car production line with unfinished cars in a row

Build Competencies for Success with Major Customers

The Challenge: As a major supplier to the automotive industry, our client produces several key vehicle systems across its many divisions. They sell three major systems across a dozen vehicle models on four major continents to its largest automotive OEM customer. This relationship was expansive, but our client and its major customer considered it troubled. Our client had recently lost one significant bid because of one long-standing issue that had never been resolved.

Assessment: Using a detailed relationship assessment process and benchmark data base developed by Blue Canyon, we examined each of the key touch points, or contacts and interactions, between our client and this major customer. Our analysis found two widespread issues throughout the relationship, and learned that these two weaknesses were causing problems in the relationship, creating a climate of mistrust between our client and this automaker. The assessment also identified several areas where our client was not achieving best practice standards.

Strategic Solution: Collaboratively, Blue Canyon developed action plans to remedy the two major issues that were impeding their ability to improve this strategic account relationship. Our client then discussed these action plans with its customer. These discussions allowed our client to gain buy-in from the customer to ensure that they could successfully implement their action plans. We also worked with this client to strengthen several key internal processes that were important to their ability to better anticipate problems and quickly develop effective responses. An important change in our client’s internal processes involved creating new cross-functional teams with ongoing responsibilities for key relationships with this customer. Another new direction involved taking a proactive approach with this customer in discussions of new product and technology priorities.

Results: The relationship with this customer has returned to a more even keel, and the focus has shifted from past problems to future opportunities. Our client believes that its success in creating a healthy relationship enabled it to win several recent pieces of business with this customer.

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