Collaborative Enterprise Models: Quality Networks

This is one of a 12-part series exploring Cooperation and Collaborative Business Model.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” – African Proverb



Are you looking for a way to work with others?

As part of our 12-part series on Professional Collaboration, we are going to look at 6 types of collaborative enterprise models over the next 6 articles. The following article discusses Quality Networks.

A Quality Network is a legal entity that is designed to create quality resources and assets, as well as a centralized voice, that creates a standard of quality for its industry or membership. These Quality Networks are about unifying a market, whether that is an industry or product market, a localized business or labour market. This type of collaborative enterprise is focused on the creation of standards and access to resources. It is best used in situations where collections or organizations are out of sync or are constantly working in silos and reinventing the wheel without any support or assistance. A Quality Network is also very valuable when a quality of standard has been created and it can be shared and replicated in other markets.

The main focus of a Quality Network is to provide a centralized asset to benefit the membership. Its services or licensed resources are made available to a membership that will benefit from its quality of standards.

How do Quality Networks work?

There are two main models of Quality Networks that are in common use.

Quality Network Model 1: Standards Dealer

Standards Dealer are very common and have been the preferred model for corporations looking to scale their enterprises. By far the most common use of the Standards Dealer is the Franchise. Corporations that have a valuable product look to open multiple locations for their businesses. These additional locations are given a standard of quality they are required to follow. In many Franchise agreements, everything is standardized including marketing or messaging, visual promotions and designs, supply chains, branding, policies, etc. The real value of the franchise approach is that your customer base can expect consistent quality and experience. The individual locations benefit from centralize marketing, HR support, leadership and resources.

The Standards Dealer model allows for a collaborative model that creates the need for cooperation in a top-down approach and membership is required to follow the expectations and standards of the centralized body.  There are many examples of this model is the Fast Foods restaurant industry.  Take McDonald’s for instance; every location is pretty much the same, the food doesn’t really differ within a country, you know what you are getting, and the individual stores receive a lot of benefits and support from the corporate headquarters. Another example would be with national and international nonprofit organization, like Big Brothers Big Sisters. These organizations are primarily independent but are under the umbrella of a centralized brand and mission. The parent organization assists the smaller, regional organizations with policies, processes and resources, while the organization is locally run and can meet the needs of the community it is serving.

To successfully develop this type of Quality Network, the membership who are purchasing or recreating the standards need to meet a minimum threshold or standard to be able to keep the quality assurance of the Standard Dealer’s product. This often means capital, contracts, access to talent and a strong understanding of the new market. For the Standards Dealer, they need to have the proper tools to bring on an additional location to the set standard. They need to understand what is replicable and what is unique to each market. In addition, they need to be dedicated to the success of their membership through continuous improvement, otherwise success could be elusive.

Quality Network Model 2: Support Coalition

A Support Coalition is an agency that is created by a group of organizations or individuals, who are looking to unify their efforts and bring similar organizations or individuals together as a collective. This entity can act as a collective voice for a group of organizations and individuals, providing training, referrals, advocacy, research and support. The Support Coalition’s main focus is to ensure that its members have the quality of support and resources to create success and prosperity. They can also provide a powerful voice for their membership.

The Support Coalition is typically funded through a membership fee for any person or group that joins. This means that the larger the group, the more profitable it is, and likely the more powerful its support will be. The role of a Support Coalition is typically identified from the common pain points of the individual or organizations involved, this allows them to unify around an aligned cause or purpose.

The Support Coalition is normally created from grass roots. One example of a Support Coalition is a Chamber of Commerce. A group of businesses, typically grouped by location, pays a membership fee to join or create a legal entity to act as an advocate and liaison to help members improve the quality of their communications, training, and their profile in the community. Members typically volunteer for leadership positions to support the Chamber of Commerce so it stays current to the needs of the membership and the revenues are not completely tied up in HR costs. Another example of a Support Coalition is a trade union. A group of workers who band together as a collective for bargaining and to insure the quality of their working conditions, benefits, and employment security.

To successfully develop this type of Quality Network, the entity needs to be very focused on membership engagement and have extremely good communication lines to ensure that the continuous improvement of quality is being managed. In addition, the membership needs to be aware of all the supports available to them.  The membership of the Support Coalition needs to commit and stay engaged in order to validate the efforts and outcomes of the Support Coalition. All stakeholders need to buy in to the efforts and strategic plan of the Support Coalition or it will be ineffective and not able to provide the quality support for which it is created.

The Takeaway

The need for quality supports and standards is a universal challenge for any organization. Quality control and the support of an advocate are not easy to create alone. It is only through collaboration that we can achieve these elements to help stabilize our businesses and organizations. By acquiring the resources and procedures from a Standards Dealer and leveraging their profile and assets for success, we can mitigate the risk of a new venture. By banding together with like-minded organizations in a Support Coalition and creating a central body to act as a unified voice, we can create the supports and resources that contribute to each other’s successes. There is power in numbers and there is stability in Quality Networks.

To learn more about Quality Networks contact our team at


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