Keeping your business expanding is a big challenge.
A Chamber member recently approached me with a problem. As his business had grown, he had found that he had ‘too many plates to spin’. How do you keep all of them going? A moment’s hesitation, a sideways glance, and the inevitable will happen.
One of the problems facing all our businesses is our supply chains. We have come to expect that they will constantly function with 100% reliability and accuracy. And we have elevated the problem by building our business processes around these chains of supply.
Have you ever stopped, for a moment, to think just how difficult that is to achieve?
One small weak link and the entire process becomes corrupted. Making it consistently more difficult, we as customers are more and more demanding. Our demands are wide ranging having moved on from on-time delivery to tracking. Every aspect of customer service has taken on a new dimension.
In this context, one of the largest international pallet networks has just launched a new track and trace system that places more control in the hands of the customer. Giving them this additional information will provide many advantages and remove some of the vagaries that can affect the final stages in the delivery process.
Innovation, of course, remains a key element.
Take the new Silk Road from China to Barking in Essex. This has significantly accelerated shipments and transportation on the 7,500 mile journey. The rail journey is apparently, according to some reports, as complicated as faced on the original Silk Road that dates from before 1300AD. Today, it’s a matter of different rail guages that necessitates transhipment of the containers.
Now, I am not suggesting that that issue is your own particular problem. But, it does flag up how thinking end-to-end through processes and operations remains critical.
You may well be considering an innovation in your business, but can I suggest you ponder on the Isambard Kingdom Brunel case study.
He developed and introduced his own rail gauge for Great Western Railways. A great idea; however, it didn’t effectively link with the other neighbouring rail lines. Not an effective solution, we would remark today.
He had very plausible reasons for his wider gauge around the stability of the trucks and the volumes that they could carry. However, its very uniqueness was its Achilles heel.
In business, we all need to take heed of earlier experiences and solutions before embarking on a new venture. For many, that might be seen a bridge too far.
But, I hasten to add that it should, no, must not stop you from assessing and analysing new potential ventures. When properly researched they can and will bring major advantages. Distancing your competition has to be one. Opening up a new profitable business stream makes a good second.
Your Chamber is here to assist you in that process. Our weekly digest of members’ information can provide with a means to promote your new product or service to a target audience of 24,000.
You may wish to consider making a special limited offer to fellow members. This new news about you and your company works well in conjunction with your own bespoke press stories for the Burton Mail, Derby Telegraph and Leicester Mercury.
Good luck with your endeavours….
I welcome feedback and comment on this column and the work and activities of the Chamber. You can contact me at [email protected]
President of Burton and District Chamber of Commerce
Managing Director, Yee Group Limited