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November 2017
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A new level of service

Do you really know what business you are in? I mean really know? Or are you so focused on selling lift truck products and services that you don’t contemplate or visualize potential opportunities “out of the box” that your current or potential new customers may want and reward you handsomely for if you in fact offered them. 

A couple of months ago my column titles “What’s it all mean?” outlined my out of box thinking about the future of the equipment supply chain and what products and services customers may want in today’s economic and technological environment. Hopefully, the article made you think just a little bit out of the box.

Since then I came across an article by Lucy P. Marcus titled What’s an Industry that summarizes how the definition of an industry is no longer what you may think it is.  Up until the recent technological advancements a company did what it did and you could get data on that industry, benchmark operating results for the industry and have a slew of analysts cover the industry and report on it. And then the “internet of things” arrived.

Now we have numerous examples, as Ms. Marcus notes, where many companies cannot be defined in just one industry but in fact move and blend into others to the point where the current standard companies in that industry are in jeopardy of losing their identity as they think it is.  Impossible? I don’t think so. Just jog your memory about the many companies, even public companies that are no longer in business as a result of “the internet of things.”

Ms. Marcus uses Apple as an example. Is Apple a technology company, a car company, a watch company or some other type of company or industry they decide they want to be?

The point here is management cannot rest on their laurels but have to think outside the box, out of their comfort zones, look over their shoulders to see what is out there before new ideas and new competitors derail the operation and disrupt your industry leaving you behind. It can happen.

Before we continue let me provide the link to Ms. Marcus’s article. Look for her at www.project-syndicate.org. It is worth the read.

And while you are at it I also want to refer you to two more articles that cover how telematics and technology will impact the rental industry and applies to the material handling industry as well.

One is 2015 technology Trends for Construction Equipment Management and the Rental Industry at: www.wp.me/p4GoDz-4Zd. And Using Telematics in the Rental Industry-is it right for you? At www.wp.me/p4GoDz-1w.

After reading these articles you will have a feel for how the “internet of things” is going to force the way you do business. Like it or not it is entirely possible your lift truck dealership is about to become a technology company to benefit your company as well as your customers.

I titled this column “A New Level of Service” and did so thinking that customers of the future will need and demand more data from your dealership regarding the use and cost of not only their lift truck fleets but also their owned fleet. What do customers want? They want ease of doing business with vendors, more efficient operations and a lower cost of business….all of which you are going to provide with new technology and whatever additional services and products you can provide as a true partner with your customer.

Think of UBER.

A suggestion would be to plan on having annual strategic planning meetings that include participants outside of your industry. You may find new sources of revenue you never expected to have.

Garry Bartecki is a CPA MBA with GB Financial Services LLC. E-mail editorial@mhwmag.com to contact Garry.

 
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