In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, industries across the board are embracing software solutions to enhance efficiency, productivity, and customer experience. However, the jewelry industry has notably been sluggish in adopting software technologies. Many jewelry companies still rely on Excel sheets and are not putting in sufficient effort to digitize and automate their processes.

jewelry industry

In this blog post, we take a subjective approach and aim to explore the underlying reasons behind the jewelry industry's slow software adoption. Let's dive into it.

Deep-rooted traditional mindset

The jewelry industry has a rich heritage and a deep-rooted traditional mindset that often places a high value on craftsmanship, personal touch, and artisanal techniques above all else. This traditional approach tends to prioritize manual processes, and family businesses are slow to change their old methods. Introducing different machinery, such as CNC, casting, and 3D printing, into the manufacturing process was already a significant step toward increasing efficiency. I like to call this the "hardware evolution."

The next step in this evolutionary process would involve business process management and automation through dedicated software. For business owners with a traditional mindset, perceiving how software can enhance overall company operations and efficiency can be challenging.

However, as the new generation takes over these traditional businesses, we can glimpse a new horizon where the need for "software evolution" and digital transformation becomes more pressing. The demand for digital transformation grows as the new generation assumes control of these traditional businesses.

Limited technological expertise

The jewelry industry primarily consists of small to medium-sized businesses, which often lack the necessary technological expertise to adopt software solutions effectively. Typically, these businesses do not employ an IT person, and the most tech-savvy individual within the company is usually the CAD designer or the marketing manager responsible for the website.

As a result, they have limited exposure to modern software systems, which hinders their ability to integrate technology into their workflows. In our experience at PIRO, we have found that very few workers in the jewelry industry have prior experience using any type of ERP system, whether specific to jewelry or otherwise. This lack of experience becomes problematic, and we will address it in the next point.

Lack of knowledge on how to start

jewelry industryIf software technology is such a foreign concept for these companies, how can they overcome the initial hurdles and implement jewelry software? The problem lies in their lack of knowledge on how to begin.

During our PIRO Fusion demos, we often encounter companies that do not have a specific requirement list in their possession. They acknowledge the issues their company faces (such as lack of tracking, transparency, or efficiency), but they struggle to put these challenges into written form. Many of their processes exist primarily in someone's mind within the company, making it difficult for them to create a diagram or any form of abstract mapping. This is a common human tendency: processes may appear linear in our minds, but in reality, they are often riddled with conditions and subprocesses.

The lack of examples demonstrating how an ERP should be incorporated into a jewelry business exacerbates the problem. However, this gap can be bridged if there is someone within the company who has prior experience with and knowledge of using an ERP system. Additionally, valuable insights can be gained if the company has a legacy system in place or has previously undergone a failed implementation.

The jewelry industry requires more ERP consultants

As we observe, there is a significant knowledge gap where companies lack the understanding of how to navigate their own digital transformation. Consequently, it can be assumed that consultants are capitalizing on this opportunity.

In reality, the jewelry industry faces a scarcity of ERP consultants, and there are several reasons behind this shortage, as we perceive:

  • Many consultants in the jewelry industry primarily focus on the retail sector and online marketing. However, it is the wholesale and manufacturing sectors that are in greater need of ERP solutions due to their more complex back-office processes.
  • The retail market is considerably larger, and consultants often consider the wholesale and manufacturing segments as a niche, primarily serving the B2B market.
  • Being an ERP consultant requires possessing knowledge of multiple systems, mapping a company's unique processes, and selecting the appropriate software for clients in an unbiased manner. This complexity surpasses the mere task of constructing an online marketing strategy.

jewelry industryIn many cases, these small companies make the mistake of hiring web development agencies to assist them in finding suitable software. However, web development and process management automation are vastly different realms. Such agencies possess minimal knowledge of the company's back-office processes, which an ERP system is intended to automate.

To present a more optimistic outlook, we can highlight a notable consultant in the industry, Andrea Hill, who is widely recognized. In her portfolio, she showcases expertise in strategic planning, operations improvement, and a dedication to understanding how jewelry ERP systems function and how companies can benefit from them.

Resistance to change

Companies frequently encounter a lesser-discussed challenge: resistance to change. Introducing an ERP system successfully in any jewelry company requires the full buy-in and support of key staff members. It is crucial for them to understand the reasons behind the need for better control; otherwise, they may perceive it as an obstacle that disrupts their established routines.

Change is not generally embraced by most individuals, except for the innovative and forward-looking few. The majority will question every action and criticize the selected software whenever they get the chance.

During one of my recent demos, I personally witnessed a confrontation between two co-owners. It became evident to me immediately that the deal had fallen apart when one of the owners stated, "Why change something that works?" They were relying on Excel sheets.

Looking for the perfect software - perfection kills innovation

Many companies approach product demonstrations with the initial assumption that their work processes are the industry standard. Therefore, they expect the software to align precisely with their existing methods.

However, during our years in this industry, we have learned the exact opposite. Jewelry companies have developed such unique processes throughout their history that even swapping two manufacturing configurations in PIRO Fusion would result in chaos.

What works for Company A may not work for Company B. Companies require specific configurations tailored to their needs.

For jewelry companies, the perfect software is one that seamlessly integrates with their processes, can be implemented within weeks, and allows for swift importation of current data.

However, in reality, process automation necessitates an extensive mapping of the processes, sometimes even requiring custom development. The requirements must be divided into "must-haves" and "nice-to-haves," and the implementation process can take months.

Those who seek perfection often postpone decision-making for years, setting innovation aside. They don't feel comfortable making a decision until they realize that there is no software on the market that fulfills all the checkpoints on their requirements list.

Whenever I contemplate this behavior, I am reminded of a humorous story from Oren Klaff's book, "Flip the Script":

Have you ever watched a small animal (like a squirrel) approaching something new that might be food? They move closer and closer up to a certain point and then scurry away. Then they approach again getting a little close before once again scarring away. This is the battle between curiosity and anxiety about the unknown.

Final thoughts

The relationship between the jewelry industry and technological innovation can be described as tough love. However, it is important to recognize that, ultimately, innovation will prevail. We cannot accuse the industry of not embracing technology, as evidenced by major innovations such as CAD design and 3D printing that have shaped the industry. While there may be debates surrounding the future of online jewelry sales and lab-grown diamonds, in my personal opinion, innovation will once again come out on top.

This blog post emphasizes the fact that the jewelry industry lacks consultants who could guide them on the path of digital transformation, but this is just one of the factors contributing to the slow adoption of jewelry software. There is a need for more consultants and more examples showcasing how jewelry ERP systems have contributed to the growth of jewelry companies. These companies should have a clear understanding that their efforts will be rewarded and that there is no need to wait for years to make this transformative decision.

At PIRO, our mission is to provide more and more examples of successful digital transformations that can inspire others to elevate their own businesses.