To build and to maintain a successful relationships with business partners that are external to your organization, can make a difference. Particularly, when this business partner plays a crucial role in your business success. So what is the path to find the right match? And how do you ensure a fruitful and enduring relationship? The short answer, as with any relationship, is that it takes something to get something. So, what does it take? And what to expect from a successful relationship with such business partner? This article provides insight in ISO 44001. The international standard for business relationship management. With a focus on B2B, or Business-to-Business, relationships. With business partners that are external to your organization.
ISO 44001 defines what it takes to establish a successful B2B business relationship.
What is ISO 44001?
ISO 44001 is the international norm for Business Relationship Management (BRM). It aims to have relationships that are more effective. That have a higher rate of success. Additionally, relationships that have a longer longevity. The ISO 44001 standard was released in 2017. Its release, underlines yet again the importance for organizations to develop, nurture and improve the BRM capability. As well as the BRM profession and the discipline of BRM.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the organization behind the ISO 44001 standard. It has based the standard on two fundamental concepts:
- A management system
- The lifecycle of a collaborative relationship
- Lay the groundwork for a successful B2B relationship
- Provide the answer to what it takes to establish a successful B2B relationship.
A Management System
A management system is the framework of policies, processes, and procedures. An organization uses this system to ensure that it can perform all the activities that are required to achieve its objectives. In this case, to have successful business relationships. The main objective of the business relationship management system, or BRMS, of ISO 44001 is to achieve an effective collaboration between the parties.
Furthermore, ISO 44001 describes the implementation of an integrated process approach. This is an approach for the management of B2B business relationships. It consists of a set of minimum requirements to audit an organization against effective BRM. In other words, an organization can become ISO 44001 certified. Such audit is optional of course.
The BRMS consists of the following components:
- Context of the Organization
- What is the value the organization seeks from a business partnership?
- What is the role of top management to ensure the business partnership is successful?
- What are the preparations to ensure a smooth start of the business partnership?
- What is the support system for a successful business partnership?
- What does the lifecycle of successful business partnership look like?
- Performance Evaluation
- How to measure the success of the B2B relationship?
- How to determine and how to manage opportunities for improvement?
As a result, each component is a building block of a solid foundation. One that enables the lifecycle of a B2B relationship that is successful.
The Lifecycle of a Collaborative Relationship
For a B2B relationship to be effective, the organization that looks for a business partner must perform numerous activities. These activities are related to each other. ISO 44001 defines these activities and these relationships. All this is captured in BRM processes. Furthermore, ISO 44001 promotes the coordinated integration and implementation of these processes. These processes provide the ongoing control of the collaboration between the parties. They also seek for greater efficiencies. As well as for opportunities to continuously improve the performance of the BRMS.
The Operation component of the BRMS of ISO 44001 consists of a number of activities. These activities follow the lifecycle of a collaborative B2B relationship. The standard defines the following eight stages of such lifecycle:
Each stage sets clear goals. And each stage references the activities that are to be performed. And finally, each stage lists the deliverables and the outcomes that are to be achieved. By executing these activities you set your B2B relationship up for success. In essence, ISO 44001 provides you with a checklist to execute on. This list is also used as your assessment of the quality of the relationship. It helps to determine the improvements of any existing business partnership.
The ISO 44001 standard is just one more tool to consider for your BRM toolkit. Whether you seek compliance with the standard. Or maybe even ISO 44001 certification for your organization. Or whether you simply look for straightforward guidance on how to establish and improve B2B relationships.
Obviously, your first step is to purchase a copy of ISO 44001 standard at www.iso.org. Second, consider to attend a 1-day ISO 44001 Fundamentals course. Alternatively, attend the 2-day Certified B2B BRM course.
More involved are the steps that will impact the way you do business with your external partners. Particularly, when you start to apply the guidance that the standard provides. For instance, few business partnerships discuss, regularly, any risks that have surfaced within both organizations. Risks that can impact the relationship. Or, few contracts require opportunities to be discussed frequently. Opportunities, to either enhance the existing service or product offering, or expand on it, based on needs or potential needs.
What has become a more accepted topic of discussion in business partnerships, is how the processes of the parties involved interface with each other. As well as the quality levels of these integrations.
These are just few examples that the ISO 44001 standard requires you to establish in support of successful B2B relationships.
Contact us to chat about how your organization can benefit from ISO 44001. We will make it a worthwhile consideration. And we always greatly appreciate the opportunity to answer all your questions.