The Brilliance Of Building Smart Products

Robert Merlo

Part 5 in the “Digital Manufacturing Series

Finding a competitive edge isn’t easy. Companies search high and low for fresh ways to differentiate their businesses – to push their organizations over the top with brand-new approaches or innovative technologies.

Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT), many companies have found precisely what they’ve been looking for.

By attaching IoT sensors to their goods, organizations can make their products more intelligent, empowering businesses to stand out from the competition in two major ways.

1. Improving product performance

Smart products allow companies to monitor the condition of their goods in real time. This is especially helpful to organizations that sell their products as a service.

Say, for example, you manufacture air compressors. But instead of selling them outright, you charge customers for the air they use each month and take on the responsibility of maintaining the products.

By building intelligence into your air compressors, you can detect problems the second they arise and anticipate potential failures. This in-the-moment visibility gives you the power to perform predictive maintenance, increase uptime, and avoid unnecessary downtime.

The longer your products remain fully operational, the less you’ll have to worry about losing out on revenue streams.

2. Enhancing customer experiences

Making sure a product works as promised isn’t just about profitability. It’s about meeting expectations and satisfying buyers. But what happens when a product actually does malfunction? Can you fix the issue before royally disappointing your customers?

With smart products, you can.

Imagine you’re a refrigerator manufacturer. Three days after you install a new fridge in a customer’s kitchen, it goes on the fritz and stops cooling.

Traditionally, a customer would have to alert your business of the issue. You’d have to send a technician to the customer’s house to diagnose the problem and determine how to repair the product.

Too often, the anticipated repair wouldn’t address the underlying issue. The technician would fail to bring the right tools and replacement parts, resulting in them making a second trip to fix the real problem.

Meanwhile, your customer’s reached their breaking point. They’ve had to throw away spoiled food and break their budget by eating out every meal.

IoT provides you with a real-time glimpse into everything that’s happening with your products. So, before the owner even knows there’s a problem, you can reach out to schedule service and dispatch an informed technician – with all the necessary parts – to fix the fridge before it fails.

This proactive approach helps put your customers’ minds at ease. They no longer have to worry about the functionality of their products because they know you’re keeping a close eye on them. And they’re confident you can resolve any situation the moment something goes wrong.

Outperforming your peers

Leveraging IoT and creating smart products is crucial to your company’s success in building an intelligent, streamlined, and customer-centric supply chain. But it’s only one small step in your journey toward creating a decisive competitive edge.

What’s more important is that you can take advantage of the data generated by your IoT-enabled goods to create exceptional products and provide unparalleled customer value.

When your business can do that, outperforming your peers will be a breeze.

For more information, register to download this MPI white paper. And keep an eye out for the next blog in our series, “How Supply Chain Companies Can Stay the Course in Uncertain Times.” In it, we’ll cover three ways manufacturers and other organizations can prevent uncertainty from becoming a nuisance.

Robert Merlo

About Robert Merlo

Robert Merlo is Vice President of SAP Solution Marketing, responsible for Strategic Positioning of the Digital Supply Chain and Manufacturing Portfolio of SAP Solutions. Specifically focused on R&D and Manufacturing.