Last month the UK government laid out its 10 pillars for industrial strategy with its aims to drive industrial growth and stability providing a basis for immediate impact and in the long term, the post-Brexit economy. In the few weeks that have past, there have been many business leaders stating their opinion on the plan. Lee Hopley, chief economist at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said that the plan would get ‘’wide support from manufacturers who recognise that industrial success will stem from a structured, transparent, long-term plan”. However, others such as Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of CBI Group, stated that the report lacked significant detail. As an independent and impartial consultancy focused on delivering business and systems change projects, we are not really about arguing for or against the finer details of government planning. However, what we are about is helping businesses ensure that their people, process and systems are robust enough to be able to withstand the tumultuous toing and froing that the current political and economic landscape is causing.
The report itself does touch upon this. One of the key pillars of the strategy talks about Upgrading Infrastructure, with special mention to digital infrastructure. Industrial organisations have, in the main, tended to be slow to uptake new digital technologies. From our experience, this has come from fear of disruption causing a negative impact, budgetary concerns and often a lack of resource to enable effective implementations. When combined with the current political and economic circumstances these justifications can conjure a heady brew of over-cautiousness for business leaders to make an investment in new technology. Although this cautiousness is entirely understandable, it can prove to be an Achilles heel when chasing growth and developing a sustainable competitive advantage.
To take this further, there is an increasingly stronger argument to be made that during times of uncertainty that is, in fact, the perfect time to invest in the future of your business. Change projects designed to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your business processes to allow for successful implementation of new digital technology not only strengthen the stability of your existing operations, but they can also provide a platform for sustainable growth. This is directly relatable to optimising existing or implementing business systems such as Business Intelligence, WMS, CRM, SCM or ERP systems etc.
The advances in technology, data capture and analysis within tools such as ERP or BI are continually offering up more improvement opportunities. As a result, organisations that have yet to embrace these tools or are using archaic versions are running the risk of losing ground to competitors as well as damaging their own balance sheets. Systems such as ERP and BI are no longer only applicable to huge enterprises. They provide clear value and long term ROI for businesses of any size. Being able to track, record, analyse and most importantly, base business-critical decisions on accurate, real-time data not only reduces risks, but it will also provide high level, pivotal insight. This provides an organisation with the confidence and assurance to make decisions that can remove wasted expenditure, improve production/delivery timescales and have the agility to locate and react to business innovations. These are just a small number of the benefits new business systems can bring and all these benefits are key to start-ups, SME’s and vast global organisations alike.
Systems such as ERP and BI are no longer only applicable to huge enterprises. They provide clear value and long term ROI for businesses of any size.
A key contributor to business systems like ERP being applicable to businesses of all shapes and sizes these days has been the sheer volume of vendors and different types of solutions in the market. There are new technologies specifically designed for small organisations and come with costs more in-line with the budgets businesses of this size are working within, as well as the all-encompassing, enterprise-level offerings from the likes of Microsoft, Oracle et al. Being able to find a new technology solution that fits within your budget, and most importantly delivers the functionality that you need is now an achievable prospect.
So if your organisation is currently showing the signs of panic and fatigue as a result of continuous political and economic uncertainty, take a step back and focus inward on the changes you can make to strengthen your business. Take advantage of the current market place and availability of new technologies and invest in your own future. Strengthen the foundations of your organisation to be best placed to deal with whatever comes around the corner. The time to invest in new technology is now.