This post was first published by Jamie Calvetti on LinkedIn
You can’t just throw money at a problem — throw brains and ideas at it.
The Problem with Tech
Technology is really capital-intensive. If you don’t use it effectively, it hurts you way more than it helps. I know this seems obvious, but I see it happen over and over again with business owners. So, really, the problem with tech isn’t just that it’s expensive. In actuality, it’s hard to truly gauge the potential and ROI until it’s too late. That’s why it’s important to invest in tech that fits into your business plan instead of fitting your business plan around a new piece of equipment.
What Tech Can and Can’t Fix
Tech can’t fix stupid. I have to say that right out of the gate.
Tech can fix a decline in sales or profits. It can fix a business’ image, quality, risks and effectiveness. But it all relies on the reason and the strategy behind the tech investments.
Tech can’t fix any of those things when the motive behind the purchase isn’t sound.
Old School Isn’t Just About Character
A major reason I see other business owners throw away money on tech is because of image. They want to be seen as innovative, in-the-know, trendy, up-to-date and flash more than their competitors. The problem is that a big, shiny new contraption doesn’t necessarily make you any of those things.
The reason we still hand-cut steaks is because no machine does it better or more efficiently. We’re not trying to be nostalgic and I’m not stuck in old fashioned ways, I just honestly haven’t been presented with equipment that produces such consistently identical pieces of meat.
But I have found where expensive technology has been worth the investment: value-added frozen food that end up saving costs for clients. It’s a win-win for everybody. That’s how our upcoming partnership to create a line of authentic sous-vide (not steam-cooked) ready to eat foods and entrees for transportation, HRI and specialized retail clients came about!
How to Intelligently Purchase High-Cost Technology
Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses and buy every machine and robot on the market just to be “trendy” or “competitive.” Be competitive by delivering better products and be trendy by innovating. This is how to fit tech into business plans to make that happen:
- Buy selectively
- Do your research, test, ask around
- Competitively outsource using trusted partners- incorporate your core values and skills with their technologies and economies of scale
- Have both the present and future in mind
- Have a plan (and a Plan B)
- Keep a good inventory – you’d be surprised how many machines get lost in storage and records throughout the meat industry
Pick and choose where to put your money so that your products are better because that, in truth, is what actually defines your brand image and reputation.