Piece by: Matt Yeates, Managing Director, SteelScout
Over the past few months, many people have got used to digital tools like Zoom to stay connected with friends, family, and colleagues. Change isn’t always fast, however examples like this demonstrate that most of us find we can adapt much quicker than we thought.
The same is true for industry. In recent years many sectors including construction, manufacturing, and engineering have all discovered that digitalisation can ultimately improve productivity and customer value with more opportunities becoming accessible all the time. The cost of technology is becoming less of a barrier than the cultural change required to fully exploit the benefits.
A work in progress
While some distributors are shifting quickly towards e-commerce platforms, the sector as a whole is less swift at grasping its power. With the recovery of the economy at the front of business minds, now is the time for new thinking.
Ideas will range from coping with the challenges of social distancing throughout the business processes from order to delivery, through to questions around how we offer new customer experiences that can elevate products above competitors.
At SteelScout, we have been helping the value chain stay connected throughout lockdown. Our digital platform has allowed partners to run efficiently with little downtime, enabling firms – many of them still in remote working situations – to access information from any device or location. By leveraging a network of over 130 local and national metal suppliers, we’ve been rapidly providing quotes and protecting supply continuity by matching the best suppliers to requirements.
By applying the new thinking from this crisis, and by adopting digital tools to create value, UK manufacturers will continue to adapt to a new way of working. This will underpin an economic recovery whilst ensuring we’re well-placed to face all the challenges and opportunities ahead.