Building Strength through Long-Term Strategic Alliances


August 2, 2023

Brady Nicholls, Vice President of Business Development at CHC Helicopter


In today's dynamic business landscape, companies face a myriad of challenges, from disruptive technologies to geopolitical tensions and economic downturns. To continue thriving, businesses must not only be adaptive but also proactive in their approach.

One effective way to achieve this is through forging long-term strategic alliances with partners and customers. A strategic alliance can be characterised as two companies combining knowledge and resources to generate value.

As competition intensifies and markets become more complex, forming proactive alliances can provide numerous benefits.

1.      Set shared goals

Strategic alliances enable companies to work toward common goals whilst maintaining their individual identities. Together, companies can engage in meaningful and instructive dialogues to identify a set of shared objectives that will deliver mutually beneficial results. Once those goals have been established, joint and separate actions can be agreed upon to meet them in a measured, effective and efficient way.

CHC has, for example, formed strategic alliances with a number of customers and agreed on shared goals on a range of issues, from operational performance to safety, sustainability, and technological innovation; the benefits of which we are already jointly experiencing.

2.      Identify, acknowledge, and mitigate risks

Businesses face various risks, including financial volatility, market uncertainties, and regulatory changes. By identifying risks together, companies can work in unison to future-proof their operations with a level of flexibility that enables each business to pivot swiftly in response to market shifts, thereby increasing resilience.

Over the last 75 years, CHC has amassed a wealth of knowledge and expertise and is now one of the world’s largest and most experienced helicopter operators. But that knowledge and experience is only one segment of the wider puzzle.

To deliver truly exceptional value, our expertise is best deployed when combined with our customers’ in-depth knowledge of their areas of operations – whether that be in offshore and onshore energy production, search and rescue operations, emergency medical services, utility services, or anything else. Our goal is always to ensure we can continue to support our customer's journey and success in a safe, reliable, and sustainable way, and strategic alliances provide the perfect platform to achieve this.

3.      Maximise opportunities

As business landscapes evolve, new opportunities to achieve unrealised value emerge. By forming strategic alliances, we can tap into the vast reservoir of knowledge and ideas possessed by all, increasing the likelihood of developing innovative products and services that address emerging market trends, and capitalise on them.

One example of the recent success we have had in deploying this approach is in improving the sustainability of customer flights. Our ClearSkies proprietary flight planning software was developed in close collaboration with core customers who supported trials in different markets. The result: verifiable reductions of at least 5% of C02 emissions for customer flights – an outcome welcomed by several stakeholder groups.

There are countless opportunities emerging in the market presently, and we are committed to working ever closer with our customers to maximise those opportunities for our businesses, people, investors, and the environment.

4.      Learning and skills development

Another benefit of strategic alliances is exposing your team members to new ideas, methodologies, and work cultures, which can lead to personal and professional skills development. The cross-pollination of talent and knowledge can boost overall organisational creativity and unlock a world of opportunities that would be difficult to attain independently.

This year, myself and a number of colleagues from across our global organisation have been able to spend dedicated time with our customers to develop joint action plans and explore new ways of working. It’s been a hugely enjoyable and rewarding experience for all parties involved, and we are looking forward to continuing to build on our relationships in the months and years ahead.

The above are just a few examples of the benefits strategic alliances can deliver.

For businesses aiming to remain agile and thriving in an ever-changing business landscape, forming strategic alliances is not just an option but a strategic imperative. The future belongs to those who recognise the power of strategic alliances and can harness them to reach new heights of success.

We’d love to learn more about your unique challenges and opportunities and explore how a strategic alliance could benefit your business. Let’s get together.