You know that old cliché saying “the only thing that is constant is change”? It seems more and more appropriate. We live in a world where we are connected to news, information, ideas … and work almost 24/7.
On the world stage, we are seeing major political shifts from Brexit in Europe to Saudi Arabia’s regulatory reforms in the Middle East and a seemingly growing political divide here in the United States. In the life sciences sector, we continue to see ever-increasing technological advancements and the struggle around ethical boundaries to how science should be applied. In our industry, we are nearing the end of the merger and acquisition phase for the Big 6, now the Big 3 (Bayer, Corteva Agriscience and Syngenta), and companies are fighting for everything they have, from genetics to market share.
It’s abundantly clear that change is constant, from the world around us to our own business, and we’ve got to work daily to be forward thinking and stay ahead of the curve.
As such, we’ve made changes to our business, including our approach to sales, the value we place on engineering and our service model.
For starters, we don’t just sell equipment anymore. We sell services and software, and we’ve had to change our approach when talking with customers. We are still selling value, but what we sell isn’t strictly tangible; we must be able to articulate the intangible services and benefits.
Another change that we have made is our approach to new products and how we design and develop new solutions. If it takes us too long to go from concept to release, the market requirements will change and we will end up with a solution that is no longer valuable. For both mechanical and software solutions, we work to release early and often, with sometimes smaller releases, as we work toward a complete solution. In the end, this allows us to adapt to changing market needs, without compromising an entire project due to either being too slow to market or not being able to adapt to changing market requirements.
Finally, we’ve changed our service model. We’ve gone from a few designated service people to the entire team being capable of and expected to help with customer service requests. This one change has had the biggest impact, both internally and externally. There’s less handing off and the need for follow up internally, and externally it’s resulted in a faster turnaround time for support requests and happy customers.
What are you doing to stay ahead of the whirlwind? If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you’ve got to be intentional. This means designating real time to thinking about the industry, your business model and the needs of your customers. What is not working? What needs improvement? What do your customers want that you don’t offer? Look for opportunities and be willing to change.
Remember: Change will happen, even if you resist it. You’ve got to direct the change and be willing to toss industry norms, processes and procedures on their heads.