Surviving as a little fish in a pond full of sharks.
Updated: May 31, 2019
How can we stay agile enough to survive in the current market?
Many sectors of Australian Industry are experiencing rationalisation of vendors throughout the supply chain. The promise of cheaper pricing, greater surety of supply and access to best commercial practices means it can be a challenge for SMEs. Just like the pond analogy, when it is possible to step out of the shade and be seen in the light, there is always the risk that a shark will come along and either consume you whole, leave you in pieces or push you back further into their shade.
While Anywise does not attempt to be everything for everyone, we do try very hard to remain agile enough to respond to the changing demands on our clients in the new world of Industry 4.0. As always our response to change has included considerations of People, Processes and Tools.
Our people are the core of what we do at Anywise. We trust and empower them as far as we can to deliver their work. This means even our employment contracts are built for flexibility as standard. We invest in training and professional development to keep them engaged and motivated in continuous improvement. They are intimately involved in company decisions and strategy setting and have authority to speak on behalf of the company on all projects they work on.
Supporting our employed staff are a range of processes that provide additional capacity and agility to our operations. We have established a dynamic network of suppliers across a range of fields and use technology to manage capability and capacity throughout that network. This means we can quickly identify the kind of support that may be needed, where that support might come from and who has the current capacity to deliver it. This strips significant waste out of the supply chain and improves our decision and mobilisation speed considerably. We have developed repeatable business processes that provide decision guidance to allow us to quickly make decisions such as self perform or subcontract, hire or outsource.
Of course underpinning these processes are the tools on which they are managed. An interconnected world means data is available from all kinds of sources, from manual MRP systems, through digital ERP platforms, multi-channel communication systems, social media, stock and inventory control systems, media channels and a huge wealth of online open data sources. It is practically impossible to remain on top of all of that data and respond to changes in the market.
At Anywise we have made deliberate investment decisions to invest in decision augmentation systems. Systems like Mavenlink turn our information into actionable intelligence from a business resourcing perspective. Investing in data and business intelligence systems has made us more responsive and better prepared to mobilise and remobilise quickly.
Our Talent Community, powered by BenchOn allow partners to communicate with us their spare capacity that can link directly to our demand cycle. Meaning most of the talent search functions are completed before we know the need. This platform ensures that the SME community can remain viable when the larger companies control the lions share of the market. By sharing resources and spare capacity, SME networks provide a significant advantage to a single, larger enterprise.
Our partnership with Valuechain UK has leveraged the innovative iQluster platform, providing a means to capture considerable market and network intelligence in one digital platform. Promoting secure collaboration and data analysis. As this platform moves to further integration of AI, the future of SME collaboration is likely to be even more agile and even more connected, if not guided by market dynamics automatically.
Of course this is not necessarily enough to live long and prosper as a SME in the current market. But with the right people, agile processes and tools that enable us to aggregate and share capabilities and capacities, us little fish can quickly move to where the bigger sharks are not or can not get to, we can quickly come together to look like one of them, and we can just as quickly disperse and focus on what is most important.
Providing the right mix of people, processes and tools to deliver some of our clients most challenging projects.
Of course that includes the very sharks we've made reference to in this article. Stay tuned for the lessons we've learned when doing business with companies much larger than ours in the coming weeks.