The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.

The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.

This one thing that we chose not to do seemed crazy but had a ridiculous payoff for us at Peoplevox.

We stopped doing On-site implementation and went 100% remote implementation. This sounds normal now but in 2014 it did not!

When we started doing WMS we sold it on-premise and we were required to go on-site to implement to install the code on the server and set up the mobile handheld devices. These were an absolute killer to configure and get working on the WiFi.

Then at some point around 2014, we started developing an Android mobile app and mobile device makers like Motorola started to adopt Android. This was a significant shift for us in terms of speed of development because we could move away from c# for the mobile app and also ease of use. We'd talked about the ease of use a lot - being able to design a mobile app the picker didn't need to look at was the aim. Android made the steps configurable and we could put the cursor in the right spots to make this happen.

Around this time we were mostly competing with the old guard of Red Prairie and Manhattan, what I'd call the traditional Tier WMS providers, ERP extensions or modules and Snapfulfil as SaaS WMS that marketed itself with SaaS as the differentiator. Because WMS is so critical to a business it took a long time for it to become the norm and many WMS are still on-premise. (Ask your 3PL!)

The decision we'd made which was different from what had been done by these generic WMS was to focus on Ecommerce. This made SaaS more acceptable because they had other software in the cloud but the thing we did next was still pretty wild.

We were growing OK but we couldn't deliver projects fast enough. We'd turn up on-site and clients wouldn't be ready. The knowledge sat in a few people's heads and service was inconsistent. We couldn't record meetings so knowledge wasn't being passed around to new hires.

I remember Jonathan Bellwood telling Jeremy Steer that he wanted to flip the whole thing overnight. Even deals I'd sold as onsite implementation were to be done remotely.

WTF?! They're going to hate this. We will lose deals. Snapfulfil is going to be laughing at us!

Then David Jou the Founder of Pomelo fashion a 1.5-year-old fashion startup contacted us. Because we'd focused on ecommerce we had good references. 8 weeks later they were live...they didn't even need us to go live which frankly seemed bizarre.

What we found was that eliminating onsite implementation gave us an implementation team who didn't spend a minute travelling. Clients didn't need to spend any money on travel and expenses. Our tech team had to build software that didn't need someone onsite to sort it out. Our capacity was increased. We can start your project next week!

Rolling forward, that remote implementation model enabled us to build a business in Australia off the back of Wez Bryett backing us for their warehouse!

What could you remove?

- Thanks, Oliver

Oliver Rhodes

Oliver Rhodes