When the COVID-19 pandemic sent scores of office employees to build new offices in their homes, Milwaukee-based National Business Furniture needed to quickly adapt its business model, its showroom, its inventory, and its online catalog to accommodate the changing needs of the workforce in the new normal.
Newly appointed President Marcelo Podesta did not flinch. The Argentina native executed a digital transformation that is creating a year of record sales and growth for his company.
NBF has grown to have operations in 23 countries and has expanded to 250 employees.
The company’s digital transformation was calculated, deliberate, and intentional. In this column, he shares seven keys to executing a successful corporate digital transformation.
- Identify and define your customer’s centricity. “For us, it was about understanding how people are now buying their furniture. You have to meet your customers where they are,” Podesta says.
- Assemble a world-class team and put people in right roles to help them succeed. “We’re getting this done with ‘group think.’ We have some diversity of viewpoints. It helps us take a 360-degree view of our operation. It has helped us find another gear,” Podesta says.
- Adapt a flexible model to serve your customers. “We created strategies to serve different verticals, ultimately offering in the right product channels and price points,” Podesta says.
- Elevate your level of customer service. “We are taking a modern approach to e-commerce. Invest in your capabilities to flourish. Perfect your ecosystem and touchpoints with your customers,” Podesta says.
- Focus on core competencies. “Don’t be distracted. We outsource peripheral aspects of our business. We access top-caliber talent and experts on demand outside our building,” Podesta says.
- Establish a winning culture in your building. “If you’re going to fail, fail quick and fast and move on. It’s OK to fall on our face. If you have trust in your team, you pick yourself up and try something differently and move on. That’s how your become fast,” Podesta says.
- Invest in scalability. “Invest in talent, process and IT tools to build the infrastructure you need for growth,” Podesta says.
Name: Marcelo Podesta
Company: National Business Furniture/TAKKT Group
Home Office: Milwaukee
Family: Wife, Fabiana, and three daughters
Education: Master’s degree in business administration from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College
Favorite Leisure Activities: Snowboarding, skiing and motorcycling
Favorite Book: “The 4” by Scott Galloway
Favorite Musical Artist: The Strokes
Best Advice Ever Received: “Surround yourself with smarter people than yourself and always do the right thing.”
Written by Steve Jagler.
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