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Working together pays off, whether that means selling another distributor’s inventory, opening a joint branch or combining operations. The key is to ensure that all parties involved are receiving more value by collaborating than they would by working independently, says Evan Rosen, author of The Culture of Collaboration, in Distributor Collaborations Build Value, Local Influence.
But some pieces must be carefully analyzed and planned in order for that value to take effect.
“When two lovers move in together, often there is no plan for the length of the relationship and each person’s role,” Rosen says. “To avoid a similar situation, collaborating organizations need structure and clarity at the outset.”
Some operations processes have high success rates for collaboration, such as purchasing and order fulfillment. Those processes can easily be compartmentalized so that either company can manage them. But other business details are ideally kept separate to maintain integrity of each company's brand.