BSI helps SMEs unlock the potential of business

Media release - 23rd February 2012

New guidelines issued to encourage successful and sustainable collaboration

BSI has released new guidance to encourage and support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) as they embark upon business partnerships. Dovetailing the Cabinet Office initiative of opening up tenders for SMEs, the guidance addresses the barriers to successful collaboration and provides a framework for sustainable partnerships to help SMEs achieve growth.

BS 11000-2 - Collaborative business relationships – Part 2: Guide to implementing BS 11000-1 - is a new addition to BS 11000-1, a standard developed by BSI with industry and government outlining best practice principles for effective collaboration. The content of the new guidance was directly influenced by the SME community and contains practical recommendations for business collaborations.

In order to embrace their next phase of growth, SMEs frequently have to look to business partners to facilitate expansion. However, SMEs often struggle with complex tendering processes, access to supply chains and face operational challenges such as costs and inefficiencies due to their size. By issuing the new guidance, BSI aims to provide SMEs with a platform to overcome these barriers to successful partnerships and ultimately growth.

BS 11000-2 explains the importance of the eight stage collaboration framework set out in Part 1 of the standard and contains practical examples for implementation based on the requirements and concerns expressed by the SME community. In particular, the standard provides guidelines for entrance and exit strategies for business relationships, effectively providing a ‘pre-nup’ agreement template for SMEs to adopt. This will be particularly beneficial for smaller organisations that traditionally find barriers to partnering in tendering and contract negotiation.

The BS 11000 approach has been welcomed by large organisations such as the Ministry of Defence, BT and Network Rail. Part 2 intends to provide practical guidance for organizations of all sizes and has been priced competitively to reflect this.

To support the launch of the guidance BSI has spoken to SMEs from all sectors on the benefits of collaboration at a series of national networking events. These collaborative briefings began at Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus, home to 100 high tech SMEs, and will continue with sessions in March and April at Harwell Oxford and Business North West in Manchester.

John Leake, Chair of the North West Innovation Network and business development manager at Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus said: “BS 11000 provides an effective business model for organisations to achieve excellence through partnership and collaboration. At Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus, we witness first-hand the tangible benefits that collaboration between businesses can bring, and we welcome this new guidance which addresses the needs and challenges faced by many small and medium-sized enterprises.”

BSI has produced a free supplementary Smart Guide to Collaboration to help organisations understand what is involved in building successful partnerships the BS 11000 way.