When you're confronted with an overwhelming challenge, one that may be facing your entire industry, it can seem impossible to overcome it. Instead of tackling it alone, however, you have the option to rely on the collective resources that manifest from the formation of a strategic industry partnership. Before you join forces, though, you have a few questions to answer. Where do you find your partner? Who are they? What should you share with them?


To get started on the right path to collaboration, follow these nine steps:

1) Identify your goals

Based on the state of the industry, does your organization need to adapt to meet newly established standards? Do you need to implement new methods of production or sustainability strategies? Although these are challenges that your own organization is facing, chances are high that other businesses are looking for the same solutions.

2) Pinpoint which companies can enable those goals

Examine the population of businesses in your field. Of the options in front of you, who among them would be able to work alongside you to overcome those goals? Looking to membership organizations or consortia that fit your industry are good places to start.

3) Assess what you can offer those companies

An important factor in choosing your strategic industry partners will be identifying what you're going to put into the relationship. Proposing a collaborative effort will only resonate if it's clear the outcome will be a win-win.

4) Reach out to best-fit candidates

This step requires some tact, and usually necessitates involvement from high-profile members of your organization. It's also important to consider the environment in which you make your proposal; events and conferences that are already staged as settings for collaboration usually prime businesses to being open to the possibility of a partnership.

5) Agree to objectives

If you find an organization to work with, make it clear what the purpose of the collaboration is. Documenting the intentions of each group will establish accountability for any work that's performed, as well as prompt a conversation to get both teams on the same page.

6) Offer up resources

Evaluate the capital, personnel, technology, and/or other resources that you already have on hand and choose what you're able and willing to contribute to the collaborative effort. There's benefit to be found in both filling resource gaps and providing overlap, so contribute as much as you can (to equal measure of your partner).

7) Confirm needs are met

Gauge the health of the relationship so far and check that your strategic partner is satisfied with the contributions and roles. This is also a good way to once again confirm that all partners are in alignment on the purpose of the collaboration.

8) Identify any legal conflicts

With shared resources, it's possible that proprietary information or other sensitive details may be passed along during the course of your engagement. Highlight these and establish proper nondisclosure agreements or usage parameters for any of this information.

9) Reinforce the value of the partnership

Remind your own team and your partner why you've established this strategic partnership prior to engaging in work. You are more powerful and have more resources, knowledge, and experience together than on your own.


Where to Find Your Partners

Step 4, “Reach out to best-fit candidates,” is often a roadblock for organizations because they simply don't know where to start looking. In the electronics manufacturing space, iNEMI serves as a unifying organization for bringing industry leaders together, acting as a liaison and catalyst for progress. To see if iNEMI could serve your collaboration needs, download the overview flyer now.