IoT = Delighted Customers

Tanja Rueckert

Part 6 of the “Manufacturing Value from IoT” series

In my last blog, I talked about how granting suppliers access to your manufacturing IoT-enabled data opens up your relationships and potential. Here, I will talk about why you should provide your customers access to your operations and supply chain data.

Your manufacturing customers now want IoT value in every product and service they acquire.

Are you ready?

In B2B markets, manufacturers want your company and its products to:

  • Monitor delivery, logistics, and installation of products at remote locations
  • Trigger maintenance/MRO at remote sites
  • Improve equipment capabilities on site, via digital downloads (e.g., embedded software upgrades)
  • Deliver alerts for product and/or parts replacements or new purchases
  • Warn of operations misuse and potential negative EHS outcomes

In B2C markets, manufacturers want your company and its products to:

  • Offer tips and guides on enhanced product usage
  • Link them to online user communities
  • Assist with product installation in their homes, via digital downloads
  • Alert them to required repairs and/or replacements
  • Share IoT device information (e.g., usage patterns), so you can develop next-generation products

 A critical step in adding value via the IoT for B2B customers is to provide access to intelligence from your operations and supply chain, so they can better manage their operations. Yet most manufacturing customers don’t have access to the IoT information they need. Even worse, many executives don’t have access to their own company’s IoT-enabled data!

The next phase of IoT maturity — moving from providing customers with IoT data to delivering IoT-enabled products — requires an even greater leap. Many manufacturers aren’t yet familiar with IoT technologies need for intelligent products and/or lack the expertise to design and manufacture IoT products. The good news is that this a solvable problem:

  • Organizational alignment: First, develop an IoT vision for the company, and then communicate it to employees, customers, and suppliers.
  • Internal talent: Next, assess internal capabilities — e.g. designers, engineers, and managers — for executing your IoT strategy. In some electronic-products organizations, this may require only a modest transition. But for other products — e.g., cement, materials — you may need to recruit new talent or rely on contractors.
  • Supply chain: Evaluate whether current suppliers can deliver the required controls, devices, and network capabilities to offer IoT products. Fill IoT gaps as necessary.
  • Technologies: High-tech components embedded in your IoT-enabled products are unlikely to be off-the-shelf purchases. Get the internal and supply-chain expertise and advice to put the right IoT technologies in place.
  • Budgets: Benchmark the investments that your competitors are making in IoT processes and products. Are you ahead — or behind? More importantly: Are you spending enough to delight — and retain — your customers and bring the highest IoT returns possible?

IoT challenges

The Internet of Things is happening now, making a shift in market dynamics alongside artificial intelligence, analytics, and machine learning. The use of plant-floor IoT intelligence to monitor, react, and improve plant-level performances is changing the ways manufacturers operate.

Learn how incorporating the IoT into your manufacturing processes can enable your business to increase productivity and profitability. Download the report “The IoT is Delivering the Future – Now.”

Tanja Rueckert

About Tanja Rueckert

Tanja Rueckert is President of the Internet of Things and Digital Supply Chain Business Unit at SAP. This year she was voted by IoT Breakthrough as IoT CEO of the Year.