Valérie Ferland, Deputy General Manager of the Milton Cider House, a family business based in Sainte-Cécile-de-Milton (Photo: courtesy)
DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION. Instead of delegating the task to a consultant, business leaders choose to take responsibility for their digital transformation by following training courses on the subject themselves. Testimony of two entrepreneurs who made a strategic plan or selected technological solutions within the “sectoral” training program.
Focus on e-commerce
A former economic development commissioner who has become an entrepreneur, Hélène Lavoie is not someone who works part-time. Since December, co-founder of Laval manufacturer and micro roaster Fincafé estimates she has listened to more than a hundred hours of capsules and webinars on digital marketing and sales. Selected in the first cohort of the Mon commerce en ligne program launched by the Québécoise des Technology Association last October, the entrepreneur decided to make the most of her experience.
The program offers bankers 14 hours of coaching as well as “asynchronous” training, with the goal of helping them “increase sales, develop new markets and optimize their business thanks to digital technology.” Meeting alternately with a coach while developing a business and a digital strategy specialist, Hélène Lavoie had two goals: to choose an online store platform to sell her “microlot” coffee, but also to understand the overall impact e-commerce will have on running his business.
“The training made me see the connection between a virtual store and a real company,” she explains. When choosing a product code for a coffee bag in an e-shop, the same code is found in the accounting system, in the inventory management system, and then on the physical label of the coffee bag in the warehouse. Everything is connected. There has to be a consistency between what we show online and what we have in stock, ”she illustrates.
The co-founder of Fincafé wanted to understand the basic principles of e-commerce before involving external actors in the process. “If we had entrusted the mandate directly to the agency, I believe that it would take me longer to be convinced of the need to change our accounting system. [pour QuickBook, afin de le connecter à la boutique en ligne] or take photos of the products you want to sell online. »
Associated with her adventurous coffee maker, Hélène Lavoie says she wants to build a “sustainable” business, “long-term thinking”, “that will be there for [ses] kids”. Therefore, understanding the digital environment that the retail of the future is heading towards makes sense. That’s why she decided to “do her homework well”.
Affirm intuition to sustain your operations
When the Milton Cider House decided to follow the Passeport Go TR4NSF.0 training created by the Mouvement québécois de la qualité (MQQ), it wanted to “sustain” its operations. “With our multiple calculations made in Excel files, we sometimes felt like we were playing a voodoo dance in hopes that our sales predictions were good,” jokes Valérie Ferland, deputy general manager of the Sainte-Cécile-de-Milton-based family business.
Joining the pilot version of the MQQ program, Valérie Ferland and her colleague, Production Coordinator Patricia Petit, used ten hours of mentoring support to redefine their strategic plan and learn how to map their business processes.
By the nature of its business, the Milton Cider House faces significant planning challenges. As an agricultural business that grows and processes apples used to produce cider – cider that it then sells and distributes itself – the cider house must ensure that the July harvest meets the demand for cider next year.
“We decided to replace Excel files with an operating module,” explains Valérie Ferland. Repeating the strategic plan with the help of a mentor allowed us to confirm this intuition. “The training followed by Patricia Petite on cartography then helped the company to explain in words what the module will have to do, and that is to centralize sales and production planning, inventory management and distribution circles. “We are now in a position to clearly explain our needs to the suppliers we will meet to procure the platform,” said the production coordinator.
Knowing how to name your needs is already half the job!