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An overview of BS11000 Stage 2 : Knowledge

BS11000, the British Standard for Collaborative Business Relationships is the first of its type in the world to formalise how organisations approach mutual relationships and this Blog (2/8) is part of a series where we look at each stage in a little more depth.

BS11000 Stage 2 : Knowledge

Stage 2, is again part of initial the Strategic Phase of the Standard which continues the process of truly understanding the potential benefits of a formalised collaborative approach. The ‘Knowledge’ stage focusses predominantly on setting out a strategy for a potential collaborative arrangement, which in turn informs the thought process and helps develop your plan.

Stage-2-KnowledgeThe first action in this stage I suppose is to understand whether collaboration is appropriate. Obviously, we are all nice people and will want to get along agreeably with our business relationships but sometimes, investing additional effort to work collaboratively will reap no tangible benefit. For example, transactional relationships which are generally of low-complexity are likely to reap little additional benefit even if worked to the highest level of collaboration but transactional relationships are equally important, for the right areas of business. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you are investing all your good collaborative efforts in the right places, which is why you need a plan, more specifically aBusiness Strategy that sets out objectives, operating models, benefit and value analysis and identifies potential collaborative relationships.

Once you start looking at your Business Strategy, it is important to understand what your expected objectives are from that relationship and more importantly, what are the drivers that sit behind these objectives. These will probably differ, for different relationships. For example, an objective may be long-term secured work but without stating the obvious, you really need to understand why you want this, and this may not be so obvious. Is it secured turnover, profitability or to provide the platform to recruit or invest in staff development or even specific research, or process refinement – this may vary depending on your partner. So, having established the whys, you need to review the who’s – are theresuitable partners with the with high potential to benefit from working collaboratively with and what would be the benefits in forming these relationships and the specific objectives for these relationships and how would you exit these relationships.

Embedding collaborative practice may well impact on the day to day operation of your business and therefore, an implementation plan is necessary and more importantly, it needs to be clearly identified which key individuals need to play which roles and to establish whether they have the correct skills to do so and the Levels of Authority that they will be afforded. To understand this you really will need to undertake a Competency Review and where there is an identified shortfall in capability, appropriate training needs to be put in place.

Collaboration when working well will improve the flow and transfer of knowledge, so it is important to put in place the right environment to accommodate this later on and to encourage creative thinking. A knowledge map will help track the information to be shared and process needs to support how this is generated, captured and shared and also, there needs to be clear parameters from the outset to identify what information is shared or withheld with which parties or individuals/levels.

Any mature business should apply a Risk Management process as a matter of course and this sits at the very heart of BS11000. You will need to establish the specific risks associated with managing your relationships and similarly, identify the opportunities and the have clear process in place to mitigate the risk and optimise the potential making sure that it is clear who has ownership. A formal process needs to be instilled to ensure that this happens and is continually assessed.

The above should allow form the skeleton of your Implementation Plan and once completed, needs to be communicated to various stakeholders, before as always, updating your Relationship Management Plan.

The text above sets out in very general terms the process for Stage 2 – ‘Knowledge’ of BS11000 and for ease of reference, listed below are the aspects that are necessary to satisfy compliance against the Standard :

  • Establish the objectives and key drivers for each collaborative opportunity and evaluate if collaboration is appropriate
  • Identify the experience, skills and competencies of individuals that will be involved in any collaborative initiative
  • Establish a procedure to capture, create and manage knowledge within collaborative relationships
  • Establish guidelines for sharing knowledge between organizations
  • Establish procedure for developing a strategy and business case for each opportunity
  • Identify and document objectives of each collaborative relationship
  • Analyse the market sector, customer base, requirements and expectations of customers
  • Evaluate value of the relationship in the context of the overall business objectives
  • Identify potential collaborative organizations against the specific opportunities
  • Develop an initial exit strategy assessment
  • Integrate relationship management into established overall risk management policy and processes
  • Identify and assess internal issues which could result in significant risks to performance
  • Undertake a business impact assessment relative to collaborative working
  • Consider the implications on sustainability within the context of collaborative risk management
  • Establish that each identified risk issue is appropriately assigned for resolution or mitigation
  • Establish and regularly review the implementation plan and maintain the relationship management plan

Much of compliance against BS11000 is being able to evidence the points above and it is much simpler to instil the importance of this during the initial stages; so ensure that a progressive file structure is created from the outset.  Documentation should be formally controlled.

In a brief Blog such as this, it is not possible to set out all of the requirements to ensure compliance against Stage 2 BS11000, so for those considering embarking on this journey, please refer also to Clause 4 of the Standard, along with Annex A for further guidance, or alternatively drop me a line .

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Collaborative working and BS11000

Again, I hope you found this of use.

Tim Fitch

Tim Fitch has extensive civil engineering leadership experience, gained particularly in the geotechnical and rail sectors, where he has helped niche businesses become market leaders, and quadrupled turnover in Taylor Woodrow’s rail division.

With a strong background in business development, Tim spearheaded growth at Vinci’s civil engineering division, deploying customer relationship and pipeline management techniques to grow the company’s work in the transport and energy sectors.

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