Tim Fawkes of 3t Logistics (www.3t-europe.com) explains why he believes innovation is the way out of recession.
As the recession in the UK recedes, we are left dealing with its legacy: caution, insecurity and a lack of commercial and financial confidence. However, I believe that the recession has also bequeathed a more positive desire for something new and fresh – a healthy demand for change and innovation.
Many companies have understandably focused their efforts of the past five or six years on offering a steady, reliable service and staying in business rather than embracing investment and innovation. However, with the country slowly emerging from its economic gloom, companies and their customers are increasingly looking for the new solutions and new technology that can give them a significant competitive advantage.
With support from our business coaches Shirlaws (www.shirlawscoaching.com), at 3t we have always championed the importance of innovation as a means of operating more effectively and giving customers what they want. With the recovery underway, our own particular industry of logistics is beginning to embrace the role that new technologies have to play in managing operations, people and costs more efficiently. However, in my experience it is the companies that have looked forwards, changing, innovating and investing in technology throughout the past five years that have emerged unscathed – or even bigger and better – from the recession.
These companies have recognised that they need to look more carefully at how they do business and what they are able to offer their customer. They stand out because they offer something different and as their customers recover with them, they are looking for new solutions, ideas, products and services to spend their money on.
Getting your culture right
But, as Shirlaws have shown us, innovation doesn’t just apply to products, it is equally important to look at ways of innovating your business culture: the systems that you use, the service that you provide and the assets and talent that you have. This all goes back to changing your mindset. Look at examples of successful companies from a range of industries – not just your own. What are they doing? What can you learn from them? What are they offering their clients that is different/innovative/exciting?
At 3t, we are always looking for ways to offer the client something new, matched to their changing needs and problems. It’s no secret that the logistics industry has had a tough time of late, with rising costs and reduced revenues. To help clients streamline their processes and run more efficient and cost effective transport operations, we developed our own system in-house, designed to address the issues specific to our industry. Known as EVENT, this SaaS (Software as a Service) offers, complete transport management functionality. In the spirit of innovation, we have recently extended our portfolio of products to include new software known as the Optimiser which uses state of the art heuristic algorithms. Developed with the University Of Nottingham, the Optimiser enables us to create the most cost effective transport plan for our clients.
Within our own industry of logistics, the time is definitely ripe for change. The technology that enables the automation and optimisation of processes will play an important part of any company’s future successes or failures. In fact, it seems likely that those who fail to innovate will find that the recovery may not bring the good news that they were hoping for.