International investors as well as current and former world leaders met this week in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, at the CII Partnership Summit. Participants discussed opportunities to promote financial stability and economic growth through international investment in India. The event was co-organized by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Uttar Pradesh government, and the Confederation of Indian Industry. While there were no extraordinary outcomes reported, the summit was another opportunity for India to woo global investors and bring attention to emerging opportunities.
The conference opened on Sunday with an address by Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, which reiterated India’s national manufacturing policy originally announced in 2011. It aims to create more than 100 million jobs and take manufacturing’s share of the Indian gross domestic product from 16 to 26 percent over the next decade. Various policies and trade agreements are being put into place to support this policy.
The summit closed Wednesday with a keynote address from Australia’s Lindsay Fox, who is among the world’s richest people and is best known as the founder and chairman of his family-owned trucking and logistics company, Linfox. In his address, “Global Partnerships for Enduring Growth,” Fox discussed how business opportunities and personal relationships often develop in tandem. As reported by the Times of India, Fox asked everyone in the audience to stand up and greet each other “as if you have discovered your lost childhood friend." Fox said, "If you want to trade and do business, then you have to network … We are here to do business and try to work out the outcomes with India."
Investing in relationships
Fox’s comments resonated with me and are consistent with my experience in India and around the world. Developing strong, supportive business relationships is the key to creating successful partnerships with customers and suppliers. This requires getting to know business partners as people; listening to them; and understanding their priorities, the opportunities they see, and the concerns they have.
Just as you invest money to make more money, you must invest time in developing relationships. In some parts of the world, the investment of time is considerable. In doing business with partners outside our own countries and cultures, we have to be especially sensitive to how the process of forming relationships varies and may stretch us to be more flexible. But as those of you responsible for global business development and sourcing will affirm, the time invested in forming solid relationships with potential business partners pays dividends in successful partnerships that are accretive to both organizations.
As Fox says, networking is important. APICS provides professionals with a structured forum for networking. And while schedules are demanding, taking advantage of conferences, such as APICS Asia Supply Chain and Operations 2013 in Mumbai, India, April 4–5, provides professionals the opportunity to learn from and about one another. In the end, companies do not do business with companies as much as people do business with people.
APICS certifications are known as the standards in global supply chain and operations. When professionals think of APICS, they think of our certifications. Increasingly, however, APICS also is a conduit by which professionals from across the world can form relationships with one another. I hope this year you will make it a priority to attend an APICS event or an event offered by one of more than 280 APICS partners serving you locally.
Questions for discussion