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Exploring the dark side of collaboration

Co-opetition ““ have you heard of it? Co-opetition occurs when two competing companies work together in areas that do not offer competitive advantage. This article by Nick Allen examines how this can occur in the world of supply chain, and what considerations must be made before agreeing to work alongside a potential competitor for the greater good of both. First, both companies have to determine where they actually compete ““ and where they can work together to strengthen both companies Colin Maund, chairman of Achilles Group, explains that this requires some new thinking in the supply chain industry: However, how can companies share risk and rewards on these collaborations? Maund believes that companies have to be innovative about defining the areas where they truly compete and the areas where collaboration is sensible and possible. He says, “The first thing is to do a value chain analysis or value engineering, and ask, “where do we add value as a company, where is it absolutely against our interests, long term or short term, to work with others?'” But, he adds a word of caution: “It's important to understand these boundaries as potentially, a company could undermine its own competitive advantage.” Currently companies like Kimberly Clark and Kellogg's use mutual efforts with other companies to help streamline areas where they do not compete with each other. There is a way of thinking of such efforts as helping competitors in the long run ( a better running supply chain will mean they can get their products to the store as quickly as you can), but the truth is both companies come away with a better operation than before, allowing for each to focus more time on the strategic efforts in front of them.

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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