As strategic software consultants, we meet a lot of companies and organizations. Your business is our business — literally.
We talk (and write!) a lot about digital transformation — including ERP selection, process automation, and beyond. Yet while the technology is key to this transformation, there is another piece that is even more important:
There is a quote from George Bernard Shaw: “Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
Many businesses — especially legacy businesses — have been doing things in the same way for a long time just because that’s how it’s always been done. If you’ve heard yourself say “Good enough” or “That’s fine for now” it might be time to rethink it.
This has been especially true throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The disruption may have brought organizational challenges to light and if you want to make it through, you need to face them head-on.
Staying stuck in your comfort zone is easy to do – and often the long-term consequences aren’t easy to predict. But they show up in smaller ways… Unoptimized inventory. Lost production. Minor data inaccuracies that become major data inaccuracies over time.
The problem with “good enough for now” is that it isn’t helping you grow. “Fine” doesn’t surpass the competition. “Fine” doesn’t result in more revenue. “Fine” doesn’t achieve operational excellence.
If you’ve been “waiting and seeing,” it’s time to stop waiting and start doing.
So, how exactly can you do that?
Step One: Find Your Starting Point
You don’t need to change everything at once. But all change must start somewhere.
The best first step is often to identify the problems that are holding your business back (vs. jumping on a trendy solution).
The problems may not be what you think they are, or they may offer more opportunities for growth and actionable change than you’re even aware.
If you perceive that your company has outgrown your current ERP system, you may be looking to upgrade or even change systems. This can be a great opportunity to analyze what your business truly needs and find other process improvements that can make a huge difference without necessarily requiring a wholesale system change.
For instance, you may be dealing with a huge overstock or a shortfall in inventory as a result of inaccurate forecasting and buying patterns. A leaner real-time inventory replenishment model can help with steadier flow of inventory and reduce the potential for overstock or a shortfall over any given period of time.
DDMRP is a great example of a methodology and tool that can be deployed to better control and streamline the flow of inventory into a facility. The best part is that, to use it, you don’t need to go for a wholesale replacement of your existing ERP!
Step Two: Create a Strategic Plan That Leverages ROI
A common objection we hear about when discussing digital transformation is the cost. Many businesses want to know they will get a return on their technological investment.
The key to assessing ROI potential is starting with a strategy. Digital transformation is a journey — not an overnight change. Just as with a journey on foot, a map ensures you stay on the path.
Some programs, like the CME Technology Assessment Program (TAP) grant, are designed specifically for this part of the process. Don’t skip over the assessment piece and run straight for the solution. It may seem like a shortcut but it often leads to getting lost, or at the very least not getting as much of a return.
Step Three: Think Long-Term
As we said, digital transformation is a marathon, not a race. With that in mind, decisions need to be made that will not only improve your situation next week or next month but also next year or next decade.
We know that innovation and technology are here to stay, and it will only continue to grow. COVID-19 has shown too many businesses just how devastating it can be to operate without a plan.
You need to look for long-term strategies and solutions — ones that make your business as future-proof as possible. But what exactly does “future-proofing” mean? It doesn’t necessarily mean being able to predict the future — for example, we cannot say for certain when the COVID-19 pandemic will end or if we will see a second wave.
However, what it does mean is being prepared to adapt no matter what comes your way. You must be able to scale quickly and with agility. Have better forecasts and inventory control. Be able to adjust the supply chain stress-free. And make ongoing choices that give the flexibility and freedom to change with the times.
This is what being — and staying — competitive mean.
Together, these three steps can create a more resilient business that ditches the status quo for good. “Fine” may seem all right in the moment, but in order to achieve true, actionable change we need to push past “good enough” and move to operational excellence.
A digital transformation partner, like SHEA Global, can help businesses identify where to start, set a strategic course of action, and guide them along the path. Reach out to us today to get started.