Why and how to establish and trustworthy business relationships?

Trust is not only a facilitator of commercial relationships, it also allows for collaboration between companies that are far apart geographically and culturally.

Trust is a fundamental element of the global economy. Every transaction, whether with coffee or the acquisition of a multinational company, is based on a level of trust: the assurance that the goods or services offered match their description and that the buyer can pay for it.

But trust isn’t just a speeding role. It allows collaboration between companies that are far apart geographically and culturally. Trust also helps companies set, track and achieve social and environmental goals. In addition, it contributes to the recruitment and retention of the most effective employees. It acts as an important deterrent against bad deeds, such as corruption.

In every corner of the world, customers prefer to buy from companies that exhibit trustworthy behavior. During the pandemic, companies found that trusting their business partners improved their ability to make strategic decisions about their operations. This concept is also discussed in the white paper Build trust in business relationships from Economist Impact, which examines not only what trust is and how it is built, but also the challenges businesses face.

Trust as a strategic business priority

Building and maintaining a relationship of trust is a priority for companies. More than three-quarters of business leaders surveyed for the Economist Impact white paper say identifying reliable business partners is an important priority. The pandemic has exacerbated this trend: with a high level of trust between trading partners, it is easier to deal with the challenges posed by a slow world economy, rapidly changing consumer demand, as well as disruptions in supply chains. However, a high level of trust is not enough: these relationships can be even stronger thanks to other strategic measures.

How leaders define trust can be seen in the qualities they consider most important when choosing a new business partner. The Economist Impact survey identifies seven attributes: quality, financial strength and profitability equal to competence and consistency, willingness to share information, hence transparency and collaboration, as well as shared values ​​and respect. to global and local standards commensurate with integrity and accountability. .

In addition, the majority of respondents (86%) said their organization was more likely to work with a potential partner who demonstrated transparency, accountability and integrity in its operations.

Sustainability and management of the supply chain as key indicators of confidence

Trust can also be built by achieving agreed-upon goals, such as sustainability goals. In fact, trust is a criterion that makes it possible to measure the evolution of the mission set by the company itself. In addition to traditional measures, adherence to ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) standards can create a higher level of trust. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of executives surveyed in the Economist Impact study found improvement in ESG commitments and goals to be a high or important priority in their company’s leadership.

Many organizations are also adopting new technologies or digital tools to improve the sharing of data and information with their colleagues. Blockchain, for example, is an effective tool for facilitating and confirming trust between suppliers and customers. So, a month ago, Carrefour Bio announced the deployment of blockchain technology to provide full transparency on the origin and production methods of their products. The company is also the first European retailer to partner with IBM to launch a food traceability blockchain on the part of their products in 2018.

The limited supply chain perspective also emerged as the most important challenge in maintaining the trust of partners, as the entire chain perspective brings insights and data across all chain links. supply, anytime and anywhere.

This visibility contributes not only to the marketing of the products, but also to respect for ESG’s commitments. Really, how is it possible to accurately report the environmental or social impact of production when the company is not visible in the actions and performances of the companies that manufacture or manufacture the component elements of these products? It is easier to establish or maintain trust when a company is committed to respecting the commitments of its partners. As ESG standards are constantly evolving, companies can actively use contract data to verify compliance with their partners.

Trust is a virtue that is more valued by companies. The pandemic has fueled reliance on trade relations due to the unpredictable global economy and changes in supply and demand. At the same time, following ESG has emerged as an area that builds customer loyalty while building trust in business relationships, which ultimately improves the bottom line. So companies are trying to develop how their partners and customers understand the reliability of their brand. They also want to work with other companies that are considered reliable.

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