ARE YOU THE TECHNOLOGY COMPANY THAT DOES X?
Yes indeed – how times have changed.
in today`s business world if you don`t have tech at the forefront of your business proposition then you may already be old news and in grave danger of losing market share regardless of your sector.
As UBER amongst many has shown, technological advancement reaches out to all sectors and all business types and simply holds no boundaries. The modern day consumer has an insatiable hunger for tech which often translates to an “info on demand experience” and a relentless quest for convenience.
The organisational charts of any forward thinking business are nowadays just as likely to show an in-house development team as they would a marketing or customer service team. Deciding on whether to resist or embrace technological advancement is the equivalent of deciding whether to sink or swim!
Such advancement comes in many forms including apps, platforms, software, reporting suites etc. Quite often there are off the shelf applications “otherwise known as plug-ins” that help to inject technology and deliver a more refined user experience. Alternately if long term value and client retention are the aims then creating a bespoke piece of technology maybe a more appropriate route to take.
Before embarking on such investment it is essential to embrace involvement across a number of parties that are likely to have a vested interest in the outcome.
These groups of people are likely to be stakeholders in the form of the existing team and existing customers and thorough market research will help to shape the nature of the tech offering.
One simple question to the focus groups is always a good starting point:
“If we could improve just one aspect of our offering through technology what would it be and why”?
At 3P Logistics we embarked upon the endless journey of technological advancement some 14 months ago and haven`t looked back since. As a retail logistics and fulfilment company we are quite rightly proud of our consistently high 99.7% right first time service levels. When asking the same question of our stakeholders it soon became apparent that service excellence alone was no longer sufficient with great service in isolation being more of a given than a valued proposition. The gap very much centred upon ease of access to management information and self-service. From that point on Fusion our very own web based user platform was born.
Some 3200 developer hours later and some 14 months on we now have a service user interface that delivers business intelligence on demand, increases efficiency and reduces the number of touch points for our clients. Internally, we now enjoy much slicker processes, better information flows and increased visibility of our operations.
When attuned to demand and done professionally an injection of technology can help to transform the service experience, customer loyalty and enhance the overall perception of your business. Before embarking on a journey of tech ask yourself a number of questions as this will determine the way forward:
1: What are my customers likely to value?
2: How do I future proof my business?
3: What kind of budget should I work on?
4: Should I opt for off the shelf technology or bespoke technology?
5: Should I outsource or develop in-house?
6: What does the “minimum viable product” look like?
7: What is the perceived outcome and R.O.I.?
Having been a leading logistics and fulfilment operator for 10 years accepting the need for change was always going to be the biggest challenge however once we did it was all downhill from there and we haven`t looked back since. Your tech proposition is more often than not going to differentiate you from the competition and THE prominent driver of retained value in your business.
Do it well and you will not only safeguard the future but will also oil the wheels of scale.
Remember: X translates to most business types and business striving to be a tech led company that has the X factor will more than likely win the day.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
With its head office based in the United Kingdom Ian is the Managing Director and original founder of 3P Logistics, a leading provider of logistics and fulfilment services to the retail sector. Recent winners of the Logistics provider of the year at the Northern E Commerce awards the business also works closely with various affiliated bodies in helping its UK based clients to grow internationally.
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