The popularity of the sharing economy is rapidly growing. In May this year an article appeared that says that more Australians boost their income through the sharing economy and over 50% of Australians expects to be using sharing platforms by the end of this year. This popularity grows undoubtedly for businesses as well. The NAB (National Australia Bank) estimates that the sharing economy in Australia is currently growing at around 140% per year. With 1 in 5 Australian firms viewing the sharing economy as positive for their business and believing the sharing economy will continue to grow, albeit gradually.
So, there is no doubt that the term “sharing economy” has become a staple in our current society, and due to less available raw materials making more efficient use of what we already have is becoming more important every day. That’s why FLOOW2, the B2B Sharing Marketplace on which organizations can share underutilized capacity, headed for Australia last year. The company started two asset sharing projects in Queensland and Adelaide, together with local partners.
Current status of B2B Sharing Economy
FLOOW2 conducted a research together with their local Australian partners on the willingness of companies and organizations in North Adelaide and Queensland, Australia, to share assets, resources, knowledge and manpower with each other and to change their behaviour from ownership to access.
To obtain an image of the current behaviour of the companies in both areas in relation to the sharing economy and the services of FLOOW2, both quantitative and qualitative research has been done. The results of the research showed that the majority of the companies in Adelaide and Queensland are not familiar with the sharing economy yet. 16 percent of the companies are participating in the sharing economy already, the other 84 percent does not.
The main reasons are that the companies do not have any knowledge about the sharing economy yet. And if they have, they all say that it’s a great idea, but they have no idea how to start sharing assets within their company. The most important factor that would encourage companies to participate in the sharing economy is receiving guidance during the implementation process of sharing assets within their business.
Businesses from every sector see potential for the sharing economy…
85 percent of the questioned companies indicated that they were very interested in Sharing Assets. Companies from every sector showed interest, except the construction sector. The main reason was that the construction sector is sensitive to competition and competitors could benefit from borrowed assets. But, is that a reason for construction companies to ignore it or could there be another solution here? Definitely: just don’t share your unique assets, the assets that distinguish you from competition, but start sharing the “low hanging fruit”: assets that every company has or needs, like a forklift, parking spots, meeting rooms, company cars, etc.
…But trust is paramount
Furthermore, the survey showed that companies most needed guidance and information about the sharing economy, the benefits and sustainability with regard to sharing assets. The wishes that companies had for the services of FLOOW2 were safety guarantee and sharing with well-known companies. That’s were the trust issue comes into play. Companies don’t only need to trust the platform, the service provider, but the company they are sharing with as well. One way to solve this is to change the way we think about ownership. At this moment we are afraid to share our ‘belongings’ with other people or companies, but what if we forget about that the asset is mine and start thinking about that the asset is ours, and that we can all benefit from using or sharing it? Of course this mind shift and trust issue isn’t solved in a night.
Trust is one of the main reasons that FLOOW2 in 2016 decided to expand their services with (private) internal sharing marketplaces for business communities and organizations. On these personalized sharing platforms, colleague-companies or departments and locations within organizations can share all kinds of capacity within their trusted community. After all, it’s less hard to rent or lend out your forklift to a company you know for years, because they would not return it completely damaged, right?!
So in conclusion, the research has shown that companies are willing to share their assets, but on the other hand that the b2b sharing economy is still very unfamiliar to many companies in Australia (Adelaide and Queensland) and that trust is a very important success factor.
If companies are aware of the concept and the financial and sustainable opportunities that the business model could bring their company, then they are all very positive and willing to start sharing assets. But the main question is… how and where to start? And that’s were still a lot of missionary work is needed: changing the behaviour of people and companies from ownership to access.