You may have heard of the possibly apocryphal tale of the Detroit manufacturer of buggy whips early in the twentieth century. Although he heard rumors of a newfangled horseless carriage that some chap called Ford was building down the road, he made no changes to his profitable business. Needless to say, he was soon out of business.
When steel eventually was discovered in the nineteenth century and began to replace cast iron, a vast part of American and British wealth that lay in the many old-fashioned foundries and iron-casting operations was tossed aside as these now obsolete operations were destroyed and replaced with early forms of steel-making furnaces. Then Englishman Henry Bessemer invented the Bessemer converter and made possible the economical manufacture of steel, which quickly replaced cast iron as the building material of choice for bridges and other constructions. All the earlier furnaces were scrapped and replaced with the faster and more efficient system.
Later, the Bessemer converter itself was replaced with the Siemens Open Hearth Furnace, which in turn was replaced in the middle of the twentieth century with the Electric Arc Furnace. Innovation, even in the mature steel industry, is not over. Mini-mills are famously encroaching on larger and less flexible operations many of whom have scrapped their plant and replaced it with several mini-mills.
We all must recognize that change is an inevitable necessity in business. Regardless of exactly how we serve our fellow humans, we need to wake up every weekday morning asking ourselves, “How has my world changed since yesterday? What should I be doing differently today?” In business, we look towards the future. Tomorrow will be different; embrace it.