Mobile Operation Strategy: Doing with less vs Doing without

Tony Horling

Mobile Operation Strategy: Doing with less vs Doing without

The most successful job hunting guide in history is called What Color Is Your Parachute? The title asks a vital question for anyone about to bail out of a plane. What if I told you that a similar exercise could make as much difference to the future of your business? Would you be willing to ask yourself a couple of questions if doing so could make your company’s journey much more successful and long-lasting?

Here are the questions:

What can you do with less?

What can you do without?

When was the last time you checked?

First, how about a little background …

From bureaucracy to business agility

A lot of companies today are trying to figure out ways to cut costs. There used to be a different mentality years ago. Years ago, companies wanted to make profit. They were bureaucracies that wanted to grow. They weren’t as wary of the expenditure line. Back in the mid-80s and 90s, the adage was, “You’ve got to spend money to make money,” and as long as they were spending money and making more money, things were great.

Then things started to take a step backwards — with the economy, with business growth, and with the banking industry. When that all happened, companies started to look at how to do more with less, or do more without. For the last five years, this business agility trend has really been growing. Companies are not just looking to magnify their business, they’re figuring out how to become more competitive with fewer personnel, or with a smaller presence in the marketplace.

handheld mobile touch computer

Not more bodies — more intelligence

For example, it used to be that you would have so many people in the marketplace representing your company, especially in the mobile sector — whether in field service, or proof of delivery, or whatever it may be. If you had a mobile field service fleet and crew, you would have a large number of those people assigned to cover territory and assure customer satisfaction, and you would just add more bodies to meet customer demand.

Now business has changed. Now you don’t need to add more bodies. Companies are becoming very strategic in the way they spend money on their mobile practice. They’re figuring out how to accomplish more without adding cost. They’re introducing technology to their business which allows them to do more because it adds an extra layer of intelligence to the process their mobile workforce is using. Companies have become more efficient.

What has allowed companies to evolve beyond their old Neanderthal ways is technology. Since the 1980s, companies have been adopting technology at an increasing pace. Over the last ten years, this merging with technology has quickened. In the last three years, it’s become an all-out sprint.

As a mobility consultant, when I ask about their goals, companies tell me they “want to do more with less.” They want to grow their business, enhance it, and get bigger — but do it with less. Or even without.

Doing with less — or doing without

Doing with less means scaling back a business to be lean and efficient. Every company understands the advantages of operating lean. It’s like running a zero-inventory warehouse. It means optimizing their process and getting rid of unnecessary positions, equipment, routes, service areas, etc.

Doing without involves a bigger transformation — a redesign which results in doing business a new way. Companies take out pieces of their current process and reinvent it, modernize it. The structure is streamlined in terms of personnel, fleet, and so forth, thanks to technology like the right mobile solution.

Henry Ford: If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.

Leaders engage change

Take Netflix, for instance. Originally, their business involved sending DVDs back and forth with customers via the mail. In 2007, however, they began moving away from that model and into video streaming on demand. Taking advantage of technological advances allowed Netflix to do without some of the bulky pieces of their original business model — while getting their product to customers with a method that’s faster, more efficient, and more cost-effective.

Similar overhauls are happening in all sorts of businesses — beverage distribution, food production and distribution, field service, and on and on. The use of mobile technology and the Internet of Things have become a living, breathing entity that causes companies to rethink how they do business. If you’re not actively engaging with this reality, you may be the next Blockbuster. If your company has a mobile facet which incorporates customer service, delivery of products, or whatever it may be, and if you’re not reengineering or redesigning it and constantly looking at ways to improve and move ahead, then you risk becoming obsolete.

Watching the companies that take the bigger challenge — the ones that explore doing without — is very interesting. Typically, these are the companies that end up leading and industry or a market, because they’re not waiting for everyone else to do it, and then becoming a “me too” company.

GrubHub is a great example. They have used mobile technology to revolutionize restaurant food delivery. Now other companies are trying to imitate GrubHub.

Uber is another example. Uber thought hard about taxicabs and found ways of doing without many parts of the old taxi business model — such as personnel, million-dollar taxi licenses, and vehicle fleets. Technology opened up these new possibilities. Uber studied the board and made their move by applying technology. Now everyone is scrambling to catch up.

Someone else is already studying

You can bet that somewhere, right now, someone is thinking about your business and how do it with less or without. Are you? Will you wait for someone else to redefine your business, or will you do it yourself?

Here are those questions again:

What can you do with less?

What can you do without?

When was the last time you checked?

If you need help going over your business process and circling items, talk to InTu Mobility.

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