ISO 44001: Teaming with Other Firms

03/12/18

ISO 44001 was released by the International Organisation for Standardisation in March 2017. It was developed from and supersedes the British Standard 11000: Collaborative Business Relationship Framework. ISO 44001 specifies requirements for the effective identification, development and management of collaborative business relationships within or between organisations. This standard is applicable to private and public organisations of all sizes, from large multinational corporations and government organisations, to non-profit organisations and micro/small businesses.

Why bother teaming with other firms?

In life and business, change is the only constant and one that we know is accelerating. However, we do not know if the response to this rapid change is equal to challenge. The question is, can we succeed alone or by teaming with other firms?

In this day and age, the business world is becoming more complex and nearly impossible for a company to do everything on its own. Technology disrupts the way we operate, consumers think differently and unexpectedly, and supply chains are less effective and efficient. To encounter these challenges; agility, productivity, risk management and governance are now essential and becoming more critical.

The business landscape in many countries is occupied by small and medium sized enterprises. Within this landscape, there are three challenges in common:

Hidden costs and delays occur at the crossover of the boundaries between firms. These are eventually passed on to the customer or absorbed by the companies involved.
Redundancy. Many companies are essentially developing the same competencies and capabilities. Could these costs and benefits be shared?

Collaborative Advantages. Large companies are looking for ways to reduce costs in their supply chain and in managing that supply chain.

Surveys carried out have identified a host of reasons SMEs may consider teaming with other SMEs. They included:
- Creating scale
- Creating scope
- Accessing competence
- Visibility
- Sharing risk
- Reducing costs
- Solving common problems
- Investment in new competence
- Jointly preparing for a digitised future

Taken individually or together, the single best reason for teaming with other firms is clear; firms can achieve more together than any one company can achieve on its own. Today’s marketplace is more about what businesses bring to the market than simply what they produce as individual organisation.

Is ISO 44001 for our company?

Taking into account cost, risk, complexity and the need for interdependence, we see a 4-step progression in collaborative arrangements. From a straightforward, but improved relationship with a supplier or customer, through a long term, and value creating alliances, one may suit your company.

The most important issue in collaborative arrangements is not the form of agreement, but is in behaviours and trust. In a world where businesses have been brought up to be independent, how will one cope with the concept of interdependence?

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