Following on from our previous articles on employee and customer trust, we asked Engineering Services National Supply Chain Manager, Gary Cole, to give us his thoughts on trust in the supply chain.
Does trust in construction exist?
Historically the construction industry has been perceived as a sector that lacks a collaborative attitude, and has relied on being confrontational or ‘macho’ as opposed to building partnerships. This still prevails today despite many industry leaders’ efforts promoting the benefits of partnering which requires openness, acceptance of new ideas, trust and mutual benefits. In practical terms this process is still not yet the norm. Briggs & Forrester are currently on a journey to address this with its supply chain with the key emphasis on trust.
How can we make a difference and improve trust in the supply chain?
In order to change the current perceptions, we must demonstrate that we trust our supply chain by sharing forward workload information, being more open with tender submission pricing and in doing so start to create an emotional link between businesses that generates trust.
By trusting our supply chain we will begin to develop trust in return. Our supply chain strategy is based on this premise – we need to build trust and believe in our supply chain to support and deliver mutually profitable projects consistently.
This is no simple task and something which will take a lot of people at all business levels outside their comfort zone. However without engendering this trust we would continue to be ‘the same as the rest’ which is behaviourally, emotionally and potentially financially limiting and needs to be addressed in order for us to be more effective and successful.
Here are a few ways in which trust in the supply chain can be developed:
Establishing a value chain network
Traditional transactional supply chain thinking has to be replaced by a win-win value chain approach, where partners work in true collaboration to achieve collective goals, rather than those of the individual businesses. In order to be successful, a thorough communications and engagement plan for each stakeholder needs to be implemented.
Unwavering support and advocacy at a senior level is a must, as with any process that involves change in business. This gives everyone the confidence and momentum – and a means to help remove roadblocks. To make a circular economy work, all parties have to move towards shared values and broader project objectives beyond the individual interests of each party – and that takes leaders who are willing to champion this approach.
Contracts of trust
Growth naturally creates supply chain complexity and logistics demands. Leaders can help to change how a company works with providers, including a system of monitored performance and a shared ‘open book’ feedback approach with supply chain partners. Tomorrow is #WQD2018 and our final article will be discussing why we are talking about trust on World Quality Day.