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Throughout the course of business, business owners, who may be in the manufacturing, retail, or in another industry, find themselves focusing on innovation. In fact, the annual ChainLink Research Study found innovation to be the top focus for those involved in the manufacturing community. Ultimately, innovation becomes a priority as its priorities align with the needs of IT departments and the overall business.  When considering innovation for a business, the overall goal is and always will be expansion and business growth. Furthermore, innovation has replaced previous expectations and practices of reducing prices and focusing on reducing the consumers’ costs. In its basic sense, innovation will allow for several key benefits to a business.

Innovation For IT Departments

No matter the size or location of a business, an up-to-date and advanced IT department will always triumph over many other forms of commerce. This occurs as more consumers have sought out ways to purchase goods or services online due to increasingly chaotic and intensive work schedules or inability to reach your business due to location. Furthermore, the number of consumers who want to ensure their data is safe has grown exponentially in recent years, especially considering the massive data breaches at Target and Home Depot.  Your IT department will be responsible for ensuring consumer data, which includes personal and financial information, does not fall into the hands of hackers and malicious individuals.

Your IT department also relies on innovation due to how quickly technology advances. Currently, the average processing speed of computers and amount of physical space required to store a certain amount of digital data doubles every two years, which means you are using outdated computers and technology if it was purchased in summer of 2013. However, this is not a finite estimation, and the advancements of some tech entities, such as Apple and Android, threaten to surpass this 2x per-year rate at any moment.

Innovation Reduces Risk to Businesses

Proper risk management can make or break a business. Consider what could happen if a customer sues a business for failure to ensure safety for customers in a retail space. The resulting lawsuit could financially bankrupt a business. However, innovation avoids this problem by accounting for ways to ensure a customer does not encounter this issue. It sounds simple, but the floor squeegee was once considered an innovative business tool. Obviously, most modern innovations will focus on improving supply chain processes throughout the course of business, not the ancient squeegee example.

When you use a 3PL to improve the innovative efforts of your business, which include manufacturing and shipping, the respective 3PL will ensure your business practices use the latest innovations for improving efficiency throughout the supply chain. For example, the innovation could be the introduction of Radio-Frequency Identification of your merchandise to creating a more fuel efficient or cost-effective way of producing your goods or as simple as optimizing your current transportation network by deploying multiple shipping strategies. Furthermore, innovations with accounting and tracking software will lower risks to a business by ensuring purchase orders and expenses are paid, shipped, or otherwise acted upon, which ensures your business processes do not get in the way of ensuring a gain rather than a loss.

Innovation Allows For Healthy Competition

Your business will always have competitors, and competition is good for business as well. Competition helps to ensure prices stay low, customers have options, and your business does not carry all of the weight during the high-traffic times of the holidays. However, you cannot become lost in ensuring you have competitors. You need your competitors, but your business also needs to surpass your competitors. Additionally, you must consider which of your competitors have gained an advantage over your business due to innovation.

As a result of your competitor’s innovations, you will need to be more innovative to ensure your business survives. This may include producing more products more efficiently, or ensuring timely delivery of products. If your business is heavily rooted in the electronics industry, for example, you sell electronics or other tech-merchandise, you will always need to follow the innovations of other companies and work to further your technology capabilities.

When a competitor fails, any innovations they made will also falter, and their customer base will disperse towards the previously-existing business’s competitors. However, customers will expect the same standards and delivery of goods as they have previously come to expect. Now, this should not be taken as a license to actively try to discredit or force your competitors to close. However, business remains a “dog-eat-dog” world, and businesses that do not take advantage of other business’ failures will not be to progress or adapt to a changing market.

As a business owner, you will face thousands of tough decisions as you ensure your business is successful. The ChainLink study reiterates the need for innovation will always be a constant in the business world. From the direct impact on IT departments and digital capabilities to mitigating risk to encouraging competition in the marketplace, innovation has garnered a permanent place in the minds of business experts and owners. If your business has not taken advantage of the improvements in technology, skill, design, or manufacturing, your business has already started down the path towards failure. You have been charged with ensuring success, and your actions must reflect the needs and expectations of the manufacturing and shipping industry, especially as they pertain to innovations for business.

Innovation Culture at Cerasis

Innovation is in our DNA and it’s the lifeblood of our core tenets below:

  • Innovative – Open and creative to customer and employee solutions
  • Quality – Providing value in all that we do
  • Continuous improvement of our people and services
  • Respect of individuals and their contribution to the team

We then execute these by using the FISH! Philosophy program as well as developing a plan for each of our managers to grown and lead their departments to the best of their ability. How do you foster a mindset and culture of innovation in your company? Let us know in the comments below!