Digital technologies have broken down the barriers to innovation and enabled businesses of all shapes and sizes to reinvent themselves. For just a fraction of what it would cost without these tech tools, SMEs are now developing new products and services, accessing new markets, and finding new customers at a pace that would not have been possible previously.
This has been the case for many businesses over the past few years, in particular responding to and navigating the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. The wave of digital-led innovation explains how and why businesses have not just survived but thrived during and since COVID-19.
Automated self-service vending machine provider, Livewell, is a company that embraced both product and process innovation at every stage to navigate through COVID-19 and the disruption it caused. As a business providing refreshment solutions to schools, offices, healthcare, hospitality, and leisure facilities, Livewell had to rethink its whole operation when the pandemic struck. Fortunately, the company’s continual investment in technology and innovation meant that routes to market remained open. It has become well positioned to expand and take advantage of new opportunities.
Livewell was founded in 2006 around the same time as Jamie Oliver’s School Dinners campaign, which sought to improve the quality and nutritional value of meals at a typical British school. Following their success with drinks in schools across the North of England, Livewell decided to diversify their product offering and tap into new markets. Technology has played a leading role in enabling this, as has the support the company received from the Digital Enterprise programme.
Through two cycles of grant funding and expert advice, Livewell has implemented a new telemetry system to get remote access to sales and performance information and contactless payment infrastructure to meet growing demand for cashless transactions across its vending estate.
Livewell Director, Aaron Prout, says: “In terms of the Digital Enterprise grant, we’ve also been able to bring in a vending management system that helps us manage our stock levels and sales performance and shift to contactless payments.”
Aaron has also learned that digital transformation is simply a must for any business that wants to be competitive in the future. He says:
“Automation is here to stay, and the way customers and consumers are engaging with suppliers means that meeting their requirements is much more digitally driven. Based on our experience, without embracing digital transformation, it’s a huge risk that you remain relevant and competitive from a cost perspective. Unless you’re growing, you’re going backwards. You can’t afford to stand still.”
The Livewell case study was first featured in the Digital Enterprise Digital Transformation Directory – access the directory here to read the interview in full.
Livewell received support from Digital Enterprise 2.0. The programme was part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and closed on 30 June 2023.
Digital Enterprise 3.0 began on 1st July 2023 and is funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
If you have a question about how our team and the Digital Enterprise Business Support Programme can help your business email us on email@example.com.