A business strategy in today’s economic environment is nothing without a digital strategy. Digital transformation is at the center of most business initiatives, and for good reason: the desire to interact with companies digitally is rising exponentially.
The conversation around digital transformation is not a new one; however, it is one that is becoming increasingly important as more companies adopt new technologies. In addition, unexpected global events like the COVID pandemic caused an even greater emphasis on digital touchpoints with consumers who were unable to physically engage with companies.
How 2020 Has Expedited Digital Transactions
According to a new update from research firm Gartner Inc., one of its predictions was that IT spending would hit $4 trillion this year, an increase of 8.4 percent from 2020. Part of the reasoning for this increase considers businesses rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic and responding to the dependency that was placed on digital processes.
For THP, being at the forefront of technological advances and state-of-the-art processes has been a priority. As addressed in this previous blog, we spoke with Dr. Janson Yap, an expert on digital transformation and professor at the National University of Singapore, who addressed the urgency of adopting digital solutions and processes – especially with the consumer’s growing reliance on said technologies. In that interview he stated, “COVID-19 has forced us to adopt technology as a way to help us survive. And I think this is why I think we have been able to fast track a lot of adoption,” says, Dr. Janson. “There is a Chinese saying that when there is a common enemy, we do better, right? So all around the world COVID-19 is a common enemy…In many ways, I think COVID-19 will ask you to rethink and reimagine, and reframe your strategy or your business…from a regional perspective, and then from a global perspective.”
This past year has certainly changed consumer expectations and disrupted the status quo. Of course, that isn’t entirely different than how things were before. Consumers are driving the change they want to see from companies. With the millennial generation now taking over as the largest on the planet – a generation that has actively embraced the new digital age of smartphones and social media, companies must interact with this “always-connected” consumer like never before. In an article by SuperOffice, they share research from IDC, that states two-thirds of the CEO’s of Global 2,000 companies will shift their focus from traditional, offline strategies to more modern digital strategies to improve the customer experience before the end of the year – with 34% of companies believing they’ll fully adopt digital transformation within 12 months or less.
In this same article, a study by the State of Digital Business Report by Progress revealed 55% of businesses believe they have less than a year before they start to suffer financially and lose market share. Companies are aware of consumer expectations and are racing to meet the demand for digitally interactive options in the buying experience.
Digital transformation initiatives and related processes will look a bit different for each company based on their consumer, industry, and market. For THP, we’ve focused on digitizing our internal processes in order to not only increase efficiency within our organization but also to better serve our customers. Having a solid digital infrastructure in place allows you to better integrate consumer-facing digital processes. Companies in the food and beverage industry that have successfully adopted digital transformation initiatives have done so to enhance both internal and external processes. Many report experiencing greater transparency across the business, increased availability and connectivity, improved quality and customer service, and overall cost savings.
It’s All About What the Customer Wants
Even companies like THP, that focus on a tangible, perishable product, need to meet consumers at their digital wants and needs. After all, THP’s philosophy has always been that we exist to serve the customer at a profit. That philosophy has been a guiding principle throughout many significant decisions regarding the company. This motto explains in part why we walked away from a lucrative deal with Coca-Cola. The decision to keep THP independent was driven by our desire to control the market based on our understanding of our consumers and the market. It’s this same guiding principle that results in making digital transformation a priority; it’s what the consumer wants. “We exist to serve the customer at a profit.”
We make ongoing investments into researching new ways to better serve our consumers. Our factories are home to state-of-the-art technologies including ten aseptic lines, PET manufacturing systems, and both hot and cold filling lines for Tetra Pak, cans, and glass bottles.
As we seek to serve customers digitally as a leader in the beverage industry, we must not only accept how customers want to interact with THP but also anticipate trends that will be relevant in the future. This requires a culture of innovation – an atmosphere where ideas are welcomed and encouraged.
Innovation is a key element of THP’s approach to business. For us, failure – or the experiences that lead to success – is a necessary part of creating. On a day-to-day level, it is also important to let people take risks and fail without undue consequences. Failure scares most people. They generally do not want to advertise their mistakes in case a rival uses the information against them.
We try to encourage THP employees to understand that failure is all around us, and there is no reason to be afraid of it. It is something we should respect and try to learn from. For example, in the R&D section of the company, failure is generally a prerequisite before a breakthrough is made. It is the breeding ground for innovation.
Innovation, with the goal of serving the customer, is what THP has always been about, which is why prioritizing digital initiatives is so important for continued growth and success.