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 (6/8) is part of a series where we look at each individual stage of the Standard in a little more depth.
BS11000 Stage 6 : Value Creation
Stage 6 is the sexy stage of BS11000 and is probably the area that most differentiates the Standard from simply partnering or working together. The Standard is relatively forward-thinking in that it attempts to overtly encourage organisations to create additional value through collaboration and the emphasis must be on the word ‘create’.
There will undoubtedly be value derived by working more effectively, through true collaborative practice but that is not stretching enough for the Standard and in order to achieve true compliance, the partnered collaborators need to set about genuinely capitalising on joint intelligence and need to actively put the necessary structure in place to generate additional value, through innovation and continual improvement.
‘Creating Value’ is the strapline for Invennt and our philosophy has always evolved around the principle that any intervention should be positive and produce an output benefit, so Stage 6 of BS11000 fits very well with our corporate ethic.
Before setting about constructing a formal process to create value, it is important that the right operating environment still prevails and this does not refer to the physical facilities of each organisation but more the willingness, drive and attitude, along with ability of the teams that will be tasked with looking for innovation, efficiencies and opportunity. This environment is set from the top, from the Senior and Management teams and creating value is an important indicator of the maturity of the relationship and therefore it is critical that the Exec Board are actively engaged in Target Setting and monitoring performance against pre-determined performance measures. Throughout the Standard, the importance of the Senior Exec Responsible (SER) is emphasised and this is a critical factor to all of the Stages, particularly this important stage.
Once everyone is revved up and desperate to make an impact, it is important that they are provided with a structured Value Creation Programme and this needs to be set by the joint management team with the support of the executive management. This isn’t simply a case of asking the team to go off and find value as it is important that it is considered what ‘value’ means to the collaborative partners as this may vary between organisations, as may the drivers that sit behind them. Hopefully you will have a reasonable idea already, having done much of the ground work up to partner selection but nevertheless, it needs to be clarified and clearly communicated across all parties involved. This stage provides the deliberate initiation of the innovation process, whereby the joint management team establish the mechanisms for formulating ideas and innovations to create additional value for the relationship.
Personally, I would suggest that a limited number of areas are identified for development and establish focus groups/improvement teams to develop these. These should then be recorded on a Value Register that captures all of the benefits of collaboration, remembering that value does not simply mean those ideas that solely can be monetised. Although the senior team may set the agenda, it is best to engage the wider team to firstly highlight good proposals for areas of consideration and then, to do the considering. Good proposals should undergo a cost-benefit analysis to test whether they are actually viable and once an initial list of areas to examine is determined, focussed improvement team(s)/focus groups need to be assembled to divide up the activities necessary. The improvement teams should be set timescales and as mentioned earlier, targets which need to be reported against to the management and exec teams. It is important that the teams have structured plans to review current activity, prepare proposals to improve, test these proposals and once satisfied, have a solid implementation strategy. Once implemented and running smoothly, the process can start again; after all, that’s what ‘continuous improvement’ is about but traditionally continuous improvement has simply meant re-setting the KPI benchmark but here, we are trying to continuously look at different areas to improve.
An integral part of the process is to ensure that there is a process to disseminate learning from the experience, so that the wider team understands where areas failed or were a success as this may modify an improvement team’s approach going forward. It is also beneficial that partners are open enough so that they can learn from each other’s different approaches, share knowledge and innovation about their core activities, in a belief that some efficiencies can be transferable.
Dependent on the length of the relationship, creating value should not be allowed to stagnate and should be a continual process, striving to constantly add value to the partnership. Consider refreshing teams or swapping staff around so that different members get an opportunity to ‘spark off’ each other and in theory, stay motivated. Also consider rewarding success and at the outset there should be an understanding by the Exec Team of what should happen to any additional revenue generated, whether this heads south to the bottom line or is re-invested into the partnership, which in turn could potentially create even further value.
Some team members will really embrace the value creation process, and others may be less so. Refer back to your competency and behavioural assessments from previous phases of the Standard to try to get the right balance within improvement teams or focus groups.
That, very quickly is an overview of Stage 6, Creating Value but as always, part of the formality of the Standard is to ensure that you update your Relationship Management Plan to reflect the changes and progress in the relationship as well as highlighting the value created.
The next Stage, starts to focus on maintaining the relationship throughout its remaining term and for those interested, this will be specifically dealt with in the next Blog Stage 7 – Staying Together, so watch out for that over the next couple of weeks.
The text above sets out in very general terms the process for Stage 6 of BS11000 – ‘Value Creation’ and for ease of reference, listed below are the high level aspects that are necessary to satisfy compliance against the Standard :
- Establish, implement, record and review a value creation process
- Establish as required improvement teams
- Identify issues and areas of improvement
- Jointly agree definitions of value to the partners
- Establish a process to ensure learning from experience
- Establish mechanisms for generating ideas and innovations to develop the collaborative relationship
- Update Relationship Management Plan
Much of compliance against BS11000 is being able to evidence the points above and it is simpler to instil the importance of this during each stage rather than retrospectively; so encourage your implementation team to keep the progressive file structure up to date. 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 6 BS11000, so for those considering embarking on this journey, please refer also to Clause 8 of the Standard, along with Annex A for further guidance, or alternatively drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org .
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As always, we hope you found this of use.