The Most Innovative Companies Are The Ones Doing More With Fewer Resources


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This post is sponsored by SAP.


In the last few years, operating budgets at many businesses have been declining, while focus on corporate citizenship has been increasing.

At all organizational levels, directors and shareholders are also calling for better management. That means companies can no longer afford to just take small steps toward saving valuable resources.

Resource optimization is now a key part of any company's core strategy. And it's even critical to the future of business itself.How are companies saving their resources?

Get Your Machines To Talk

The Internet of Things is making it possible for smart vending machines and refrigerators to provide status updates and other business intelligence. Machine-to-machine communication can make devices active participants in the supply chain, rather than passive (or even dormant) assets.


Other smart machines cut energy costs and consumption by turning off lights or the heating and air conditioning when they're not required. They can even irrigate farmland when it's needed, rather than on a schedule.

Try Sharing It Or Making It Yourself

Companies are saving resources by looking across the societal landscape for inspiration. Businesses such as Airbnb allow individuals to put idle resources to work. Zipcar enables more people to share fewer resources and still get maximum value. As leaders in the new sharing economy, both businesses are useful models for other companies.

The maker movement is also a model. It's disrupting big manufacturing by creating dynamic, global cottage industries. Millions of people are setting up workshops in garages and basements. They're combining new technologies such as 3D printers and laser cutters with older, more traditional skills, such as sewing and woodworking, to create and sell custom goods.

Looking at this groundswell movement, some businesses are seeing the potential for using technology to create a global network of small work spaces where products can be designed and manufactured to order, thereby reducing inventory costs and streamlining supply lines.

Resource optimization, like business itself, is ever-changing. Nothing stays the same for long, so companies are constantly challenged to adapt. Yet it's a challenge that every company must meet in order to succeed, and to ensure the future of the business.


- Adapted from a post written by Jim Fields for the SAP Business Innovation blog.

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