In EEF’s recently published Executive Survey, which looks at manufacturers’ views of the year ahead, half of companies expect to increase investment in technology and innovation in the next 12 months.
In this guest blog, we hear from Oracle’s Product Innovation and Supply Chain Apps Leader, Vikram Singla, on their views on technology and the fourth industrial revolution.
Experience is king
It’s no secret that the needs and demands of customers today have completely changed. The advent of digital technologies has firmly placed ROI and quality of experience at the forefront of customer needs, and every organisation, regardless of sector has had to adapt to this. The have had to realise that a one-size fits all approach simply is not good enough any longer, and that they need to provide services and offerings that are designed to meet the very specific needs of each customer.
On top of this, the competitive landscape has also changed. Today’s markets move at a rapid pace and it can be hard to know which direction competitive disruption will come from. Organisations need to respond much quicker to this, or risk losing ground to competitors that can offer the ROI or quality of experience that customers are now demanding.
Mass consumption and mass production
The brands that have been the most successful at engaging new customers have been the ones that have dealt with them on a personal level, and taken the time to really understand their business. For manufacturers, to do this means a fundamental shift away from production-centric thinking and design to a strategy that is completely customer-centric. They need think about the needs of each customer on an individual basis, and provide with them with an entirely personalised experience.
This is easier said than done. However, to begin the journey to the ‘holy grail’ a strategy where the customer is a ‘segment of one’, manufacturers need to understand their customers at much more granular level to begin designing their supply chains to provide them with a high quality of experience but to do this at no extra cost.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution – connectivity is the key
The delivery of a high-quality customer experience, at a mass production price point, rests upon an organisation’s connectivity as it controls their ability to understand and respond to industry shifts and customer demands. This connectivity is what The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies primarily provide. They are bringing together every part of an ecosystem to provide a complete and holistic understanding, which allows organisations to make considered and informed decisions about their business and how to act in any given scenario. Connectivity ensure the steady flow of this information, making it the beating heart of the delivery model today.
Progressive companies have already deployed 4IR technologies to solve business issues and needs; and more and more businesses are following in the footsteps of these early adopters. They are leveraging these new technologies to produce smarter products, more sophisticated manufacturing systems and intuitive supply chains.
Cloud – the key enabler
Powering these 4IR technologies is the cloud. It is enabling companies to work in a more flexible, scalable and cost effective manner, and allows for the easy integration of 4IR technologies into existing systems and work streams. However to deliver a truly modern supply chain, organisations need to consider building a cloud-based solution from the ground-up. This will allow them to effectively deliver connectivity through all key business processes, and ultimately provide superior experiences to their customers and differentiate themselves from the competition.
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