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So how do you shift a company into the right habits?

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Tech Talk by Peter Mate
Peter Mate is co-owner and president of Planit Canada, a software and services company devoted to servicing the manufacturing industry. For more info email peterm@planitcanada.ca
It’s funny how some companies just have a knack for being ultra-efficient and forward thinking… Actually, it’s not. It’s planned and holds a high rank in importance.
For a company to be forward thinking and ultra-efficient, it needs to constantly reinvent itself and question everything on an ongoing basis. Something that worked well a few years ago, might not be the best method any longer. So how do you shift a company into the right habits? It starts with people.
The people that make up the workforce of your company are the ones that will influence the direction and success in achieving the company’s goals. If you start by hiring creative and forward-thinking individuals, then you have a good base for what you’ll need to start breaking the traditional mold. The hiring process should be very different than traditional hiring processes. Shape the hiring to highlight how innovative and forward thinking the candidate is. Remember that no matter how forward thinking and innovative someone is, if they don’t fit well with the rest of the team, they will 
be vetoed by the others 
and pushed in a corner. 
They need to be surrounded by like-minded people 
and given the opportunity 
to make mistakes and try new things.
Sometimes it’s the next generation of owners that come in and take the lead to update the direction and culture of the company. I was very pleased to see a great long-standing company using Trello.com to keep track of parts in production. It was on a Canadian Kitchen Cabinet Association (CKCA) tour that I noticed the Trello boards on screens throughout the shop. A free tool that is extraordinary.
If budget is a concern, there are a lot of free or inexpensive technologies out there. The key is finding them and figuring out how they apply to your business. This is where the creative people come into play. If you keep hiring outside-of-the-box thinkers, keep exposing them to new technologies and keep questioning what can be done better, then you end up with a culture that is ever evolving. It’s a continuous improvement highway that keeps on getting better.
There are so many conferences, tech tours and consultants that can inspire people to push the boundaries. Reach outside of our typically traditional wood industry and take a look at more forward-thinking industries like technology. Even retail is being re-invented. Look at the cashier-less Amazon stores called Amazon Go!
Think of the amazing customer experiences you’ve had and question how those companies got to those levels of success. I can tell you, it’s not a fluke. I believe that ingenuity and creativity are the keys to business success in the future. There are a lot of people on this planet. That’s the competition these days. We are more connected than ever before. There is someone, somewhere at any given time thinking about how to do what you do better than you.
Be that person.

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