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  • Mike Shields

When Complexity is Free

Free Complexity – How can that be? Thomas Friedman had a great article in the Sunday (September 15, 2013) issue of the New York Times “When Complexity is Free”. His central point was that innovation and automation have dramatically reduced the historical cycle time and complexity of new product development; therefore, allowing the companies who have mastered the new model to dominate their competitors.

Necessary vs. Unnecessary Complexity – Make sure you know the difference. It’s well accepted that the world of business has become increasingly complex. This is especially true in the specialized and technical product market space – where product differentiation is essential to winning market share and customer loyalty. The more technical and specialized products introduce an inherent level of complexity in comparison to their fully pre-designed and standardized counterparts.

Let’s assume that you have already eliminated ‘unnecessary complexity’ at your firm – the waste in productivity, cycle time, errors, management knowledge and lost sales due to weak processes have all been eliminated (This is a big assumption, but there are many companies that have done it). The remaining complexity is ‘necessary complexity’ in the sense that it adds value by delivering a specialized solution to a specific market; thus, fulfilling distinct customer needs. What makes it necessarily complex is that you have to capture definitive needs, align them with your product base, translate them into a ‘clean orders’ and produce an exact outcome in a timely manner. This is far more complex than making and shipping a fully pre designed, commercialized product. Hence, products with unpredictable volume makes advance designs and commercialization nearly impossible, the process of differentiating without unnecessary complexity is the key to market dominance and profitable performance.

Simplify. Since starting in the simplification business for complex commerce in 1999, we’ve tracked dozens of market leaders as they ‘simplify’ and eliminate complexity without losing the advantages of differentiated product solutions. It is now not only possible, but increasingly more necessary to deliver specialized products with the same efficiencies as standardized products. Simplification of your demand creation engine will eliminate the historical drag on performance and speed. You’ll realize the full advantages of differentiation – higher value- added, price leverage, and competitive advantage. The best news is that the cost and time to make the transition have dropped dramatically due to advances in technology and commerce practices. That’s how we can say that in complex commerce, “Complexity is FREE”

You can learn more about eLogic and how we provide simplified solution and eliminate complexity at:

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