QFD for product & business development

Making Alliances Work

Making Alliances Work

Making Alliances Work – Transforming customer and supplier performance on complex contracts


Organisation C was a ‘virtual organisation’; a joint venture between a well known IT company and a major UK retailer, to develop and implement an innovative, efficient and customer-friendly Point-of-Sale (POS) system – commonly referred to as a check-out. The organisation consisted of about 150 staff in total, based in two different locations: about 50 staff were employed by the retailer’s IT department, and were based at head office, and the remaining 100 staff were employed by, and based at, the IT supplier.


Although the IT supplier had been appointed following a rigorous selection process, and it was already working with the retailer, the recent history between the two organisations was far from harmonious, and was imbued with a lot of mistrust and a tendency to blame the other party whenever things went wrong. Sadly, this drove both organisations to express their requirements in greater and greater detail; a strategy which was poorly suited to the inherent complexity and the rapid evolution of the technology.


The power of combining competences in an allianceKey people in both organisations recognised that if Organisation C was to be a success then the working relationships would need to change radically. The proposed project was critical to the retailer’s short-term and long-term competitive strategies, and it was vital that the systems fulfilled their specification and were rolled out to schedule. Equally, the complex and evolving nature of: the competitive environment; the requirements; and the technical possibilities, meant that resolving trust issues through tight specifications would severely limit, and probably compromise, the end result.
The retailer had been using QFD in a number of other areas of its business, and recognised the potential of the tool to create and focus a higher level of teamwork and trust between the two organisations. Accordingly, it was agreed to use QFD to develop a ‘virtual organisation’; an interrelated structure within two separate organisations, with common goals and agreed ways of delivering them.

Read the full article → Making Alliances Work


Leave a Reply