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The ground is moving under manufacturers’ feet, with a seismic shift coming in many areas. Customers, for example, want manufacturers to anticipate their needs, customize products to their preferences, and deliver impeccable, instant service. New digital technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics offer the promise of real-time production, customer-responsive innovation, and ultra-low operating costs. And global competition is hotter than ever: with an increasing number of emerging countries embracing digital manufacturing at pace.

Make no mistake, sticking with the old ways is a sure path to obsolescence. According to McKinsey, “Companies competing in traditional ways…have seen lower rates of revenue and earnings growth than have companies competing in digital ways.”

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The Manufacturer’s Guide to Digitally Led Innovation 

So how can manufacturers innovate faster in this customer-driven world? The answer lies in acting upon all of the ways customers interact with your business and your products – not just individual customer interactions – and transforming your operations to ensure that the omnichannel customer journey is seamless, responsive, and rewarding.

Exploit The End-to-End Customer Journey
The value chain needs to be viewed as a single experience, with the customer at the center, and with every element connected by a “digital thread.” That thread contains data that flows through every part of your organisation to inform a seamless, responsive process – from sensing customer demand, sales, and order management, through to delivering products and services that meet customer needs.

A customer’s digital and social media activity, for example, provides a flow of data about their needs, preferences, and preoccupations. That data can be used to understand customer behaviours, nurture them with personalised communications, and gather ideas for product improvements.

Equally, data from demand sensing, customer orders, and manufacturing operations provide detailed insight into which products you’ll be manufacturing and to which timescales. That data is vital in driving supply chain partner collaboration to ensure just-in-time delivery of materials and valuable in sharing demand forecasts with dealers and sellers to help them plan.

Data from service also drives a multitude of service innovations – from remotely updating connected devices to delivering entire products as a service. That data can help inform new service technologies such as intelligent chatbots and service apps, or it can automatically update connected products as new functionality is developed.


The Smart Value Chain: Applying Analytics and AI
To deliver its full business value, the value chain doesn’t just need to be connected by a digital thread. It must also be smart: capable of analysing customer, product, and operational data. For example, artificial intelligence can be used to predict when customers are most likely to buy, and automatically send them offers, or to understand where customers are having problems with connected products, and send them guidance.

The Power of the Smart, Connected Value Chain
A value chain that’s capable of analysing itself and acting on that insight (i.e. smart) and connected (by a digital thread) provides a significant competitive advantage. You can design products and services customers want, increasing sales. Innovate faster and grow market share. Deliver a more rewarding customer experience that drives loyalty. And reduce the cost of sales, marketing, and finance.

To learn more about how Oracle can help you to transform your manufacturing business around the customer experience, download our free white paper today.

DOWNLOAD THE EBOOK Download the eBook
The Manufacturer’s Guide to Digitally Led Innovation 

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