A while ago a very interesting article was shared over at our office; ’10 Principles for Leading the Next Industrial Revolution’
by Norbert Schwieters and Bob Moritz from PricewaterhouseCoopers; describing the dramatic transformation of the broad infrastructure that underlies industrial civilization.
‘In a great wave of technological change, sensors are spreading through factories and warehouses, software is predicting the need for maintenance before a machine breaks down, power grids and loading docks are becoming intelligent, and custom-designed parts are being produced on demand. The leaders of the next industrial revolution are companies making advances in fields such as robotics, machine learning, digital fabrication (including 3D printing), the Industrial Internet, the Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics and blockchain (a system of decentralized, automated transaction verification). Because these technologies all reinforce the others’ impact, they are leading to a new level of proficiency, and to new types of opportunities and challenges for business and for society at large’ point out Schwieters and Moritz.
The world of technology moves fast. With a business that’s evolving all the time, you need to find a balance between digital capability and personal skills. I want to summarize to you the 10 principles listed in the article, that can help you ‘navigate the uncertainties of the next few years in a systematic and profitable way’..
Don’t be slow to change
In this industrial revolution, costs are dramatically reduced and efficiency is skyrocketing. Companies that think they can make money indefinitely without changing their business model, and those who fail to keep up with technology will eventually drown. Make sure to update your strategy accordingly if you don’t want to be one of them!
Become a ‘platform enabler’
Build a platform where vendors and customers can seamlessly interact. Gain efficiency, improve technologies and build cost reduction into your continuously improving platform. Will you use your platform to engage with your customers, providing them products and services; or will you enhance your platform and develop new technologies? Whichever you pick, be an enabler.
By cleaning up your user interface, you can solve customer problems faster, offering new types of services. In the future, customers will interact with your company through online automated systems or even robots. You should aim for your customer experience to be intuitive and fluent. Can your customer buy your product in an efficient and personalized way?
Now a days digital excellence is part of everyone’s lives. It’s time to step up your game and invest in some digital knowledge! Of course, hiring new people with proper software skills is mandatory, but it doesn’t end there. Your whole staff needs to be digitally savvy. Make sure your employees work in an environment where they can improve their technical skills, so they are prepared for the inevitable digitization of your company.
When you innovate as a company don’t limit your team to disruptive innovation. Small innovations will be easier to generate and easier to test in the market. Roll out prototype new products and see how your customers respond. Collaborate with organizations connected to your platform, see your product grow and evolve!
Become friends with data
By recognizing important patterns and getting new insights by reviewing data, you can find yourself a shortcut to improve your business. Schedule regular sessions with your analytic teams so you are up to date with your company’s data. With these sessions, teams can share their findings and make the right choices for your business to keep flying.
Make paying flexible
Subscription is the go-to financial plan for most innovative companies like Netflix, Spotify and Amazon. Invest in a pay-as-you-go system with smaller but more frequent charges for flexible installations. Make sure your customers can upgrade your product by paying a small amount or offer adjustable pricing so everyone can keep enjoying your company’s innovations.
If the message is clear, people will hear
Develop a clear purpose for your business. Customers like to buy a distinctive experience and enjoy meaningful outcomes. Don’t be stuck in a ‘physical product mind-set’, look closely at the reason customers choose your company and learn from that.
Ensure you are trustworthy
When your company is known for successfully securing its customers’ sensitive data, you will benefit from it tremendously. Make sure your keeps up with ‘leading-edge approaches’, it will be a differentiating factor for your company in the future.
People, not robots
Embracing technology will backfire if you shut real people out. Businesses will only thrive if their leaders acknowledge the power of human values. Most important skills can’t be replicated by machines; empathy, intuitive judgement, ability to care and connect will become more important than ever.
Combine well-informed people, your capabilities and technology and be prepared to take part in the next industrial revolution!