Household Resource Planning Anyone?
Amazon have fairly recently introduced a Dash Button to their ever expanding product and service range.
A little button you can fix to any physical location, you simply press it when you are running low on a particular household item and it reorders the product from Amazon. The Dash Button is limited to certain household products which fit within the “long life” kitchen and bathroom range (think Andrex toilet roll, Ariel soap powder, Gillette shaving foam, Whiskas Cat Food and so forth).
It’s an interesting concept but, as far as automation goes, it falls far short of current business technology.
It’s dubious whether this small piece of automation will take off.
To begin with, the products are far too specific. How many people are so wedded to these brands as to go to the effort of purchasing a button? Everyone loves the idea of menial tasks like shopping becoming obsolete but the effort required to set them up and then figure out how best to use them is surely more than a trip to your local store. I mean just consider the complexity behind the “optimal button press” equation:
Where 3 = number of available toilet rolls, x= day you press the button, d = estimated delivery time.
Convenience will always win out in the end. But it has to be smart convenience which actually adds value to the consumer.
Getting to the Hearth of the Matter
Households are definitely moving towards a more automated way of working. Adults are time poor and looking for ways to run their household more conveniently. Online grocery shopping signalled the end of having to leave your house to get your weekly shop or top up. The Amazon Dash Button is the next (somewhat slippery) step towards fully automated Household Resource Planning.
Of course, none of this is new to the business world who have been using Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP) to automate the mundane for a number of years.
The Amazon Dash Button is the ERP equivalent of Demand Planning.
Demand Planning enables purchasing and inventory managers to determine the demand projection of items in the coming months based on historical data and trends or sales forecast information. It delivers insights to allow managers to plan inventory accordingly.
The proper Demand Planning equivalent for your household would be for your Dash Button to work out the average number of sheets of toilet paper used per visit to the toilet, take into account seasonal variations like 2 weeks out the house during Summer, and the annual bout of Norovirus, and predict increased usage when your granny comes to stay at Christmas.
Running a household has complexities similar to that of running a business. Banks, schools, GPs, shopping, tax, bills – it’s as complex as running a business.
Running My House Like a Business
Running a household can be as complex as running a business. Consider all the various interactions you have on a daily basis with banks, schools, GPs, suppliers, maintenance…
The business equivalent already exists in ERP. Here’s how that software technology could be applied in my household to give me a Household Resource Planning (HRP) equivalent:
- Online payments to schools and service providers
- Automatic reminders for invoices to pay – anything from topping up school meals to paying for Scout trips electronically and on time
- Mortgage and loan repayment details
- Reminders to events like parent’s night and teacher meetings
- Two way communication and feedback
- Checking up on my kids results and performance
- Task management for dress down days and charity collections
- Preferred suppliers lists anything from grocery shopping to plumbers and dentists
- Stock level management
- Automatic reordering
- Event scheduling (arranging for washing machine repair guy to come out on day off)
- Contract Management:
- Mobile phones
- Car servicing
- Insurance renewal
- Subscriptions – everything from Kindle Unlimited to Xbox Gold (we live our life off subscriptions these days)
- Document Archives:
- User manuals,
- Academic and Insurance certificates,
- pay slips and health records
- Reporting and Analytics
- Spend analysis
- Consumption patterns
- Overdue payments
Now that’s a system which puts the Amazon Dash Button to shame.
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Written by Emma Stewart- Sales & Marketing Director at Cofficient.
Cofficient provision smart ERP software to growing businesses. To talk to someone about how NetSuite or SAP ByDesign can help your business, get in touch