We started Miller Environmental Transfer two years ago with the goals of helping companies see the value in reducing waste, recycling byproducts and delivering less materials to landfills. Our core business model was and is based on the concept of “diversification”. While it is socially responsible (consumers are paying attention) and financially beneficial (companies are beginning to understand this) to recycle, reduce and reuse….our clients are actually attracting new consumers. This is happening because they are diversifying from the old way of doing business.
It’s been our observation, in our business and in others, that just because something is working now, does not mean it will for the long-haul. If you want longevity, you must diversify. Take the case of Intel’s recent layoff of 11% of their workforce. (12,000 employees). Known for their microprocessors, a technology that propelled the digital revolution, Intel continued to do what they had always done without acknowledging the move away from personal computers to phones and cloud computing. By not diversifying, their business model ceased to thrive and they are now trying to recover by creating new, relevant products. Conversely, Apple saw the shift coming and even cannibalized their own product line to meet the demands of the consumer.
A smaller, but highly innovative example took place in eastern Kentucky where more than 10,000 coal miners have lost their jobs since 2008 and most have had to leave their homes in order to find work. Enter Rusty Justice, who runs an engineering and excavation company which relies on coal for most of its business. A few years ago he realized he was going to have to diversify and decided to tap into the region’s workforce of unemployed coal miners to teach them new skills.
“The realization I had was that the coal miner, although we think of him as a person who gets dirty and works with his hands, really coal mines today are very sophisticated, and they use a lot of technology, a lot of robotics”.
Justice and his partners created Bit Source, a year-old tech start up in Pikeville, Kentucky. They provided 22 weeks of company training and now have nine former coal industry workers writing code. Bit Source manager, John Handshoe states:
“We’re not shipping coal out of here anymore; we’re shipping code. The broadband’s our highway, our shipping lanes, our trains.”
As a result of diversification, local leaders in this part of the country are seeing this project as a pivotal example of workforce innovation. Rather than focusing on one large industry, they are focusing on smaller industries and new ways of doing business.
The lessons here are confirmation that diversifying now will prevent having to completely restructure businesses later by listening to what consumers are saying they want and need. It also supports the theory that as business owners, even if our business model is currently “working”, we need to be diligent about not staying stuck in one way of thinking or doing things.
The key to diversification is the willingness to embrace a forward thinking way of doing business. If you are ready to get started today, contact MET today to see how your company can embrace new opportunities and innovations in your recycling and supply chain.