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Why having a network of Partners is so Important

On Aug 11, 2020

In life it is important to have strong partners that you can rely on in any situation. The same holds true in the business world. With today’s challenging environment, you need to have flexibility and the ability to respond to any task put in front of you. There are times you can handle new tasks or changes alone, but there are also times when you need to rely on someone outside of your company to provide some or all of that support. That is the reason to have a well-developed team of partners that can provide you with the assistance in time of need. Today we’ll discuss the value of a partner network and how to find potential partners and select the best one for your solution.

When you may need to work with a partner: It is not uncommon to be assigned a new project or task that has elements that you have limited to no experience with, or which exceeds your personal or department’s bandwidth. This requires you to make a decision; either you must invest the time and effort in team members to research the topic to gain the knowledge or you need to find the right partner and leverage their years of experience and technical expertise. This could include a product, a service, or both. Whatever the case may be, having an established network of reliable partners can remove the burden from your team allowing them to focus on their areas of expertise while delivering the best solution possible. Here is an example of how we used partners to deliver a solution to one of our customers.

We were quoting a major Test Dyne project that had a few technical elements that were outside of our core competencies. During the quoting phase we identified all of the major elements of the project and decided where we were a strong fit for and where we needed to find someone that could augment our team to deliver the best results for the customer. Work was done to understand the requirements for each element and then to research potential partners. Once a list of partners was found, time was spent meeting with and learning about each vendor’s product or service. NOTE: This can quickly turn into an unfocused sales pitch from a potential partner. It is important for you to thoroughly understand your project requirements and make decisions based on those. we decided on which potential partners fit best for our project needs and those selected were included and involved during the quoting process. By incorporating the selected partners in the project quoting and customer reviews, it solidified our position and showed the customer that we were committed to delivering the best solution for their project. At the end of the day, we were awarded the project and delivered systems that our customer is currently using to test the durability of their products

How to find a Partner:

  • Discuss your requirement with your co-workers, past and present, and also other trusted suppliers and partners that may have faceda similar situation and can provide recommendations.
  • Personal Experience. Over the years, you may have developed a list of partners that have delivered great results. At Ball Systems, our partner list includes NI (formally National Instruments), Keyence, VPC and Keysight Technologies.Ball Systems Partner Logos
  • Ask Your Customer or Project Owner. If they are asking you to quote or are assigning you the work, they may already have some suggestions on specialists who can address key aspects of the project.
  • Internet Searches. Google is a powerful way to find about any information that you are looking for.

How to know you have found the right partner:

  • How well their product or solution fits with your needs. Having something that achieves the requirements of the project is the end goal. However, it is important to evaluate all the elements of the solution and weigh each of those into the final decision about their fit in the final solution.
  • Integration support/training offered. A partner will be there providing the necessary support to integrate their solution into the final deliverable of the project. There are times where a partner will provide development work as part of their delivery at little to no cost.
  • Experience with needs/projects like yours. Ask questions to understand what they have done in the past. Ask for examples. It is important to do your homework and not partner with the first company you find.
  • A cultural fit. Are they committed to customer satisfaction, schedules, budget, etc. in the same way that you are? If not, move on.

It is important to understand that you need to do a tremendous amount of work before starting your partner search. You need to be aware there are potential pitfalls to working with partners. Not all marriages are made in heaven however when the right partners are selected, they bring tremendous value. They can become an extension to your current team and someone that can deliver the results now and in the future.

Are you currently searching for an engineering partner? Contact us today to see how you can leverage our core capabilities on your next project.

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