Envision Models Beyond Pick-Pack-and Ship

Updated May 18, 2016

What is a business vision? It’s not as mystical or out there as it sounds. A vision, quite simply, is a picture of what success will be at a particular time in the future. The ‘future state’ sought in Lean training. It encompasses answers to an array of questions:

  • What does our organization look like to our customers and prospects?
  • How big is it, and is scale a customer benefit?
  • What are we famous for, really, today?
  • Why does anyone care about what we do?
  • How do people who work here feel about their jobs?
  • How do I, as the boss, feel about the business?
  • What’s my role in it (guide, leader, mentor) and to whom?

Answer these questions and you are on your way to a clearly articulated compass for your organization — something that won’t change every time the market or your mood shifts.

A clear vision is inspiring. It gets you and everyone in the organization excited to come to work; it’s the cathedral everyone is coming to work every day to construct. This is not mere wishful thinking. A vision must also be strategically sound. You have to have a reasonable shot at getting there.

UnleashWD is an ongoing effort by leading distribution thinker Dirk Beveridge. The annual October conference marks the very leading edge of distribution vision.

But even with all those studies, he still breaks the problem of innovation like this: “Companies Don’t Change, Transform, and Innovate. People Do.”

What must successful distributors do to create a relevant and sustainable future?

Dirk has summarized recent studies as follows:

The distributors who will thrive in the current age of disruption will laser focus on five critical success factors of innovation:

  • Vision – they know without vision there is no innovation
  • Culture – they must create a culture of experimentation and change
  • Value proposition – they will innovate to break free of the “sameness trap” 90%+ distributors are caught in.
  • Business model innovation – they will develop models beyond pick-pack-and ship and duplicating the services of competitors
  • Transformative leadership – they need leaders who have the will, energy, and focus to lead their businesses into a volatile and complex future.

Bill Wade is a partner at Wade & Partners and a heavy-duty aftermarket veteran. He is the author of Aftermarket Innovations. He can be reached at bwade@wade-partners.com.

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