Create A Digital Mindset With The Triad Of People, Strategy, And Technology In Wholesale Distribution

Michelle Schooff

Achieving a groundbreaking digital transformation for wholesale distributors takes more than just technology. After all, who researches the right solutions, plans their best use cases, and integrates them with current business processes and systems? Whether they’re in marketing, IT, or the C-suite, human innovators across the enterprise are the ones bringing digitalization to life. Therefore, it’s time to start thinking about the triad of people, strategy, and technology in your new digital mindset.

Support people with innovative ways of working

Do your employees think innovation is possible? If they’re bogged down by inefficient processes in their day-to-day work, they probably don’t believe very much in the power of digital technology. Your workforce is key to bringing digitalization to life, so the first step is to make them advocates for enterprise-wide digital transformation.

In a world where humans are increasingly cautious about the risk of robots taking their jobs, it’s important to show them that robots can make humans’ jobs much more meaningful. The automation of repetitive, tedious tasks through machine learning can enable your employees to spend time on value-added work instead.

While large-scale automation efforts usually come along with full company digitalization, you can implement some small-scale automation for employees’ benefit. For instance, an automated chatbot can help your customer support team focus on critical customer inquiries by responding to and resolving requests for password resets or order updates. Not only will your employees be free to focus on tasks that require human attention, but they can also begin thinking about their jobs in an innovative light.

Improve strategy by promoting proactive thinking

If your employees are to be part of the triad of people, strategy, and technology, they need to embody characteristics of the digital mindset, including creativity and openness to change. Your success depends on a company culture and strategy that sees digitalization as an exciting business opportunity, not as a bunch of annoying technology trends that will make work harder until the business ultimately abandons them. So when your employees want to challenge the status quo with a new idea, don’t discourage them. Digitalization requires a mindset that reimagines and innovates upon business models rather than simply extending them.

Management needs to change, too. Your workforce needs to see senior staff taking calculated risks in favor of digital transformation. It’s hard to buy into something if your managers don’t believe in it. Consider the impact of not only investing in an innovation center or incubator as part of a strategy for innovative digital thinking but also encouraging employees to utilize it.

Implement technology with the people and strategy for success

Once your people are on board with a mindset for digitalization, you can begin defining your future priorities with a strategy for digital success. For many wholesale distributors, customer-centricity and employee empowerment are of the utmost importance. For others, it’s the digital supply chain, smart technology, and new monetization models.

How you use technology to achieve these ends is up to you, but you have plenty of places to start, including expert guidance from SAP. For more about how you can digitalize your wholesale organization, read the new white paper from SAP: “Riding the Waves of Disruption in Wholesale Distribution.”

Michelle Schooff

About Michelle Schooff

Michelle Schooff is a global marketing director in the life sciences and wholesale distribution industries for SAP. She is responsible for the marketing strategy, messaging and positioning for SAP solutions in the global marketplace. With over 20 years experience in technology and marketing, Michelle builds strategic marketing plans that drive growth, innovation and revenue.