You know you are always on when customers call 24/7 requesting repairs. You know that when your customer expects her groceries to be delivered when she gets home that you are always on. You are always on when you are open seven days a week, serving the health needs of your community. You are always on when you are serving the nonstop and changing needs on your customers.
Always-on businesses include online and traditional retailers. And not only retailers, but also industrial, maintenance or petrochemical companies. Other businesses not often thought of as always on are construction and building supplies. Not just B2C, but global B2B logistics with demanding customers, serving tight delivery schedules. Yes, all of these are examples of Always-On businesses. In businesses such as these, in perpetual motion serving customers’ unremitting and dynamic needs, the operations should also reflect that environment. In other words, the operations have to be always on.
Always on is not just a theoretical buzzword for discussion, but a current competitive imperative. Disruptors have already put their cards on the table, focusing on delivery services: whether Amazon’s or eBay’s logistics services, or even the venerable Sears’ countermove of leveraging their expertise in procurement, transportation, and service. They, and others, are the game changers revolutionizing business. B2B businesses are also dealing with the unintended consequences of self-service websites. Customers are on these sites 24 hours a day. After all, with their mobile devices, they are always on, untethered from the fixed location and desktop computer.