Maintaining Momentum in 2021

By Glenn Hofmann, KES Managing Director

For the year ahead, have you considered your organization’s plan for maintaining the momentum gained in 2020? As we all know, the previous year was disruptive on practically every level for most businesses, regardless of industry or size. As a result, many organizations were forced to rethink almost every aspect of their business, including internal systems and processes, technology, leadership, customer experience, even overall strategy and positioning within the new and rapidly changing business environment.

Since most organizations are now transitioning from year-end close to ”business as usual,” this is a critical time to revisit and evaluate your strategy for 2021. Whether your organization emerged from the previous year stronger than ever, or just the opposite, you likely did the hard work of identifying, and maybe even implementing, some of the changes necessary to recover and thrive when the economy is back on track.

The first question  – of the changes that were implemented, do you have a plan in place to continue the momentum around these changes? The second question – for the ideas and changes not yet implemented, do you have a strategy in place for making these changes a reality in 2021? The future and long-term impact of your business depends on it.

Studies suggest that an estimated 70% of large-scale change programs and ideas are never implemented or fail to meet their goals. Considering this, I encourage you to evaluate both the short-term and long-term costs of business stagnation and/or poorly implemented business systems and processes. As we move into another unpredictable year, here are five areas that I believe are critical to consider for continuing to not only build and maintain momentum, but also to keep your great plans and business insights from falling to the wayside.

  1. Strategy
  • Does your organization have an online presence?  Is it ready for a major shift of your orders to online? Are you connected to the leading marketplaces for your industry?
  • Have you validated your supply chain and maybe rethought your just in time or single supplier approach? 
  • Do your offerings need to be tweaked for this new world?  Sell in bulk?  Sell direct?  Include services? 
  • Are there services/functions you have outsourced that need to be rethought?
  1. Systems
  • Are your business systems accessible remotely?  If yes, are they fully functional and able to handle a full workload of remote employees?
  • Are there certain employees that will continue to work remotely, and if yes, are they able to perform their full job remotely?
  • Are there administrative or repetitive tasks that could be automated, allowing your team to focus on more high-value activities?
  • Do you have visibility throughout your order processes, your supply chain, and your warehouse management to be able to prioritize and manage through a disruption?
  1. Execution
  • Make sure that you follow through on initiatives started during a disruption. This is a great opportunity to make real-long term changes in your company.
  • Did you learn about any weak processes during the disruption?  What are you doing to address these long term?  Don’t just let them go back to the way they were.
  • Get input from your team, including both front line and managers, on what worked and what didn’t and how it can be improved.  Work together to make changes.
  1. Planning
  • Be ready for the next business disruption…it will happen again.
  • Have you reached out to your customers to see how they are doing and what their plans are for 2021?
  • Have you reached out to your vendors to make sure your supply chain is intact and to potentially discuss changes to process or payment terms?
  • Have you thought about the next big thing for your company and how you can start planning for it now?
  1. Adaptability
  • Adaptability is the future of business. The willingness and ability to adapt to the rapidly changing business landscape is vital for maintaining a competitive advantage.
  • Does your current system have the ability to quickly scale resources in order to adapt to fluctuating customer/market demands?
  • Are your people and processes aligned in a way that allows for easily adapting to changing business requirements?

This is by no means an exhaustive list of things to consider, but it’s a great start. Although “systems” was called out as a specific area above, the reality is that business systems and processes are a common thread across all of these areas. Many organizations learned the hard way in the previous year that their business systems and processes were not ready for the stress of a major, ongoing disruption. Having systems only accessible at the office or with limited remote capabilities made it very difficult for day-to-day operations. Lack of real-time visibility into supply chain or order fulfillment made it challenging to make critical business decisions. Not having an eCommerce presence or one that was not fully integrated real-time into your inventory management system meant unhappy customers. 

While now may not seem like the right time to make major investments into an ERP system, the reality is that making an investment now may be just what is needed to set up your company for success in the upcoming recovery. At KES, we help organizations take the next step with their business by helping your team rethink strategy and processes, deploying a new cloud-based ERP, or enhancing your existing NetSuite environment to ensure you are getting full value. Our experienced team of ERP professionals is here to help with any of these needs. Feel free to reach out to us, and together we can partner to keep your momentum going in 2021 and help your company take the next steps on the path to success.

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We look forward to connecting with you!