As hands on as the key manager of a Los Angeles distribution company needs to be, you still rely upon technology throughout the majority of your day. And while you may think you’ve got it covered, don’t ever underestimate the influences of those around you. We’re creatures of habit that learn by example, after all.
The wonderful thing about studying other successful distributors is that you can gain great insight into what has made them leaders in their field. As they say, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” So, observing what’s working for others is a great way to better understand the technology available to you that you may not even be aware of and to embrace it where successful.
While not every move will work for you in the same way or to the same degree as it does for others, following such examples is a surefire way to help you move forward faster.
Here are 7 great IT habits to leverage…
1. Embrace social media
Anyone who’s anyone is on social media these days and businesses can quickly maximize their reach and client database by engaging across multiple platforms. Highly successful LA distributors may have adopted the habit of posting industry-relevant news every other day or once a week and may even keep a blog to keep customers abreast of developments. As a distributor, your emphasis is no doubt on the running of your warehouse and back office operations, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t connect with the rest of the world.
2. Regularly review your security protocols
Manufacturers, distributors, and wholesalers generate incredible amounts of data and house numerous documents within their systems. From invoices and receipts, to contact information for customers and suppliers, the data stored on your networks could compromise your business if it was inaccessible or fell into the wrong hands.
LA distributors must be mindful of security on a day to day basis. The easiest gap to rectify is likely to be multiple shipping computers left unattended on the warehouse floor at any one time. Get into the good habit of protecting them and introduce an AUP for starters. Make sure there’s a screensaver set to no more than two minutes till it requires a password to unlock it. And then make sure there’s a process in place to audit this setting on a regular basis.
Highly successful distributors know how to protect their business using antivirus, firewalls, and encryption software. So, if you’re not securing your systems - get into the game.
3. Investigate every update and upgrade
Technology is always moving, so be sure to travel with it. The most successful members of your industry are always abreast of the next big thing and their operations are more efficient for it. Don’t leave your computer networks to their own devices. Be proactive. Get into the habit of installing patches and upgrades whenever they become available.
4. Create backups of documents and always press save
You simply cannot leave it to chance that you’ll never have the power cut or lose files by some other means. Make user you have an organized and documented backup process that backs up copies of all of your files locally as well as in the cloud so that they’re secure regardless of what happens. Get into the habit of pressing “save” each time you alter a document. Data loss could set you back weeks, or months, or even put you out of business! Don’t leave this to chance.
5. Recognize that technology is fallible and formulate a disaster recovery procedure
In an industry that relies on technology as much as yours, it would be professional suicide not to formulate a disaster recovery plan. A DR plan includes things like: How would you recover information if it were lost? How long would it take? Who would you turn to? What could you do to restore your customers’ faith in you if your security protocol was to fail? Recognize that technology can be flawed and that IT can fail and never put your heart and soul into relying on it without a formal, documented DR plan.
6. Unify your communications
Distribution is a worldwide industry and business is no longer just 9 to 5. It’s become a round the clock, 24/7 operation. To stay connected, it’s a great idea to think about how anyone in your business could be reached at any time while you’re away from your desks. VoIP technology is growing in popularity as are cloud-based infrastructures. Both will keep you in the loop no matter where you are in the world, and both can be accessed 24/7. And the beauty of VoIP is its ability to integrate it into your computer software systems so that you’re “unifying” your communications.
7. Get used to living in the digital world
If you’ve worked in distribution for a while, there’s a good chance you’ve watched the industry grow and change around you thanks to technology. It can be daunting at times to be so caught up in an ever changing world. But, highly successful distributors recognize that such change should be welcomed and they embrace each development that comes their way. Efficiency can always be improved and costs can always be cut. Looking at ways to leverage technology to improve your business’ process is always a great way to go. Embrace technology!
What are your top IT tips? Are there any aspects of your working day that have been vastly improved or been hindered by technology? Please share your thoughts in the Comment field below.
If you own or manage a distribution or manufacturing company in Los Angeles, and you’re looking to stay up to date on the latest technology, 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.