Mark Twain once said, "Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow." Seems some things, like procrastination, never change.
But as we all know, procrastination doesn't make difficult undertakings disappear. That's especially true when we think about how our businesses adapt to change.
Industry veterans can attest to the changes that have shaped the electrical distribution channel over the years. The economy swings, customer needs shift, products advance, and we revise our operations.
But I think we all need to start contemplating the next 20 years because our fallback strategies and solutions just will not apply as they do today.
Consider, for example, the business implications for a world where billboards monitor and analyze people passing by, switching their message depending on the consumer's profile. Or where farming equipment alters they way it works based on the crop-condition data it receives via satellite and ground sensors.
This is not the future. These real-world examples from McKinsey Quarterly are happening now, and they offer a glimpse into the operations, capabilities and market needs of tomorrow.
Trends Magazine forecasts we'll see more than 50 billion electronic devices connected to the Internet by 2020. This means bridges, roads, cars, hospital beds, in-store signage -- virtually any thing will be able to acquire and exchange information that helps us in our daily lives.
Will electrical distribution be prepared? Will we have the knowledge and skills to help our customers navigate in a world like this? Will we able to spot emerging opportunities and plan for the risks?
I say, "Yes," provided we end the procrastination and start planning. I see NAED members already thinking ahead when they attend our meetings, participate in our committees, and apply new industry knowledge to their businesses. Many are investing in smart technologies, energy-efficient solutions and other new markets, and I think many more will follow.
But the concrete questions remain: Where will you take your business in the next 10 to 20 years? As an industry, where will we be? I'd like to hear your ideas and predictions. Feel free to leave your comments below.