In recent years and months, the term “disruption” has repeatedly been circulating in the media. Disruptive technologies change everything. The blame lies with the digital transformation, which is turning business models and processes upside down and thus confronting established companies with major challenges. New players are entering the market and outshining familiar business models. Those who don’t follow now will perish in the competition, at least that’s what many lectures and articles say. The fact that disruption can be translated as shock or collapse makes it clear that an existing system is being turned upside down.
However, the term is not synonymous with innovation. Innovation is an idea, an invention or a transfer from other industries, whereby a process, a product, a company or an entire industry is optimized. A normal innovation is therefore merely a further development. A disruptive innovation has the potential to partially or completely replace established products, companies and entire markets. A simple example is the vinyl record, which was replaced by the cassette, which in turn was replaced by the CD. This was followed by the big breakthrough of MP3, and today customers are turning to music streaming via mobile devices.
It remains to be seen which innovations and technologies will turn our current markets, products and companies upside down. Disruption is fundamentally difficult to predict. It depends on the assertiveness of technology and also crucially on customers. New technologies first have to prove themselves in practice, and customers have to accept the new thing for themselves and see a clear added value or relief.
However, disruptive changes are predicted by the approaching Platform Economy, the use of blockchain technology and artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things and Values. The resulting Digital Business Models and advancing digitalization will fundamentally change logistics and supply chain management, and thus the entire industry.