The Fourth Revolution: How to Bring Your Legacy Company into the Digital Revolution


The newest technologies like 5G, IoT devices, AI, and machine learning are “sexy” topics that drive conversation and thought leadership, but for many legacy companies, they’re a moonshot to incorporate into their own businesses. Old technology, old methodology, and the feared “That’s the way we’ve always done it!” are what keep long-time manufacturing businesses perpetually behind the times.

Derran Smith, Vice President of Marketing for Pettibone, LLC, has observed this firsthand and shares his insight on large scale company-wide change for this episode of The Fourth Revolution by Bartell. Pettibone manufactures and markets a wide variety of material handling loaders, mobile site prep equipment, and automated production systems, as well as knobs, handles, custom plastic components, and more.

No one ever said change is easy, and especially when it comes to changing entire products, processes, and even incorporating “robotic personnel” if you will, it’s downright daunting.

“Companies are pouring millions of dollars into digital transformation initiatives, but a high percentage fail to pay off because companies put the cart before the horse focusing on a specific technology,” Smith said.

That’s why Smith advises starting with your most central mission: your overall business strategy.

“Companies need to do the hard work of fitting the change into the overall business strategy first,” he said. “In many cases, a wholesale disruption isn’t necessary. You can respond by looking at your manufacturing processes and your distribution channels. What technology can you purchase today to help you?”

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