Opportunities For Digital Innovation In Manufacturing

Sarma Malladi

Part 2 in the 4-part series “Opportunities for Digital Manufacturing

Digital transformation, as defined by Gartner and SAP, refers to the adoption of new technology along with the requisite realignment of business models and processes. Firms undertake such change to drive new value for customers and to distinguish themselves within their industry. It could also be defined as wrapping digital services around physical products and services to create entirely new markets.

Though businesses have long recognized the value of adopting technologies to drive value, the scope of opportunities to do so has increased dramatically in recent years. Major technological advancements accelerating this growth are:

  • Hyperconnectivity: Internet and wireless have become ubiquitous, allowing connectivity of billions of static and mobile devices. The remarkable growth in connectivity obviously transformed innumerable traditional processes. Paradigms will continue to change as more devices become intelligent.
  • Supercomputing power: Remarkable improvements in processing speed are now making it possible to digitize, harvest, and analyze an incredible amount of information in real time. Such data is providing novel insights and positioning organizations to make more informed decisions faster.
  • The Internet of Things: Sensor technology has become affordable enough to allow internetworking of physical devices. This is blurring the line between physical and virtual.
  • Enterprise mobility: With estimates(1) that almost half of the world’s population will be equipped with a smartphone, this has become the touch point where the most customer engagement is happening. Mobile technology must be at the forefront of the customer’s digital experience.

Customer intelligence

Complex distribution channels often leave gaps in customer intelligence. Unfortunately, this also means that most manufacturers and companies that are heavily reliant on distributors have little knowledge of where their products went and how they are being used once the product leaves their inventory. These companies will certainly hear from their end customers when there are quality issues with the products they have made.

Not only are there additional costs in fixing the quality issues, but these errors could cause customer attrition and loss of revenue when such quality issues result in producing scrap and causing interruption to their customer production lines. This problem is further accentuated for companies with a commoditized portfolio of products.

For years, business executives have shared with me the importance of knowing their end customer and understanding how products are used. Such intelligence can be ultimately used to solve problems and provide answers to key questions that businesses are trying to solve. Cost-effective technologies can now enable these companies to partner with their customers, stay connected, and collect and interpret vast amount of data in real time.

Organizations can use insights from consumer data analysis to predict product quality, act proactively in taking necessary measures for quality correction, and accelerate product development and launch. It’s an opportunity to deliver a rich customer experience and increased value. But more important, the connectivity and view into the customer ecosystem provide additional business opportunities that were not possible before.

My next blog will explore the potential of offering enhanced services.

Read Part 1 of this series: Digital Transformation Opportunities In Manufacturing.

Source: https://www.radicati.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Mobile-Growth-Forecast-2016-2020-Executive-Summary.pdf

Sarma Malladi

About Sarma Malladi

Sarma Malladi is an IT executive, working as a CIO for the past several years. He is passionate about leveraging technologies to build strategic business value. Much of his industry experience has been in manufacturing, field services, and consulting. All opinions expressed in this blog are his own and do not reflect the views of the current and or previous companies he has worked for.