An ongoing conversation on evolving and growing business through innovation.
If you’re like most leaders within distribution, you’ve had many recent conversations about how does the average distributor compete today and tomorrow against “the big boys.”I recently had the opportunity to talk to the CEO of a mid size distributor who plays in the automation industry. In his own words, innovation "is key to our survival." He told me in no uncertain terms that the days of the mom and pop distribution company with just a few shelves in the back "will be eaten alive."As he looks at some of the bigger distributors like Motion, Command Distribution, Grainger, and even Amazon and Google, he suggested that "if we don't do a number of major things in our business every year to try and stay as close to the front of the curve as we can, then we are going to be in trouble."This CEO suggested that if you have the culture that supports "doing a number of major things" there is significant opportunity for you, your employees, and your company. But, where do you start to make this cultural shift?At October’s UnleashWD Innovation Summit many viable lessons were learned that every distributor can take away to create a culture that fosters innovation and innovative thinking – to compete against those big boys. Here are three of them:
Look around your business. Are you surrounded only by aligned people? What steps today can you take to immediately bring in only the aligned and eliminate the unaligned?Identify one process, system, or other obstacle within your business that is a constant source of frustration and/or complaining. Commit to solving the issue in the next 90 days. Act!What can you do today to inject new thinking into your business?
Jay Steinfeld, CEO of Blinds.com believes in rapid experimentation—so much so that a massive test tube sits in the offices of the Houston based company.
One of the keynote speakers at UnleashWD, Jay Steinfeld, the CEO of Blinds.com, created a wildly successful business through the process of rapid experimentation.
Guest Post by John Johnson, Founder of White Space Interactive
When was the last time that you viewed your company through the lens of a customer?
UnleashWD started out as a vision for change in the wholesale distribution industry.
Companies need to innovate. Business owners hear this all the time, but what does it really mean?
In the New York Times article Want to Innovate? Get Ready to Kiss Some Frogs, Andy Mills, president of Medline Industries tells his people to kiss a lot of frogs. This expression is Mills’ way of communicating that not everything you initiate is going to work out - but you don’t know until you try. So try.
A challenge to innovation is when we allow what we know to limit what we can see. For the first decade after the movie camera had been invented it was used in a limited way. In the late 1800’s the camera was set in the back of a theater to film the stage act. Most of the early films recorded segments of magic shows, plays, and vaudeville performances. It was only after they discovered that the camera could be moved, that a revolution in storytelling occurred.
On the surface it seems pretty simple. Move the camera. And when you do, you create new ways of adding value.
In their 2012 annual report, Cisco explains a key differentiator over the years has been its ability to capture market transitions which drive innovation that enables their customers’s long-term success.
© 2014 Dirk Beveridge. All rights reserved.
Aching to drive change?
Our FREE kit provides a guide to stay relevant in your supply chain and kickstart innovative thinking in your organization.