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Take Your Partners

16 September 2010

Partnering has moved up to the next level with the adoption this autumn of a new British Standard, BS11000, that provides a framework for ‘collaborativeworking’ in all sectors and all sizes of organisation.

THE FACILITIES MANAGEMENT SECTOR IS not alone in adopting ‘partnership working’. PSL (Partnership Sourcing Limited) the CBI/DTI joint initiative, has been at the centre of promoting business collaboration and partnering across all industry sectors for nearly 20 years. During the last decade it has been capturing the knowledge and experience gained from its member organisations who have developed successful long term partnerships to discover what are the key elements that makes ‘collaborative working’ so successful.
This work has led to the development with BSI and government and procurement professionals of a framework designed to help organisations to establish, manage and improve strategic partnering across and within the public and private sectors. This framework, PAS11000 is currently undergoing its final public consultation before becoming a full British Standard - BS11000 for Collaborative Business Relationships - which will come into effect later this year.
Working with more than 60 leading companies operating in the UK and overseas, academia and government departments, PSL has sought through PAS 11000 to identify a consistent framework for collaborative working that can be applied in any business relationship of virtually any size and circumstances. Collaborative business relationships range from one-to-one with one supplier and one client through to networked relationships with multiple parties including external collaborators/partners or alliance partners, suppliers and various internal divisions and customers all working together. These are often termed ‘business ecosystems’. Collaborative relationships can also be applicable to consortia and joint venutres. PAS11000 does not, however, seek to force on organisations a rigid single approach but its framework allows and enables existing relationships to flourish.
PAS11000 will become BS11000 in November this year. It will enable organisations of any size and in any sector to apply proven good practice to its own business processes with each of its clients, but it is likely to be particularly valuable for complex and long term relationships where delivery of services and products are critical to the client’s business.
BS11000 will have a three stage approach containing eight individual related steps
Awareness: identifying where relationship management sits within overall business objectives
Knowledge: how others have approached collaborations and identify the right route to take
Internal Assessment: evaluate readiness to enter into single or multiple partnering arrangements
Partner Selection: selecting the right partner
Working Together: building joint approaches based on mutual advantage
Value Creation: developing added value from the relationship
Staying Together: delivering the agreed and expected services measuring and maintaining maximum benefit
Exit Strategy: develop and execute an exit strategy.
The key to the process is following a ‘route map’ together where organisations work collaboratively to improve the quality of their relationship, enhance innovation, drive down costs and deliver the outcomes be that an improved product or a service. This process establishes a common foundation and language that can be followed throughout the life of the relationship, particularly valuable where this may extend over several decades, out-living the personnel who initially drew up the original contract. It has been likened to a ‘glue’ that keeps the collaborative way of working on track and as strong and effective at the end as it was in the beginning of the relationship.
PSL has developed CRAFT – Collaborative Relationship, Assessment, Fulfilment and Transformation – that helps organisations through the process with guides, tools and workshop applications. It has also established an extensive international network and has an expectation that BS1100 will in time lead to an ISO standard.
So far, five organisations, all members of PSL’s Executive Partnering Knowledge Network, have undertaken a pilot and obtained PAS11000. The Ministry of Defence has adopted PAS11000 and it has been included as a consideration in its ITTs when selecting potential supply partners – although it is not mandantory. Its revised Partnering Handbook due in 2011 will give some recognition to suppliers working to BS11000.
EMCOR Group (UK) is the first in the FM sector to have achieved the standard with its client, BAE Systems. The other companies with PAS11000 so far are Lockheed Martin UK, NATS, Raytheon Systems Limited and VT Group.
Christopher Kehoe, Divisional Director at EMCOR explained that the company had a strong track record in building business relationships and that one attraction of the PAS11000 standard was the benefit of external verification of its approach and processes. Kehoe explained that by applying the PAS11000 process, EMCOR “Found opportunities to improve on knowledge management and transfer within the company. We found that it provided an anchor for the various strands of our business with BAE Systems and it indentified that we needed to communicate better across the business and externally.“
He explained that the standard is important in facilitating change and helps people to understand what is important, to anticipate change and to prepare. Additionally the company expects to benefit by creating more value and building more secure relationships with existing clients, improving communications internally and externally, as well as using it to assist in seeking and developing new client relationships.
Kehoe said, “The benefits in the FM sphere are wide ranging and result in an improved quality of relationship which supports customers through periods of pressure and business change. A long-term partnership not only mitigates business risk due to switching suppliers but also brings other benefits to our customers such as working together towards reduced costs and sustainability objectives and allowing them to draw on our wider expertise and best practice.”
He explained that PAS11000 proved beneficial when working with BAE Systems to change the way services were delivered at no extra costs and with improved availability of facilities – contributing to BAE’s programme to deliver aircraft 30 percent cheaper and more quickly.
EMCOR is also one of six companies working with NATS – National Air Traffice Services – all now certified under PAS11000. The others are BT (communications), Capita (recruitment), and technical supply partners, Lockhead Martin, Indra and SELEX Galileo.
As Supply Chain & Business Services Director at NATS, Chris Odam, explained, “We thought our collaborative relationships were good but by applying PAS11000 in the pilot, we recognised gaps particularly in knowledge management between the partners, joint value creation and in developing exit strategies.”
He said that he had found it valuable for engaging internal stakeholders beyond supply chain management, developing the skills of the people involved in the collaborations and benchmarking these supplier relationships with other organisations that are also following the standard.
As Odam explained, “The PAS11000 standard drives value and takes collaborative relationships to the next level. Both NATS and EMCOR have a strong appetite to improve work quality and effectiveness. Relationship management is now a continual management process.”
He highlight three key benefits to NATS of adopting PAS11000:
● Enhancing existing supplier relationship management processes
● Helping to de-risk the big relationships with existing suppliers and aligning strategic aims
● De-mystifying partnering and collaboration in your organisations. “Knowing what it is
enables the profile of partnering to be raised in the organisation,“ he said.
For Kehoe, the key benefits to EMCOR have been:
● Demonstrating a maturity of relationship as both parties are committed to facing harsh
realities in future
● De-risking relationships based on individuals by mapping out the relationship and ensuring that when people change the knowledge of how to work together is not lost
● Simplifying and distilling the challenge that your contract is facing now and in the future. “It focuses on what you can do for the customer and plan for the future,” he said.

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