Is Small the New Big?


As global change and interesting rebellions fill the news we can’t escape the fact that common sense is no longer common. Established and new democracies are in upheaval globally.

  • Brexit – UK voted to leave Europe never believing it would happen. Shock horror, it did, causing gloom and doom, how could this happen?
  • Trump for President – he wins on long odds then cries foul and complains because Hilary didn’t get in?
  • In South Africa we have the fees must fall campaign, a bouncing currency, and political leaders approving dubious trips to Dubai. Instead of leading change, the party faithful vote for the same fearless leaders, choosing to save face rather than serving a nation.

Yes, these are all democracies in flux.

What’s missing? Perhaps there is a good principal but a flawed execution with too many citizens who don’t vote, believing they can’t make a difference. But no-votes help shape the future too. The small and big guy’s vote counts the same but with more small guys voting, “small” can also drive and shape a democracy.

Is small more focused?

It follows that in business and economies, small too, is often more motivated, more effective and closer to the ground with a customer service focus. Competitive cost or cash flow pressures make manager-owners protective of their own cash. Big may have economies of scale and be more concerned about shareholders, but big can often be so internally focused that it can be removed from a customer’s preferred reality and experience.

Our customers are often the smaller guys who experience maximum value from applying ERP and use IT the same as the blue chip guys, yet often more efficiently.

These SYSPRO customers use ERP for visibility, enabling innovative process, people and technology transformation in a lean and more cost effective way, making a winning culture look simple. To quote Eli Goldratt “necessary but not sufficient” means good enough replaces best-possible as a target.

When will we realize:

  • How big small or smaller really is?
  • That human/business nature subscribes to “big is better” because they make the rules and become the supply chain champion but too often leading to taking, instead of sharing, the gains
  • Small has to make margin by being as smart as available time and resources allow. Small has to be agile, innovative, do more for less and continuously deliver on customer excellence just to stay in the game
  • Big training budgets create professionally rounded staff moving the eager to higher levels of expectation. Smaller employs the needy (maybe less expensive with less expectations) who become street wise, passionately customer focused, efficient and competitive, because if not they won’t work for long. The small guys breed and grow a better, faster kind of success and entrepreneurship. And they do it cost effectively as well.

Maybe the best of both worlds is working together, growing our economies and creating a tsunami of starter jobs.

Is fueling future innovations what we need? Of course it is. But I love learning from the street fighters themselves, namely some of our SYSPRO customers.

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