Information Technology: 2016 Trends and the Impact on the Plastics Industry

January 20, 2016 • Posted in Market Insights

As the Gold Standard in Plastics, M. Holland prides itself on its ability to provide customers and suppliers with a positive experience.  A significant part of that experience is M. Holland’s innovative approach to technology.  With the recent launch of MH2GO, a tablet-based sales and relationship management tool, and the forthcoming M. Holland mobile app, the organization has taken large steps in making technology an integral part of its overall strategy.

Holland Director of Information Technology Neil Goodrich was recently a panelist in Technology Executives Club’s 2016 Strategies Roundtable. The roundtable, sponsored by IT consulting firm Gartner, Inc., highlighted several strategic technology trends According to Neil, several of the trends will be applicable to the plastics industry.

Top IT Trends Impacting Plastics Industry

The first two trends, Device Mesh and the Ambient User Experience, go together, in Neil’s perspective.

“The idea of a Device Mesh is that we are using many different devices to access the same information.  You can check your e-mail from a web browser on your tablet, from your desktop and from your phone and even your watch.  All of those devices are hitting the same data.  As the number and types of devices grow, it’s imperative that we understand the second trend, which is what Gartner calls the Ambient User Experience.”

According to Gartner, the concept of the Ambient User Experience involves the preservation of continuity across boundaries of device mesh, time and space. The experience seamlessly flows across a shifting set of devices and interaction channels, blending physical, virtual and electronic environments as the user moves from one place to another.

M. Holland Introduces MH2GO App to Improve Customer Service

“The new way of thinking about user experience is not at the platform or application level but the activity level.  With MH2GO, for example, we moved across four platforms of information and functionality in order to create the experience,” Neil commented.    “You have to understand what the user is going through—physically and spatially—because the technology needs to account for that.”    Launched in June, MH2GO allows account managers and product managers to have functionality and information when interfacing with customers and suppliers.

“We were forced to ask the questions…so you’ve accomplished something, what’s the next thing you would want to do to ensure that we are not designing individual features but a series of features that flow into one another and make an entire activity feel complete; so the activity results in a great experience regardless of how many platforms or steps it takes.”

How M. Holland Uses Technology in All Areas of Plastic Distribution

Neil joined M. Holland in 2013 and admits making technological changes can be a challenge.  But he realizes that he is lucky because the M. Holland leadership team is open to hearing the ideas he and the IT team want to bring forward.

“Technology is sneaky.  Often when you present technology as technology, it seems complicated.  I think there’s been a big change in the way that technology teams talk to the business.  We aren’t talking about just technology any longer.  We are talking about business challenges and describing the experience we are proposing.  We’re talking about the kinds of options and flexibility we could provide.”

A lot of M. Holland’s recent success has been due to a change in approach.

“Often times you find yourselves trying to resolve issues that aren’t even technical in nature.  By taking a single piece of data and making it easily accessible to account managers inside MH2GO we’ve ensured the conversations with our suppliers, customers and other colleagues are proactive and collaborative.”

Throughout 2016, M. Holland plans to take risks, experiment and explore.  According to Neil, “that’s how innovation happens.”

M. Holland will be demonstrating MH2GO at the upcoming MD&M West Conference in Anaheim, California.  For more information stop by booth 3906, February 9-11.

If you would like to learn more about M. Holland and the plastic resin solutions we provide, submit a form and an M. Holland representative will follow-up with you.

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