Fit & Finish – Digital currency
Value exists in the intangible as well as the physical.
July 21, 2016 By Chris Meiorin
As I enter my 30th year of window manufacturing, it’s fair that I could be considered a tire kicker. It stems from not having the internet 30 years ago to meticulously guide us through our early acquisitions. Shop equipment had to be seen before it was purchased, most often at well-attended industry trade shows.
You had to look under the hood. You literally had to kick it to see what it was made of, and with that philosophy much of the equipment we purchased over a quarter century ago still serves our company in some capacity today.
This model has seen paradigm shift over the past 10 years. Today, most purchases can be made without ever having actually seen or touched what you will buy. You exhaustively search all aspects of the purchase and if, when it arrives at your shipping door, it doesn’t suit your exact needs you can invest some time into modifying it to the point of offering full value. This is all fine and dandy when we are talking such tangible items as saws and CNCs, but when it comes to software acquisition and implementation the seasoned business owner can easily make like an ostrich with its head in the sand and make a blind leap of faith. I come from a tangible world. One of bricks and mortar, and while the software developers may well see their code as a tangible product, for the rest of us it’s right out of the science fiction Matrix.
When we set out on the path to find new Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP), it was pretty much a leap of faith. I knew what I wanted, and had a good idea as to what we needed, but ultimately we were buying the right to use the software in a way the vendor saw fit. The software license agreement was 13 pages long, 14 if you include the non-disclosure clause. The Appendix A – Licensed Software Description was another 13 pages and the Master License Agreement was another nine pages in length. I read it all very carefully, only to realize that I understood very little of it. This was, in fact, a huge leap of faith into what I might refer to as a “digital currency.” Currency may refer to any generally accepted medium of exchange, including non-physical media. A lot of the money that changes hands these days is never exchanged in any physical form. In this, software is like currency in that it has value without every taking a tangible form in the real world.
Recently, I had the pleasure of partnering with a young entrepreneur who was at complete ease with this new currency. I would like to suggest I was mentoring this creative and smart individual, but in reality his comfort with this new digital currency was of equal value to me as my comfort with bricks and mortar was to him. He described his currency as being “not real” where I saw it as the ultimate in value-added. He saw the tangible currency of bricks and mortar and SME manufacturing as being perplexing and somewhat unattainable and I saw in his world the value that a digital currency could bring to manufacturing. He has since taken his leap of faith into the world of bricks and mortar and I continue pushing forward with becoming comfortable with the new digital currency.
As we move forward in a new age of business, I remain fascinated with the knowledge that a young and creative mind can bring to a 30-year-old table. The companies that I see as most successful in what remains a relatively tight market, are those that are adapting and leveraging the digital currency that continues to emerge. This currency can influence such valuable tools as Customer Relationship Managment software, ERP, mainstream and social media and how companies communicate their message and their brand.
The digital currency of today is about sharing ideas, finding value and collaborating. Embrace it.
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