Digital technology has underpinned and accelerated the development of business ecosystems in recent years. With digitalization, new business models arise by integrating people, businesses, and things. It also drives a rapid pace of change, particularly in many family businesses where previously long-term stewardship of the company over the generations has been the norm. However, digitalizing a family business is not always easy. For William Sunito, it took almost two years to expand Toko Wahab, from just a traditional baking ingredients wholesaler into a business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce platform.
“When I first joined Toko Wahab in 2015, our parents still had a major role in the business. It was quite difficult for me to help my parents to adapt to technology, not to mention our ageing workforce,” says William, CEO and founder of TokoWahab.com.
William is the third generation of Toko Wahab. After graduating from the University of Washington in 2015, William realized Toko Wahab required some improvements here and there. His first move was applying an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and integrated accounting software for the back office, which covers almost all accounting processes from invoicing and accounting to shipping. While digital awareness among next-generation family business leaders is high, others may not be as conscious of the opportunities that digital technologies can bring.
“When I first raised the issue, my parents thought I was too ambitious,” says William. He hired new staff, all aged below 30, and taught them the new systems and started the transition process with the new team.
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