For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) working with other similar companies towards a common goal as part of a consortium can bring many benefits. Increased power and influence, and greater media exposure are just some of the advantages.
For a consortium to be successful it needs the individual organizations to have the same goals and for the alliance to be cost-effective for each member.
Advantages Of A Consortium
- Easier to achieve a shared objective because many companies are speaking with one voice.
- Sharing best practices and learning from each other’s expertise.
- Sharing business contacts amongst consortium members.
- Increased exposure and credibility in the media and the wider industry.
- Avoiding duplication of effort but still achieving goals.
Disadvantages Of A Consortium
- The decision-making process can be slower as more people have a vested interest.
- There will not always be a consensus amongst individual companies.
- Some consortium members may provide greater input than others leading to resentment.
- Finding enough time to commit fully to a consortium in addition to business as usual.
A Successful Consortium Example
Even though disadvantages clearly exist, there are many industries where individual companies are seeking to establish new consortiums or grow existing ones. One such industry is the social care sector.
In the western world, we all recognize that the better standards of health care over the past few decades means we are all living longer, which generates its own issues of how to ensure elderly people can have a good quality of life as they become older and frailer.
Fortunately, the burden of care does not fall entirely on the family and there is both care provided by governments for those unable to fund it themselves and also private care available for those with the means to pay.
In this private social care sector, there is something of a small revolution underway in societies that have, until now, viewed residential care homes the right choice for elderly people too frail to look after themselves. That small revolution is the option of live-in care – where a trained carer comes to look after a person in their own home so they can remain in familiar surroundings during their last years and not end up in a single room in a care home.
There were a number of companies working individually to increase awareness of the live-in care option but they wanted to have a bigger voice in an industry dominated by large care home companies.
Achieving A Bigger Voice
In 2012 a group of over 20 companies formed a consortium in order to work together for better social care for the elderly. That consortium, known as the Live In Care Hub, is now a well-established, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to raising awareness of better options for elderly care.
By combining their individual knowledge, experience and regional reach the Live-in Care Hub have been able to attain their goals in a way that each organisation alone would not have been able to do.
As a consortium, they can attend industry events from which smaller companies are excluded, they can all learn best practises from each other in order to grow and thrive. They have been able to commission research, conduct surveys and pool data and knowledge, which have led to greater media exposure; and their combined strength has increased their reach and credibility amongst the general public too.
But, most importantly of all, the combined experience and expertise of a consortium of companies has been able to develop a resource of impartial advice and information for elderly people and their families to ensure they recognise that there are many different choices when it comes to elderly care.
A Strategic Alliance
Forming consortiums is nothing new – such strategic alliances been shown many times to increase an alliance’s influence on the general public, in the media and in the industry in question. In the case of the Live-In Care Hub individual companies with the same values came together to reach a shared goal.
Benefits of coalitions
The Hub is just one of many consortiums to recognise that there is strength in numbers – it is succeeding with it’s objectives and the individual companies are benefitting.
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