Despite the public perception that fax machines are ancient artifacts, there are still a lot of industries that keep the fax machine going.
We're not just talking about using fax machines every now and then. We’re talking about relying on fax machines for business-critical activities like ordering inventory.
Major companies and household name brands in lawn and garden, lumber, restaurants, food service and craft beer are still processing orders manually via a fax machine.
Why is that?
Both Sides are Stuck in the Middle
The first reason that we’re still faxing orders is that neither the supply-side nor the-buy side is truly large enough to have their own proprietary piece of technology or software and say, "You've got to connect to me using this if we’re going to do business."
If I'm a small little independent craft brewer and I'm selling to the LCBO and The Beer Store, or restaurants like Jack Astor's, I'm not going to tell them “You have to connect to my system.” I'm too small to make that work.
On the other side, these bars and restaurants aren’t big enough to say to their craft brewers or food suppliers, "Okay, you have to use our technology."
This is why someone else had to come along and create something where both sides can meet in the middle.
For years, everybody on both sides sat back and just did business with each other the old fashioned way because nobody had the solution. Now, a solution exists and both sides are looking at it and they're saying, "Okay, I get it now."
An Analog System for the Analog Generation
We obviously spend all day talking to businesses about how much time and money a digital solution can save them.
Interestingly enough, we had a supplier tell us:
"I have these sales reps and they're in their 60s. Some of them are in the early 70s. I'm concerned that they're not going to be here in the next five years or so. But, I can't find 30-year-olds that are prepared to be sales reps for my type of product."
Young people are not motivated to move products like the older guys. We’re seeing a real gap there and it’s hard for businesses in every sector to recruit and retain good Millennial-aged sales staff.
Meanwhile, these suppliers know that they have to transition to this type of electronic order management. They know the sales rep of yesteryear is not what the sales rep of tomorrow is going to look like. However, the old guard sales people are the ones who are closing deals.
How Long Will This Go On?
It’s hard to say how long faxes will continue to have a role in today’s workplace. Most people are stunned faxes have lasted this long.
It continues to have a place in the world of ordering and supplies because of the two main reasons we’ve explored today. Neither the supply side nor the buy side was really positioned to introduce their own proprietary game-changer. Meanwhile, the baby boomers that are comfortable with old-school low tech are the ones making sales right now.
There IS a Better Way
There is now a solution that both sides can agree on. It’s also simple to quickly train baby boomer employees how to use the system, particularly when you sell them the benefits of how it will help them close more deals with less effort.
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