I came across an article on Forbes last week about the Hubble Space Telescope and how some of the best things we’ve learned were complete surprises. It got me to thinking about the beauty of Unexpected Benefits.
The world is full of these unplanned surprises. We see them sometimes in drug benefits (Can you imagine the surprise of the first guy to take the cardiovascular drug that we now know as Viagra®?)
There are also those little things called Post-It® Notes that evolved from a failed effort to create a strong adhesive. Heck, a benefit to my teenage daughter never being separated from the phone that I bought for her is that I could use it to locate her at any given time. Not that I would….
Sometimes the surprise isn’t a big deal – it’s just a nice bonus (like finding a $20 bill in your winter coat at the beginning of Fall). But sometimes, it can be huge. Just ask the folks at NASA, Pfizer or 3M.
When you invest in something, you expect a certain positive value or return to come from that investment. Ideally, you’ll start seeing that value fairly quickly too.
In our line of work, we create software solutions to solve specific problems – typically around data. Our customers are like most of us – wanting to get every possible benefit out of each dollar spent. Naturally, we love being able to demonstrate the Unexpected Benefits that come from our solutions too.
Our Unexpected Benefits
Clients usually invest in our assetsPLUS solutions to ensure that the asset data that they gather and report to their financial systems is timely and accurate. But there are definitely other benefits too:
Hardware – the mobile devices, tablets, laptops that are used in our solutions are easily (and frequently) used for other applications too. Hardware can be expensive – it never hurts to reap additional benefits.
Data – While we might have been brought in to improve data in Financial Reports, the data that we gather is frequently used for a number of different reports and tasks. Knowing what you have, where you have it and in what condition is required for Financials, of course. But your Operations Managers, IT Managers, etc. (you know, the actual users of the assets) can really use some accurate inventory for their own reporting/budgeting/use purposes too.
Time – In my experience, any task that can be done more quickly and easily is definitely a winner – and one that makes me happy (or at least happier). If you can free up some time for your staff by providing them with automated tools, you can not only make a little bit more room on their calendars – but you’ll likely make them happier too.
Look for the Bonus
The key is to look at your solutions (or in the case of 3M, your failures) from all angles. There may be more return on what you’ve already invested in than you realized.
Are you getting the most out of your solutions? If you’re not sure where to start looking, we can help. Let’s talk.
Wes Haubein is the President of HL Group, Inc., a premier provider of mobile asset inventory management and warehouse solutions. He writes regularly about management, solution integration and technology.