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Distribution business trends for 2019, the year of moving strategically.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has a lot of people talking. The fact that those people no longer hail primarily from the world of science fiction is representative of just how far the ideas driving this technology have come. AI has entered the mainstream, and it has the technology world buzzing with excitement. The potential applications of AI are vast and varied. And in truth, that is where the real excitement lies—in finding out just how far we can take AI, and in turn, how far it can take us.
Kelly Squizzero, Infor’s Director, Industry & Solution Strategy, points to five key business trends that are shaping distribution business in 2019.
Of all the activities that happen in a warehouse, 60% to 70% of costs are attributed to order fulfillment. You can make a significant dent in those costs by making your warehouse management system (WMS) voice-enabled. Utilizing RF wireless belt-mounted devices that incorporate speech recognition and speech synthesis technologies, voice-enabled WMSs have become table stakes for competitive third-party logistics providers (3PLs) and supply chain managers.
Immense amounts of data are flowing into and out of today’s businesses, but it's often difficult to know how to turn this data into actionable insights. Data science has incredible potential for businesses of all types to create models that find patterns in this data and use them as the basis for transformative software. From location sensor data and customer loyalty programs to predictive analytics that improve the customer experience, employee engagement, and operational efficiency, a world of possibility awaits organizations that can crack the data science code.
In the current hypercompetitive business environment, it’s not enough to automate processes and increase efficiency. To succeed, companies need to differentiate themselves from their competitors. But with the growth of digitally savvy customers who expect more from every transaction, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate on product alone. Customers are demanding a more personal, service-oriented approach from the companies with which they do business, and the bar continues to be reset at higher and higher levels. To meet this demand, and stay competitive, companies need to move from a transaction-based model to more value-based interactions. This means putting the experience first.
Digital transformation is on the tip of many tongues in the technology industry of late; but like many potentially seismic shifts, this concept’s meaning and the impact it will have on how day-to-day business gets done are taking some time to develop. CIO defines digital transformation as “the acceleration of business activities, processes, competencies, and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of digital technologies and their impact in a strategic and prioritized way.” But more than just acceleration, digital transformation is about the need for businesses to outpace digital disruption and stay competitive in a rapidly evolving business environment.
Regardless of industry, market, and geography, nearly every business on the globe has been touched by technological change. And these ongoing, and often unexpected, disruptions are impacting how business is conducted. For example, the World Economic Forum states, “It used to take Fortune 500 companies an average of 20 years to reach a billion dollar valuation; today’s digital start-ups are getting there in four.”
While increased competition is a powerful motivator for embracing digital transformation, so are the potential revenue opportunities. The World Economic Forum estimates that “the combined value—to society and industry—of digital transformation across industries is upwards of $100 trillion over the next 10 years.”
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the highest-ranked executive in a company. The CEO has many responsibilities, ranging from setting strategy and direction to configuring the company’s culture, values and behavior. The chief executive is also responsible for building an executive leadership team and allocating funds to match the company’s goals and priorities. Some CEOs have even more on their plate, especially those at the head of startups. Oftentimes they are responsible for more than just the traditional duties, and can include anything from brewing coffee to marketing their product.
The list, compiled by ERP's Solution Review, includes Infor CEO, Charles Phillips.
Every wholesale distributor faces increasing pressure to adopt a digital strategy for confronting massive disruption in the industry. Unfortunately, according to a recent survey by MDM, the approach most distributors take in developing an overall digital strategy is very reactive, with only 31% approaching their digital needs with a “comprehensive strategy that includes all types of software and solutions.” It’s time to think strategically about the technology that will determine the future of your enterprise.
Read these seven steps every distributor should take right now to develop a sharp, focused digital strategy:
Dealers have always been focused on service, but today, as manufacturers and equipment management dealers seek to differentiate themselves both are increasingly reliant on services. The services provided by the dealer and manufacturer have become as important to brand loyalty as the equipment itself.
This name for this trend is called servitization and it simply means applying a service to a product in order to create additional value or a new offering to customers.
The servitization of the heavy equipment industry has been evolving for many years. While onboard technology enhanced the performance of single machines, the data it produced was rarely accessed for other purposes. In contrast, today low-cost sensors and wireless technology allow for real time analysis of the data of entire equipment fleets, allowing dealers to extend their offerings to include fleet management and other services. Still emerging is the use of analytics and artificial intelligence to provide additional customer insights.