Business Operations: Can you enter the same river twice?

Written by Pieter Coetzer

On Oct 29, 2019

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he’s not the same man” – Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher.

I came upon this saying of Heraclitus soon after graduating from university. At that stage of my life I knew that I knew a lot more than everybody else (or so I thought). And this saying of Heraclitus made no sense to me.

Of course you can step into the same river twice. The river is still there, the flow has not changed and nor has the name changed. So how can you not step into the same river twice I asked myself? And of course, there was no answer to the question.

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As my corporate career advanced, along with the greying of my hair, the saying started to make sense to me. It dawned on me that the only certainty that there is in life and in business is change. Nothing stays the same forever. Change is the only constant.

If I step into the river, it is only a small part of the river that is being disturbed. Some of the riverbed might have shifted. When I step out, I will take some water with me. Stepping in again means I am older, not younger.

In the bigger scheme of things some fish might have died. Some eggs of some water-based species might have hatched. A farmer might have diverted some of the water for irrigation. Rain might have fallen. The river could have been cleaned of debris and pollution. It is no longer the same river and it is no longer the same person.

This illustrates how change will happen. Change will happen everywhere, everyday of our lives. It will most definitely happen in business. We are in the midst of the 4th Industrial Revolution. The revolution is happening and change is inevitable. The old ways have come to pass and must make way for new methods and practices.

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Those businesses that are embracing the 4th Industrial Revolution are the businesses that will survive and flourish. The organizations refusing to change and embrace the new ways will in the end not survive. It is of no use to hide your head in the sand – the ostrich attitude – and hope for the best. It is also of no use to think something is working now without the need for change (“why fix it if it isn’t broken?”). There is always room for improvement and the strive for excellence.

The service provider who thinks he can keep on servicing the same customers the same way also holds the believe that the same river can be entered by the same person. That is not the truth, Customers today are more educated and better informed. Yesterdays’ benchmark is no longer valid. The expectations have shifted to a higher degree and if repeat business is to be obtained, change in attitude and process is required. New techniques must be tested and the needs of customers should always be the highest priority.

Service providers need to have an edge over their competitors. They must have that little something extra, something better and something more unique to stand out from the crowd. Customer service is the one item that cannot be neglected. Speedy response to customer needs, keeping word and delivering service excellence should be the highest priority. It is a worthwhile pursuit, but those organizations who stuck to their paper based systems, inefficient tracking systems, manual processes and software systems that are not integrated are the organizations that believes the river stays the same and can be entered without thinking about the consequences.

We at Caracal Software Solutions are not sellers of IT systems. We take a holistic approach to your current situation and recommend cost effective solutions for your enterprise. We believe in our Mobile Workforce Solution. We believe we can drive your overhead costs down, enhance your efficiency and provide you with the cutting edge to be better than your closest rivals.

For more information, drop me an email on 

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