The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Fourth Industrial Revolution Demands Quicker Adaptation

Continuous adaptation is the new continuous improvement.
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Fundamental shifts are taking place in the industrial world – and distributors will be disrupted by this if they don't embrace these changes.

Whether it is a new industrial revolution, as the global leaders who gathered in Davos, Switzerland, last week say, or simply a continuation of the third industrial revolution that was heralded by digitization and automation, these shifts, "will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another," writes Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.

The speed at which technology has developed and been incorporated into our personal and professional lives over the last 20 years is astounding. And for many business executives it has introduced additional uncertainty.

"(T)hese drivers constitute a source of constant surprise, even for the best connected and most well informed," Schwab says.

Customers have more transparency but are demanding even more. The power has shifted to new players in the industry. And this means that distributors need to continuously adapt to the new marketplace.

"Business leaders and senior executives need to understand their changing environment, challenge the assumptions of their operating teams, and relentlessly and continuously innovate," Schwab says.

Continuous adaptation – and not just continuous improvement – will be necessary as technology continues to morph the roles of all the players in the supply chain. And innovation will be required to set you apart from your competitors. This means investing in new technology, processes and people to stay on the cutting edge. But at the same time, don't lose sight of your foundation as you move forward. Without a strong base in business fundamentals, anything you build could quickly crumble.

We at MDM have dubbed this the 2016 Distribution Remodel and will be covering these shifts more in the coming months. Hear more about the 2016 Distribution Remodel by checking out the MDM Webcast: The 2016 Industry Outlook.

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