Collaboration: are you a leader or a laggard?

Date : 22 October 2019

We recently published the first in a three-part series benchmarking the building blocks of industry collaboration. To support the work, we gathered the views of over 200 global respondents from mainly commercial and supply chain roles. In this blog, I’ll explore a selection of the key findings.

We asked respondents to benchmark their business’s capability in 13 areas. We grouped these into six focus areas. Part one looked at Strategy & Structure, part two, which has just been published, focuses on Tech & Data. Part three, due in a couple of weeks, explores Culture and capability.

Below is the framework we used – with capabilities ranging from Entry level at one end of the spectrum to Trailblazing at the other. We defined capabilities for the five levels in each segment, asking responders to map their capability against our definitions.

Source: Global collaboration benchmarking – part 1, strategy and structure – setting up for success, IGD

What the benchmarks tell us

The benchmarks give us a sense of where the industry is either lagging or excelling and in doing so, points to actions businesses and their people can take to improve. Here’s a selection of recommendations based on the results from the Strategy and Structure segments:

  1. Major on your planning process

Ruthlessly focus on your forward planning process. How tailored it is to your customers has the strongest correlation to customer centricity.

  1. Get on the same page

Commercial and supply chain teams have different views on the responsiveness of their business. Align to improve your customers’ experience.

  1. Develop a fluid structure

An agile structure is linked to progressive performance measurement, meaning people are rewarded for focusing on the things that add the most value.

  1. Remove your blinkers

Be inspired by smaller competitors – they are more agile and more responsive to demand than larger businesses.

  1. Be cross-functional

Most don’t have a progressive approach to internal collaboration. Develop this to improve external engagement and your ability to create value.

The Planning process

Of all the 13 measures in our framework, Planning Process, which forms part of the strategy segment, yielded the most balanced results. The average score across all participants was 3 out of 5 – among the higher scoring areas.  

The Planning process is a measure of a business's ability to think long-term, which can seem at odds with the fast-paced and volatile market most operate in, yet it remains crucial to successful collaboration and essential to both planning for and delivering growth. Both activities depend on collaboration and cannot be achieved alone.

Below is the maturity scale for the Planning process measure.  Where does your business best fit?

Source: Global collaboration benchmarking – part 1, strategy and structure – setting up for success, IGD


If your business is at the entry level, you can see what you need to do to bridge the gap to the pack – 32% of respondents are at stage 3. If your business is trailblazing, you now know where the rest of the industry sits. But the benchmarks provide more than just affirmation. They should also provide inspiration…

Many of the areas we’ve benchmarked are strongly correlated with others. Planning Process is one of these, indicating it has the potential to positively influence other important building blocks of collaboration and vice-versa.

The chart below details two of these clear correlations – with both Customer engagement and Customer centricity. If your business is trailblazing in its planning process, is it also highly engaged with key customers and customer centric? If not, you may well be missing a trick as the results suggest that businesses with an advanced approach to planning are leveraging this to unlock opportunities with customers. Take a look at the report to understand what the scale looks like for both of these measures.

Source: Global collaboration benchmarking – part 1, strategy and structure – setting up for success, IGD

What to do next

Part one, which looks at Strategy and structure, contains the total result for all 13 measures as well as information on the methodology used. If you want to develop your business’s planning process or its ability to be customer centric, Supply Chain Analysis has insight and inspiration to support you. Check out our recent report on how to create a customer centric supply chain strategy.

Part two, which focuses on Technology and Data, is now available – take a look and see how you compare in these two key areas.

If you want to explore an aspect of benchmarks in more detail, improve capability in any of the areas covered, capitalise on a strength or develop a weakness, IGD can help. Check out our IGD Solutions page to see how.

Chris Irish

Chris Irish

Head of Insight - Supply Chain

We surveyed Commercial and Supply Chain professionals to get their views on the building blocks for industry collaboration. This first report assesses the maturity of business structures and strategies and the vital roles they play.

This second report assesses the maturity of Tech and Data and the vital roles they play in effective collaboration.

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