the supply chain to meet demand and ensure on-time and complete delivery efficiently.

What is the Goal of Supply Chain Collaboration Optimization?

The goal of supply chain collaboration is, 

  • to optimize the planning and control processes of the holistic supply chain across companies 
  • and thus, to improve the cross-company performance of the supply chain of the participating companies as a whole. 

Cross-company control towers, sales & operations planning across multiple partners, exchange of planning data, and thinking in terms of supply chain networks are just a few aspects that make achieving this goal possible. The substantial increase in digitalization tools will also contribute here shortly.

What Benefits Do You Achieve by Optimizing Supply Chain Collaboration?

Almost every company is part of a supply chain or value network. However, the overall success of the supply chain or network can only be ensured if the cross-company optimization of all supply chain processes is carried out step by step. 


Companies that strive for the network concept in the future and work in partnership with suppliers and customers will have a competitive advantage in the long term and establish sustainably successful supply chains.

As part of a supply chain, your company will be able to react early to developments and events at your customers and suppliers, plan inventories optimally and in a coordinated manner, optimize value-added stages and improve joint order or purchase order processing.

The result: a significantly increased profit contribution from the cross-company supply chain of all participating companies, in which you also participate as part of the supply chain.

» Do You Want to Establish or Optimize a Supply Chain Collaboration with Your External Partners?

How Does HÖVELER HOLZMANN Go About Optimizing Supply Chain Collaboration?

A project to optimize supplier & customer collaboration makes sense if there are partners on your customer or supplier side willing to tackle such a project together with you and optimize their inter-company supply chain or logistics concept. 

Another option is for you to identify relevant customers or suppliers, build a business case for collaboration and then approach these potential collaboration partners. 

The cross-company partnership is the focus of the optimization, but it does not exclude the possibility of connecting other partners during the process.

Supply Chain Collaboration

5 Dimensions Within Supply Chain Collaboration:

Supplier & Customer Collaboration can be broken down into five dimensions, each of which has different maturity levels. These dimensions are:

  1. Strategic Alignment 
  2. Communication & Trust 
  3. Cross-Functionality 
  4. Value Contribution & Profit Sharing  
  5. Organizational Leadership and Governance

In turn, the maturity levels of each collaboration range from confrontation to coordination to cooperation and collaboration.  

This Is What a Project Looks Like:

1. The first step in a project to optimize supply chain collaboration is to benchmark the relevant supplier and customer collaboration. First, top suppliers and customers are identified through systematic evaluation and classification. Then, the maturity levels in the five dimensions described above are examined using interviews with stakeholders on both sides and backed up with data and interface analyses before the target maturity levels are defined. 

2. The second step involves further developing supplier and customer collaboration. This is done by designing new processes and structures as well as corresponding optimization measures, such as: 

  • Definition of joint collaboration and business strategies 
  • Setting up specific communication channels and processes 
  • Designing the relevant IT interfaces and common platforms 
  • Conception of cross-company planning approaches 
  • Establishment of comprehensive transparency (e.g., open book/cost process) 
  • Derivation of clearly defined profit-sharing ratios

3. Subsequently, the step-by-step implementation of the measures for the partners involved can begin and, thus, the optimization of the cross-company supply chain.

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