Robert C. Parker, C.P.M.,

Robert Parker is one of the world’s most knowledgeable experts in the practice of effective supply chain relationships. For the past 20 years, Mr. Parker has been working with major Fortune 500 companies to help them develop better relationships with both customers and suppliers, and achieve higher margins as a result. In collaboration with John Carlisle, Mr. Parker co-authored Beyond Negotiation, a book on improving buyer-supplier relationships in Total Quality environments. The book was highly praised by the legendary Dr. W. Edwards Deming, creator of the Total Quality principle, as being “momentous for the improvement of the relationship between customer and supplier.” Mr. Parker and Mr. Carlisle are the co-authors of Persona’s Cooperation & Beyond? feedback and workshop program designed to help companies create powerful, trusting relationships with organizations up and down the supply chain. Collectively, they have trained more than 8,000 sales, manufacturing, purchasing, and technical managers in the U.S., Europe, and Asia to help them improve behavior in value-added supply chains. Cooperation & Beyond? has been a great success for companies such as Shell, which used the program to reduce costs on North Sea Oil platform drilling projects by 18% in just six months. Other companies, such as Chevron Oil and Steelcase Furniture, forged a long-term, trusting relationship after taking the program together. Exxon and Monsanto are other successful program users.


Mr. Parker developed his approach to supply chain relationships after years of working on the front line as a senior manager at Ford Motor Company, and as an officer at International Harvester. While managing major purchasing and logistics projects in Europe and the Far East, Mr. Parker saw firsthand the need for supply chain alliances that were built on trust and a mutually comfortable risk level. “The concept of good relationships between complex companies is clearly an idea whose time has come,” says Mr. Parker. In the late 1980s, Mr. Parker met Jon Gornstein, founder of Persona Global, while both were consulting for Motorola. With John Carlisle, a respected consultant in effective negotiation, the three developed Cooperation & Beyond?. As part of this program, participants got feedback on how they were perceived by others in a valued relationship, and helped in completing a plan that would enable them to greatly improve that relationship.

Current Activities

As the owner of Parker Management Associates, Mr. Parker assists Fortune 500 companies in reducing purchasing costs, team building, improving management organizations, developing decision support systems, and increasing operational efficiency. His Fortune 500 clients include American Express, Chrysler, Motorola, Amoco, and American Standard. Mr. Parker has been an active participant in Persona Global conferences and symposiums specifically focused on Cooperation & Beyond.


Since 1982, Mr. Parker has counseled major U.S. and European clients on ways to develop more mutually beneficial relationships with key customers, suppliers, carriers, and other strategic partners. Mr. Parker spent 25 years as a manager of purchasing, transportation, materials, and facilities functions at Ford Motor Company and International Harvester. Later, he was promoted to officer level. For six years, he was stationed in Europe and the Far East.


Mr. Parker holds an M.B.A. from the University of Detroit, and a B.S. from the University of Nebraska. He also has advanced diplomas from the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management, Senior Executive Program, and the Institute of Purchasing and Supply in Cambridge, England. He is a C.P.M. (Certified Purchasing Manager) as well.


Beyond Negotiation was published in 1989 by John Wiley & Sons. It has been printed in English, Italian, and Chinese.

Industry Affiliations

Mr. Parker is a long time member of the Institute for Supply Management (formerly NAPM). He launched the Ethical Standards Committee for the Institute and chaired the committee for six years. Mr. Parker was co-founder and the first Executive Director of the National Initiative for Supply Chain Integration. He was the former president of the Chicago Regional Purchasing Council.