“The only constant in life is change,” as stated by Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, from 500B.C. The year 2020 was packed with change. By some accounts, 3-5 years of technological advancement happened in one year. This change happens faster and sooner than previously anticipated partly due to technology and partly due to human innovation/resourcefulness. Change, for better or worse, affords us the opportunity to be more flexible, efficient, productive, and customer centric, all of which enable your company to succeed in the future.
As business people, when you are flexible, you anticipate, embrace, and prepare for change. Flexibility brought on by change equips us. Change forces us to be flexible. We all have to consider it, and companies are no different. Accepting the fact that technological advancements are about to impact your company is usually very hard for established companies. So, how do we use change to our advantage?
First, we can think about the COVID-19 pandemic and its change to business as we know it, especially for small companies. The bread and butter of small business is face-to-face interactions. With lockdowns and closures, this type of interaction stopped almost immediately, which meant revenue started drying up. Now, what do you do? The challenge was to meet your customer where they were spending their time, online. Technology and software, such as an e-commerce software solution like A+W iQuote for flat glass, window, and door fabricators, allowed companies to meet their customers online and sell products. Because of the pandemic, the need to employ e-commerce software on your website is now a vital tool for you to engage with and sell to customers. Did you add e-commerce capabilities to your website in 2020? Will you add it in 2021? Is it time for you to implement a direct-to-consumer selling strategy that involves your website?
Second, now that you sold your item online, how did you deliver the product safely to your customer? Logistics and the software that enables faster delivers suddenly became front and center. Logistics software, such as A+W Logistics Optimizer for flat glass, window, and door companies, allowed us to have toilet paper available and food on our tables, for example. It also enabled companies, such as yours, to ship products or track crews installing sneeze guards. Without these sneeze guards, much of the face-to-face commerce as we know it would have halted and more small businesses would have shuttered. For that, I thank you!
Third, with reduced revenue comes the need for a smaller staff. Technology provides us with solutions for this challenge. Robots or glass suction cup products, for example, enable workers to move more with less man/womanpower. With a smaller staff doing more things, technology allows your staff to learn new skills through training. Technology allows your employees to work more consistently and efficiently, which meets an on-going issue in our industry for years, work shortage.
Technology was part of the solution before and during the pandemic, and technology, especially software, will be part of the solutions after the pandemic. Technology provides you, your company, and your staff the tools to anticipate and embrace change, while allowing you to grow through the Internet of Things (IoT), Industry 4.0, and so much more. When change occurs, don’t stand still, but adapt to it. As Benjamin Franklin reminds us, “When you are finished changing, you are finished.”