Tech Trends: Why Staying Ahead is Crucial for Business
How does a technology-based business stay on the forefront of developing cutting-edge tech for its customers and its industry? What does it mean for a business’ bottom line?
Put simply, “If we don’t come up with the solutions, somebody else is going to,” says Don Carroll, vice president of business development at Vantage Point Logistics.
It’s the race of business. While VPL provides technology solutions specifically for the healthcare supply chain industry, so it goes in virtually any line of business – an organization is facing multiple competitors all coming at the same problem from a slightly different angle. The competitive advantage lies in being the first to offer a comprehensive solution that works seamlessly for customers.
So what can a business do to stay on top of technology trends in its market?
Know Your Market
Carroll says most of VPL’s executive leadership team has been in the industry long enough to have an understanding of what the pain points are and where the inefficiencies lie in healthcare supply chain market, helping guide the company’s technology solutions. Developing such an intimate understanding of a marketplace takes time, but there are several sources business owners can look to for industry insights.
Carroll says VPL takes advantage of various conferences, which provide a window into what other players in the market are working on.
“There’s really just always industry buzz around what’s working great and what’s not working great,” Carroll says.
That includes looking at what is working in other markets. Specific to supply chain, Carroll says there are other industries like automotive, retail and consumer electronics that are much more efficient than healthcare.
“You can look into those supply chains and see what people are doing different and then you can try to emulate some of that,” he says.
There’s always another market; somewhere to look to to see how they are doing it better.
“You very rarely have to completely reinvent the wheel,” Carroll says. “You just need to make the wheel work in your market.”
Nurture Your Customer Relationships
Carroll says he can’t overstate the importance of developing good, collaborative relationships with a business’ customers and third-party partners. No company is an island.
Customers are a wealth of knowledge. Who better to gain insights from? Carroll says through honest conversations and trusting relationships, customers will tell VPL what they want from their technology, and more importantly what they need, whether they realize it or not.
He adds that more and more, customers are coming to VPL saying, “Don’t ask me what I want, come in here and tell me what I need.”
Fail to meet those needs and another business will.
Carroll places the same emphasis on developing collaborative relationships with third-party providers – those businesses that don’t directly compete with VPL but are tangentially related. Each business has a unique and different perspective on the market, bringing insights and gaps to light VPL, or any business, might not have seen on their own.
“At the end of the day, we’re all trying to fill gaps,” Carroll says. “Sometimes you don’t necessarily see the need, but you can fill the gap once you see it.”
Avoid the Noise
How does a business separate innovative, business-changing technology from all the noise?
“You can’t overstate how important it is to have a strategic vision as a company,” Carroll says.
A company should know broadly where it’s headed. Carroll says it is important to maintain some flexibility in a strategic plan as new products and solutions develop, but without a plan it’s easy to get lost in the next best thing.
“If it doesn’t help the plan, ignore it,” Carroll says.
Stay Ahead or Lose Out: Impacts on the Bottom Line
Conferences, emulating success, tapping into customer insights, following a strategic plan – there are numerous ways to keep a business abreast of technology in its respective market, but why is it important?
“You are either not going to be able to go out there and obtain new business…or lose existing business,” Carroll says.
As a technology-based business, for VPL the importance of staying ahead on technology trends goes beyond just simple customer acquisition. Carroll says at the end of the day, not staying up on trends and going out into the market to offer new solutions or services on a consistent basis would diminish their reputation as leading-edge technology solutions provider. It would not only hurt them in the market, but more locally when it comes to recruiting and retaining talent.
In a tight labor market, especially for software developers, Carroll says constantly developing new technology makes it easier for VPL to retain talent.
“As a group, generally speaking, [software developers] want to be working on the next cool thing, on the next best thing, and that’s what keeps them motivated and interested ,and it keeps them engaged,” he says.
This is part of a multi-part series presented with paid support by Vantage Point Logistics.
VPL is a leader in delivering supply chain technology and solutions to the healthcare market. With years of experience, the continuous development of leading-edge technology and proactive account management, we are transforming their supply chain making it smarter, easier and better. Recognized as one of America’s fastest growing companies, we are poised to develop even more innovative technology solutions providing transparency and savings across the ever-expanding continuum of patient care.
For more information on Vantage Point Logistics, visit vantagepointlogistics.com.