The New Year is upon us! It feels like only yesterday that the team at Canon Singapore celebrated the arrival of 2016. Time flies when you are working hard.
As the year draws to a close, it is important to look ahead. Businesses, especially, have to be aware of upcoming trends — good or bad — and adapt our strategies accordingly. Like it or not, being so connected to the regional and global economies, Singapore is susceptible to outside influences. What happens beyond our borders will inevitably impact us.
This is why our upcoming Think Big Leadership Series event will cover both upcoming commercial trends in 2017, as well as how business must adapt to keep up with the times. In the meantime, I want to share some of my own observations, as well as how we, as a community, can work together in the year ahead.a
Everything is connected to the internet — and I mean everything! The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a trend not just in the business world, but in the consumer world too. IoT has the potential to disrupt just about everything. However, instead of seeing it as an insurmountable challenge, we must see it as an opportunity to innovate.
Today, our very-own printers are already hooked up to the internet, but I think there is room for growth in this area. In an increasingly connected world, no office device must be left behind. Even in our everyday operations, if there are IoT-enable devices that may help us to work better and smarter, then it is an avenue worth exploring — in order to stay ahead of our competitors.
Millennials have a somewhat negative reputation, in no small part due to how they are sometimes portrayed in the media. In Asia, they are often referred to as the ‘strawberry generation’, because they, unlike their parents’ generation, supposedly cannot withstand hardships and social pressures.
However, every generation usually has something to say about the generation that follows them. I believe that Millennials simply work in a different way from the rest of us, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. For a large corporation like Canon, fresh ideas are especially important to keep us moving forward. Instead of viewing Millennials as voices of dissonance, we should embrace them and see how they can contribute. I believe that taking everyone’s inputs into consideration and building social resilience within the company is one of the best ways to retain talent and keep staff attrition low in the long run. This cuts across everybody, no matter which generation you belong to.
In my last entry, I wrote about the benefits of automation in business — and, don’t get me wrong, I still stand by that. However, at the end of the day, automating work processes cannot take away the fact that the human touch is important as well. While we investigate the possibilities of workflow automation, we must always remember that Canon is still a company that centres around people, and building meaningful relationships and connections with our staff and customers is equally, if not more important.
I do have many positive interactions with Millennials. Experts will tell you that Millennials, being well educated, tend to gravitate towards businesses that not only do well, but also contribute to the good of the community. A socially responsible and committed organisation is a key consideration for many of them.
It is why, for the future of this generation, that sustainability, arguably more than anything else, should continue to be the focus for business. Be it the materials you use to manufacture your products or the services you provide, the community at large should always be the chief consideration. Sustainability, after all, is a climate-proof topic. No matter what the economic outlook, sustainability should always be a priority.
What does the future hold for Canon Singapore? Here’s a preview: I am excited for the introduction of brand new products, as well as several ICV-approved Document Management solutions for SMEs. Also, the logistics and legal industries are areas we are keenly interested to introduce new solutions in 2017.
With that said, we want to advance with caution. Considering the economic outlook, we don’t want to over-extend ourselves. That is why 2017 will be a year of consolidation — at least for the first six months. There will be planned structural changes that, I believe, will better engage the market, especially in the attraction of new Canon customers.
We have plans to train and upgrade our team members in preparation for the challenging times ahead. That way, we can all be ready to charge ahead when things make a turn for the better.
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