The days of companies having a choice of whether or not to do business digitally are long gone. With the amount of data that is available, access to this data allows you to continue to grow. It also increases efficiency on day to day business operations, this makes participating in the digital transformation a necessity to keeping up with competitors.
Collecting and analyzing data regularly is often a practice of successful companies. And with today’s technology, much of this data collection and analysis can be done in real-time. As the world moves closer towards the “Internet of Things,” collecting data on key performance indicators is easier than ever before, and is applicable even in manufacturing.
We have found great value in using digital technology as often as possible in our sawmills, concentration yards and in other capacities. It has been a conscious effort on our part at American Lumber to support our key priorities and create and build relationships by expanding communication with our customers pre and post sales using digital technology.
Becoming a “Digital Business” doesn’t necessarily mean a complete, radical change in the way you do business or the way you use technology. For many companies, this simply means optimizing existing technological resources in order to meet your customer's needs and also keep pace with your competitors.
If you have considered making your business “more digital” here are a few tips that are worth keeping in mind:
Let customer experience be your guide. Digital tools can help you analyze and improve every aspect of the customer experience. Things like, how customers benefit from your products or services? Should any changes or upgrades be made to enhance a customers experience? What ways can you automate processes to serve existing customers better, but also attract new customers?
One of the best ways to get started is by taking a look at your website. Top to bottom renovation is a great first for a digital transformation. The key is to use the latest apps and resources available to match the skills and knowledge of your customers.
Take baby steps. New technology is ineffective and frustrating for both customers and employees if it doesn’t function smoothly. When implementing digital self-service features- meaning any function that customers can do themselves that move them closer to a buying decision- select an online process to transform that is easy to manage, is adaptable, and measurable.
Get your team involved. Every team member should have a hand in the digital process, regardless of their job title or duties. This could be anything from inventory management, IT initiatives, or even social media. This includes your management team. This has been important for us especially since the hardwood lumber industry is not known for being on the “cutting edge” of technology.
Track the results. As you move to digitize your business processes, create methods of tracking and analyzing how effective your improvements are. Find a member on your most talented IT member and get them involved in determining what should be measured. That could mean anything from sales leads, customer feedback, inventory turns, etc. then using that information to define what they do next with the data they do accumulate.
It is extremely important to keep in mind that digital transformation cannot replace a personal touch. Customers and prospects will always prefer the option of interacting with a real person on the staff. Relationships become more important when working on becoming a digital business.