I recently traveled through parts of India on a backpacking trip. During that trip, I saw immense poverty and the consequence of it.
Poverty is often discussed as a lack of money. This is only the cause, not the real inequality. The real inequality in poverty is that of time and access. Due to lack of funds, poor individuals must spend 10x the time a privileged individual must to travel the same distance. They don’t have access to healthy food which in turn increases disease, as well as limits cognitive ability and affects mood. The less money you have, the more you have working against you to take advantage of any opportunity. You move slower, think slower, waste more time with disease and travel. In short, you have less time, and lack the energy to take advantage of the little you may find.
Many small businesses suffer a similar effect. With less resource available, small businesses lack the time, money, or access to take advantage of new technologies, business process optimization strategies, business model innovations, product development. Larger companies have more resources and use them to increase their capability and market share. This creates an ever-widening gap between the resource-rich and resource-strapped business.
In my previous roles I spent a lot of time developing skills and tools to help resource-strapped companies looking to get to the next level. Specifically in manufacturing and supply chain firms. Some of the outcomes of those skills have been:
- Revenue doubling in 3 years for a no-growth distributor
- Revenue / Employee increasing from 800 thousand to 1.5 million
- EBITDA margin increasing from 10% to 25%
- Expanding to an international location
- Reducing inventory by 30% while increasing part availability
- Delivery time reductions of 40%
- Demand Planning and Purchasing time reductions of 30%
The key to growing a small business is to do less with more, and technology is the perfect tool to accomplish this. However, resource-strapped firms don’t have the money, time, or knowledge to hire a technology worker to implement the needed changes to raise sales and margins, reduce workload, and automate many tasks. Beyond this, the ability to harness data and develop new strategies and business units is not even in the purview of many small business owners.
Moving forward, I will be taking the skills I have learned and helping resource-strapped firms rethink their strategy, streamline their operations, automate their workflows, optimize their supply chains, and develop world-class tools and applications. Most of my success has been in the development of processes and systems which reduce risk, loss, and cost while increasing sales, margin, and cash. The processes and system I design are built to scale well, improve qualitative measures such as loyalty and trust, and empower employee creativity and thinking rather than eliminate it.
In that light, I have started a software firm, Procurem, which will develop in-house products to serve the supply chain and manufacturing industry, as well as develop custom and proprietary systems for clients.
I will also be doing consulting work through Procurem Agency which will be aimed at working with companies who wish to hire me and my team on for consulting work in strategy, operations, data analysis, or supply chain development.
Last, I will be using this platform here at joshuaschultz.com in order to share business insights and ideas around unique and different approaches to business strategy and operations.