It’s said the only constant in life is change – a sentiment that is certainly a given in the business world. Companies form, merge with others or disappear for lack of innovation against startups or competitors. Industry disruptors have been a prevalent part of commerce for thousands of years since cattle trading gave way to coins as currency.
Just when it seems impossible, something new comes out of nowhere to upend the status quo. From online retailers usurping brick and mortar retailers to mobile phones replacing landlines, answering machines and cameras, it’s not a matter of if a better mousetrap will come along, it’s when.
While a disruptor may be inescapable, it’s not all that dire. In fact, a study conducted by Strategy& (PwC’s global strategy consulting team) found that the “fear of disruption can be more damaging than actual disruption.” Additionally, existing businesses typically have plenty of time to respond to new trends before they are impacted, according to the study. Examples cited were Amazon and Google, which each took at least 10 years before dominating the web and ecommerce.
When facing a threat, established businesses that try to rush out ill-conceived strategies are just about as ineffective as those that do nothing, the study found. Instead, incumbents are more likely to succeed when they focus on continually accentuating their own core strengths and forming tighter customer connections to build loyalty.
Distribution is no less vulnerable to disruption than any other industry. As a middleman, distributors are always at risk for disintermediation. In turn, they must continue evolving and innovating to provide increasingly value-added services. The question that should be asked repeatedly is “how can we help our customers be more successful?” This is the difference between a partner and merely an order-taking vendor and a disrupter and an incumbent.
In parts distribution, it’s all about keeping critical components in stock and getting them to the customer the same or next day. This requires a massive effort beginning with forecasting what customers will need and ending with the right parts quickly in the hands of the customer. In between, every step of the process must be optimized for efficiency, accuracy and maximum throughput.
With decades of parts experience, Encompass is heavily investing in the latest AI and predictive technology to arm customers with vital data. Helping customers troubleshoot repairs and identify the right parts for the job are just a couple of ways we’re serving as more than just a supplier. Working directly with customers, we also develop creative tools that address specific pain points and help them be more successful. Along with product repair training, video content and matching tech skills with those needing to strengthen service networks, Encompass is deploying a host of resources for the benefit of the entire industry.
We’re also targeting warehouse management solutions and automated functionality with the goal of expediting parts delivery. Backed by the resources and best practices of our parent company Parts Town – the global market leader in foodservice equipment parts distribution – we’re better positioned than ever to turn our customer-centric visions into reality.
While technology is at the heart of many of our innovations, we still believe in good old-fashioned people skills. If you want to interact with a real person, Encompass has the channel for that. Our teams are always out visiting customers in person all over the country or we’re calling them with information on important new services or just to find out if we can do anything to assist.
In 2023, Encompass will celebrate its 70th anniversary. We could not have survived in a competitive industry this long without continually raising the bar for customers. While we mark this important milestone in our history, we will forever be looking forward and exploring how we can offer more.
To the market disrupters out there, we say: our resolve to be best-in-class is only getting stronger.