HERE IS A QUOTE FROM JOHN CHAMBERS, EXECU- tive chairman of Cisco System, that I found a lit- tle shocking: “At least 40% of all businesses will die in the next 10 years…if they don’t figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies.” Because technology itself is such a driving force of change in how all business is being done, it is going to be a big part of what I talk about this year—in fact, it will be the main thread within my theme: “People. Process. Products.” One aspect of technology that I’m most intrigued by is the digitization of processes. Digitization has become a popular business term, but the definition is a bit ambiguous. To me, it is a broad term that encompasses using software tools to improve products and processes and ulti- mately create a better customer experience. Digitization breaks down barriers and cre- ates new opportunities. It’s also making once-successful business models obsolete. Amazon and other online companies have changed customers’ expectations. We all have become accustomed to conducting business online and are used to having 24/7 access to information and products. We ex- pect intuitive interfaces, around-the-clock availability, and real-time fulfillment—and all of that requires an overhaul of current business practices. Digitizing a business can help meet these demands. It can increase access and availability of information to cus- tomers to help them make purchasing decisions when, where, and how they want. This is something we have implemented at Springfield Electric Supply through the development of apps and the website. By utilizing the right digital tools, business speed and agility increase. Manual, paper-based processes are slow and expensive. Organizations can cut costs and increase turnaround times by using technology to standardize processes. With digitization, companies can not only save time and money, but also support sustainable growth. Digitization can improve internal processes, making it easier for collaboration between associates and vendors. Additionally, replacing manual processes with software allows for the automatic collection of data, which allows for real-time monitoring of reports, and dashboards. Associates can be alerted to potential issues before they become problems. Because of the amount of data avail- able, implementing these new concepts can help a business become aware of changing customer values and behaviors. This allows for the creation of customiz- able solutions for customers and makes processes more efficient so that compa- nies can spend time on what’s most im- portant: providing a better experience for customers. Digitization is about doing things dif- ferently. Advances in informational tech- nology, process automation, and analytics will allow asso- ciates the freedom to be more productive and create in- novative ways of working. Companies using technology to digitize their processes have a leg up on their analog competition. Using technology and digitizing processes is all about being more competitive. Standardized processes increase productivity and reduce errors. It’s not about taking asso- ciates out of the process; it’s about freeing up their time so they can do what they’re really good at—like taking care of customers. ; Dungan is executive chairman of Springfield Electric Supply, Springfield, Ill. Reach him at email@example.com.
8 the ELECTRICAL DISTRIBU TOR • Jun. 17 www.tEDmag.com
PROCESSES by Daniel Dungan
It’s not about taking asso- ciates out of the process; it’s about freeing up their time so they can do what they’re really good at—like taking care of customers.
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