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It’s all starting to click
Kadir Dindar, CEO Siemens Digital Logistics
The time has come for technology skeptics to finally get off the fence. “The coming years will usher in a digital decade like nothing we’ve seen before,” predicts Oliver J. Süme, Chair of the Board at the Internet Industry Association eco. Embracing digital technology is absolutely essential for every company and business model, and decision-makers across all industries need to understand this, remarked Süme in an interview following the publication of eco’s latest study, a collaboration with management consulting firm Arthur D. Little.
It all started to click quite some time ago in the multi-trillion-dollar logistics industry, which accounts for a double-digit share of global GDP. The industry’s drive toward digital technology, bolstered by the COVID-19 pandemic, is accelerating processes of transformation. But drive alone is not enough. Those who wish to harness the power of change in their own company must be clear about their strategy, objectives, and timeline for implementing this technology.
What is the point of digital solutions if they don’t address the needs of customers? What is the benefit of increased efficiency if it’s not tied to new KPIs? What is gained by automating processes if employees are worried about losing their jobs?
Seeing digital transformation as a radical, holistic process of change
A study by accounting giant Deloitte found that 85 % of all companies have undergone at least one, and on average four, business transformations in recent years. And yet, just under one-third of these companies achieved the stated goal of their transformation. What’s behind this?
We must be clear that any business transformation is a radical, holistic process of change that encompasses strategic, technological, organizational, and even cultural aspects of business management. The pace at which a company transforms itself digitally depends on many factors. What ultimately matters is the willingness to turn structures, processes, and systems on their head.
Easily said. But is it also easily done? IT experts agree that two areas are key here: the corporate culture and the software that enables the technological transformation. While culture is needed as a foundation for change, software provides the tools to effect that change.
Drivers of success on the path to a digital future
A whole range of critical success factors also come into play in the digital transformation of logistics. Here are a few tips for making the most of trends in technology as we enter this unprecedented “digital decade”:
- 1. Create awareness of what tech can do
Only when all employees understand what digital technology means and how it can improve their own workflow will intentions turn into broad-based actions.
- 2. Embed technology goals in the corporate strategy
The embrace of digital technology is not an afterthought, it’s a key component of a company’s evolution. It ensures long-term viability, so it factors heavily into corporate strategy.
- 3. Put customer experience and use cases front and center
The more specific the use case, the clearer the day-to-day benefit of digital applications and processes will become. This increases acceptance among employees and boosts productivity.
- 4. Move quickly to implement
When users see the gains realized quickly, the success becomes tangible and leads to better acceptance of new applications and processes. Modest interim steps help maintain the feeling of momentum in the digital transformation process.
- 5. Set aside sufficient IT resources
The introduction of new technology requires expertise. IT expertise will be required in greater measure to ensure a successful implementation, and not just in the initial phase. It’s important to build up internal resources or ensure they are available through external partners.
- 6. Invest in intuitive, user-friendly solutions
Modern IT solutions need to be as easy to use as a smartphone app: intuitive and user-friendly. Then things will click into place from the get-go – for customers and employees alike.
One more key point: The implementation of a digital infrastructure cannot and must not falter simply because a company has a limited budget for investments or IT! Small and medium-sized businesses, which account for a big share of the industry, should have an equal opportunity to participate in technological progress. Thankfully, this is easily doable with today’s cloud-based software and platform solutions.