Marten Bütow
30. January 2018 0
Collaboration

DASH it! Digital Transformation at the push of a button

In the olden days, wise housewives stockpiled the household staples. There was always a stock of butter, flour, milk and sugar in the cellar or larder. All of them items that are constantly in demand at home. Now, in times of digital transformation, people no longer need to be so careful: a quick push of the button and your order is sent. Amazon introduced dash buttons in 2016 to make ordering as easy as possible. But can such buttons be introduced into workplace services as well?

Dash buttons in the enterprise environment

You’ve probably noticed that that was a rhetorical question. Heaps of consumables are used in offices. There may not be that much demand for the two great consumer staples of toilet paper or cat food (at least not the latter, anyway) but in the print room or in meeting rooms, paper, toner, whiteboard markers and all sorts of other things have a limited lifetime. Paper in particular seems to disappear magically because the office’s creative minds need to grab a pile of paper quickly to make notes, or the marketing people need to improvise a larger-than-life-sized poster for the next managing board presentation.

Mapping entire processes

Dash buttons are a new “purchasing assistant” that neatly illustrates just what the digital transformation can mean to us. But the idea is very much a pure silo solution, custom-made for a single purpose, and for a single manufacturer. Each manufacturer is thinking only about its own interests and the purchaser is firmly locked into their solution – and Amazon offers the platform through which all purchases can be processed. One brand, one dash button. That fact leaves me with a less than attractive vision of my home of the future, with dash buttons for toilet paper and hand gel beside the WC, dash buttons for shampoo, conditioner, washing powder and paper handkerchiefs in the bathroom, and dash buttons for washing up liquid, sponges, tea and coffee in the kitchen.  The invasion of the dash button … in the USA there are already more than 100 such buttons available!

Digitization: simplification and user experience

But for the business environments – and for workplace services – we can take lessons from the domestic world. Why not use dash buttons to simplify the ordering process for consumables? It doesn’t have to get out of hand, though. You might want to start with printer paper and toner (and toilet paper too as far as I’m concerned – though the toilet is only really the workplace in an indirect sense ;-)). Instead of writing tickets, making phone calls or sending mails, you could pack the entire process into the simple push of a button. And you can push that button the moment you see that the need is there: the paper’s run out. Click! Ordered! Simplicity rules – one of the maxims of the digital revolution. And when processes are automated, costs go down.

Of course, the thing will only work where there is continuous demand for a large amount of a particular consumable, as the cost driver is obviously not to be found in a simple device that can be easily integrated into the company’s network via WiFi, but in integrating the orders generated by the device into the existing ordering process, administering rights, etc. But let’s put that to the back of our minds for the moment. The digital transformers in the workplace should take a good look at the dash button option. What would you like to have a dash button for?

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