First, with absolute conviction that what you are doing is the best thing for your business, taking the step needed to join the mainstream of today to be ready for the mainstream of tomorrow.
An analogue furniture manufacturer in the 21st century is a jewel, a relic, like a recipe from the eighteenth century that you can see in a museum.
A business anachronism.
It will definitely be charming, of course, but equally definitely it will have absolutely no prospect of survival in the furniture industry.
A sudden but preventable death.
The certainty that you are doing the best thing you can do to secure the future of your furniture manufacture in a completely digitised business landscape should drive you on, so don’t lose that certainty.
Where to start? As always, by gathering information.
What does it mean to digitise your furniture manufacturer?
Make it more productive, streamline management, increase competitiveness, improve customer relations, optimise human and technology resources and, of course, expand and grow profits.
The choice is yours: Charming relic or business with all the technology?
Being a relic is pleasant enough if a little quaint, but you’ve decided to be a little more dynamic, you took the first step by creating your business, the apple of your eye. Now it is all grown up and peering into a future that keeps moving into the past – you need to take show it the way. Congratulations, we can help.
The first thing you need to do is to surround yourself with an expert, like-minded team that is familiar with new technology and its implementation. You definitely need an HR function that can keep your staff in the loop.
A few years ago, it might have been a bit harder to find the people you need, but the storm of technological development and awareness of the potential of technology in the business community are such that it is now relatively straightforward to find the people to help you lead your business into a digital future.
And don’t rush, take your time and look for people who can provide leadership in technology and motive your staff. Some of them may already be tech literate, but most of them will embark on the process of digitisation as a process of unsettling change from the comfortable analogue world they know so well.
They will need to be encouraged to embrace change, to understand and internalise that change, especially at the beginning. They will soon see how digitisation makes their jobs easier and more effective and allows the business to be better and more efficient.
They will no longer need external motivation because they will have motivation of their own. Have you got your team? Is it time to take the plunge? Is it ‘Ready, set,’ time? Waiting for the starter’s pistol? In the starter’s blocks? Don’t overthink it or the recoil will send you snaking back to Square One. Now you need to do some planning. Just deciding to do ‘it’ is not enough.
Breathe, don’t run too fast to keep up with all the other runners. Go at your own pace.
Reconfiguring your furniture manufacturing business and undertaking a process analysis to check whether new technology, say, means reorganising the workforce, is not easy but it will be worth it in the long run. Quicker than you imagine, you will be part of the digital business ecosystem and telling everyone what a great idea it was to invest so much time, effort and money to get there.
You don’t have to be a technology hawk to realise that one of the major challenges, if not THE major challenge, is to ensure that your business has good cybersecurity. You only need to read the newspapers, listen to the radio or watch television, to know that cybersecurity is a hot topic.
Every day brings new stories about data theft and ransom attacks. Don’t fall into the trap that it couldn’t happen to you, that no hacker could be interested in a humble furniture manufacturer – I’m sorry, but that’s just how it is: businesses in any and every industry are potential targets, regardless of size, regardless of what they do.
The danger is real and hoping you won’t be hit won’t cut it. You have to have every available defence. Digitisation allows you to protect the continuity of your business with backups, in the cloud or on a hard disk or both. You should have firewalls to prevent unauthorised access to your systems; antivirus programs to protect your equipment from attack and, although it may seem less important, spam protection because spam can be the doorway to access your systems, not to mention the time lost with manual filtering.
And then it’s time to go shopping and choose the best software with the right hardware that you know are compatible.
It sounds very technical, but how many times have you seen or heard of a program being incompatible with a particular computer or just breaking down despite its handsome price or even printers stop working with new computers.
Don’t let that happen to you. Our advice?
Go with the flow… but be steered by experts who can assess the needs of your business and ensure the compatibility of programs, machines and peripherals, experts who are share your vision of the digitisation of your company as what it truly is, your opportunity to take a leading role in the new technological age that is going to bring you so much joy.