Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Disrupt Or Get Disrupted

There's a couple of phases that have been going around in my head for the last week or so.

These are:
- If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem
- Change is the only constant

Both reflect my feelings about the current progress of digital transformation across a range of industries. From taxi services through to financial institutions, new models of working based upon technology and data, have now disrupted existing companies and sometimes entire markets.

So if change is happening all the time....

Who is leading your disruption?
You probably have at least one person in your organisation who is the advocate of digital change. They may be a lonely voice shouting about the need to 'embrace change', 'test and learn', ' fail forward' or 'adapt agile'. Or they may be a senior manager with the drive, staff and responsibility to push digital to the top of the agenda. either way, these people need the support of the exec team and remit (including budget) to trial new things that could mean the difference between your organisation being a Blockbuster or the next Netflix.

When will the change happen?
Most of us are among the disrupted rather than the disruptors - Only 7% of companies surveyed by Gartner in 2014 felt they were truly digital and of the remainder, only 83% felt they would be digital by 2017.

An inability or resistance to transform and adapt in an ever-changing world is a big failure these days. Nothing stays the same for very long in business and This Shit is Gonna Get Faster.

Don't be complacent
Larry Page and Sergey Brin once said "Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one." Does your organisation run on apathy and complacency? If so... change get it or stand a significant chance of disruption!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Will better distribution help eCommerce in Scotland?

If you live in Scotland, and in particular the West Coast of Scotland from the Clyde Estuary up to the Hebrides, you will no-doubt have seen the Oban Express van as it whizzed past.*

However last week logistics group John Menzies acquired Oban Express with the wonderful claim that it could “transform e-commerce in remote parts of Scotland”.

The aim is that this take-over should give this large facilities and distribution company a greater geographical reach, by including the 45-strong vehicle fleet that typically runs between Glasgow and the West. This acquisition, driven by online retailing, also follows the purchase in June of this year of AJG Parcels of Inverness.The integration of both companies into the group should apparently "help keep down the cost of deliveries on behalf of national carriers to more isolated areas".

However, in my opinion, there can only be a truly better ecommerce delivery approach in Scotland if:
  1. Companies such as Menzies invest in these recent purchases and grow the capacity of their operations in remote areas.
  2. Travel networks (e.g. roads) are improved
    E.g. it doesn't matter how far or fast the van goes, if it is stuck behind a slow driver on the single-carriage all the way up to Fort William or waiting for a land-slide to be cleared on the Inveraray road.
  3. Big and small ecommerce companies alike stop charging unfair amounts for deliveries to the Scottish Highlands and Islands.
    E.g. I live 12 miles from Glasgow and was recently charged a premium by one company for shipping a small parcel (a mobile phone)!
  4. This is accompanied by the roll-out of decent broadband internet, which is still incredibly patchy across a lot of the land north of the English border.

* Dear Top Gear, here's an idea. Stop featuring bloody Italian supercars or unobtainable Aston Martins on your programme and do a piece on the amazing handling & performance characteristics of the Ford Transit and Iveco vans driven by the courier services to the North of Glasgow!