Getting the most out of your technology assets is a key part of business success for wholesale companies. Tech ROI is a high priority.
Whether it’s improvements to your ERP system, smarter warehouse automation, adding a supply chain system, improving your shipping system, or implementing a reseller management application, any dollar your company spends should come back with as many friends as possible.
Here are 6 simple steps that Los Angeles wholesale companies can take to boost your return on investment in technology:
- Match technology with business needs. Some companies still get it back to front. They fall under the spell of a vendor’s slick marketing and end up trying to find a problem to fit the solution. Remind yourself of your business objectives first. Then judge all technology candidates by their potential to profitably improve the results for your enterprise. Remember – “Business Before Technology!”
- Squeeze performance out of what you have. Sometimes you just don’t need the latest model, especially if your current installation works well and is properly supported. However, don’t make this an excuse for laxity on support and maintenance (see below), a critical part of most technology implementations whether existing or new.
- Make sure pilot projects provide useful benefits. If you decide your enterprise should get a grip on a new technology, a pilot project can better help understand the potential pain of implementation vs. the value to be gained. Keep in mind, the pilot project itself should yield its own useful business benefit and tech ROI.
- Use agile project methodologies to keep technology value on track. Markets move fast and what was true just a few months ago may now have changed. Short cycles to implement new functionality keep things flexible and better aligned to evolving needs. Many applications of technologies, especially IT, lend themselves well to agile approaches.
- Keep technology usable by users. Technology that doesn’t convince or please its users leads to low value-add or even negative returns. If new technology must also be used by employees to produce its full benefit, then make sure they are represented in the investment decision process. Nothing dooms a project faster than no user buy-in.
- Exercise correct care and feeding of technology. Hardware and software all need some level of maintenance and support after implementation if they are to reliably continue bringing you benefits. IT products typically undergo continual revision and improvement by the vendor even after release to ensure both performance and security. Make sure to plan for this cost.
How Will You Measure Your Increased Tech ROI?
You’ll only know if you’re really doing better if you can realistically compare before and after situations. The first point of comparison is any hard business objective. Examples are profitability, productivity, sales revenue, market share, or reduction in operational costs or process time.
An improvement due to implementing one or more of the tips above can be measured and the new benefit to investment ratio calculated. Further valid comparison points may include customer satisfaction and employee job satisfaction, often measured by appropriately applied surveys.
When Will You See the Improvements?
Finally, remember the time value of money. Ideally, you’d like to make all necessary investment at the latest possible date before implementing technology and get the return back on the soonest date thereafter.
Some worthwhile projects take time to prepare and their returns may come in gradually over time. Agile project approaches can offer advantages here because expenditure can be fractioned out over the life of a project with faster tech ROI at each stage.
Where have you seen the best returns on technology in your experience as a wholesale company? Share your successes with us in the Comments box below.
And to follow-through on the tips introduced in this short article, be sure to download your free guide, How COOs at Los Angeles Distributors and Manufacturers Get More Done: A Guide to Productivity, Data, Staffing, Delegation, and Making It Home for Dinner Most Nights.