Over the past few decades, we have seen many titans of industry fall as automation and digital transformation fundamentally changed the global framework. As the field of competition narrows, so too do the margins for error. In this new climate, three types of attitudes have emerged with very clear end results.
- Change–Opposed: Businesses that failed to invest in technology and optimization during the late 1990s and early 2000s are closing their doors or are on the verge of collapse. Change-opposed businesses are so far behind that only a significant investment and organization-wide focus could stand a chance, and I stress CHANCE, of turning the business around.
- Change-Resistant: Organizations that are resistant to change will generally only implement or support change when it is necessary to keep them competitive in the market. This is especially apparent in service and supply industries where technology was initially slow to take hold. The change-resistant mentality will always find itself struggling to keep up and over time will yield market share to the better prepared competitor with more efficient operations. Through a strong investment in technology and culture change, these businesses can still bridge the gap to become industry leaders. Failure to act aggressively toward investment and culture change within the next 3-5 years will land the organization into the opposed category.
- Change–Receptive: Businesses that openly embraced technological change and got out ahead of the curve are now thriving. The power of data has yielded improvements and changes to production that are sometimes as much as 400% more efficient than their opposed or resistant counterparts. By standardizing their technological investment and growth, these organizations will find that staying ahead of the competition is more maintenance than concern. Over time, these businesses will add so much value for the customer that competition against them will be almost nil.
If you are in the first two categories, your organization needs to act now to avoid eventual demise. I know it is a harsh reality, but the truth hurts. Failure to change will break your business, as it has thousands of others so far.
If you consider the organization in the change receptive category, kudos, but are you sure this is accurate?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the organization have any systems that are still reliant on deprecated processes or software? The fastest app and cloud service on earth doesn’t matter one bit if your fulfillment system runs off a thin client in DOS and produces 200 errors a day.
- Does the organization have departments, functions, or processes that are deemed untouchable because they are overly complicated or are no longer supported by the manufacturer?
- Does your organization rely on third-party software that may or may not be supported in the future?
- Does your organization lack a long-term plan for technology, data architecture, and system environment?
- Are there manual processes within the organization that should be automated or standardized to improve efficiency?
If the answer was yes to any of the above, your business is still struggling with change resistance on some level.
After conducting an assessment, accept where your organization falls within these three categories and make an aggressive action plan if you fall within the first two. If you are behind, bringing outside teams with experience in organization-wide digital transformation can substantially cut cost and effort out of the equation. It is the time required, not just cost, that should be of primary concern to business leaders who need to bring their organizations forward. When the dust settles, only the change-receptive will remain.
If you feel your organization has fallen behind, reach out to a partner like Alternative Solutions Consulting. We have helped several world-class organizations become the best versions of themselves, and we can help you too.
By Johnie Waddell
Lead Developer at Alternative Solutions Consulting