Manufacturers Must Shift Strategy as Products Change

Connected Products

There’s a lot more to being a successful manufacturing organization than that shining light bulb moment.

Great ideas don’t guarantee success. We can all remember JVC’s VHS tapes, but you probably haven’t heard of Sony’s Betamax product from the 1970’s. I rest my case.

In today’s world, leading OEMs are realizing that excellence throughout the product lifecycle—from design through to disposal—is fruitless if it exists in silos.

You may have great ideas and award-winning products designed by the best engineers, an über-efficient logistics network with the most creative marketing and sales departments on the planet, and still it might not be enough. Think about your favorite team sport: does the team with the best players always win? No.

In order to drive shareholder value, to convert that shining light bulb moment into something tangible and sustainable, OEMs must adopt a holistic approach to their management of products, supply chain and services.

Manufacturers must identify a software partner capable of covering the entire spectrum, one that understands that its purpose is not to write snazzy code but to enable its clients to successfully address their business challenges. It calls for the flexibility and agility that are hallmarks of today’s interconnected, collaborative environments.

With the proliferation of embedded software and the trend toward smart, connected products comes yet more complexity and opportunity. Software in products allows manufactures to collect valuable data while the product is being used, and opens up new avenues for services and add-ons. After-sales intelligence can also be leveraged in future product releases.

‘Leverage’ sounds so effortless. Alas, it’s anything but.

Intelligence needs capturing, recording and documenting otherwise it will deliver no value to the manufacturer or the customer.

That gap between the first design stage and a product’s end of life can be huge—think aerospace and defense—or highly condensed like in the high-tech industry. Either way, it’s critical to have a system in place for recording “feedback” from smart products and a way to quickly and easily integrate that information into the next design cycle or service offerings.

Excellence at any stage in a product’s life is wasted unless the other components fall into place alongside it. Businesses can no longer achieve a clear advantage unless they have an integrated plan across the entire lifecycle of a product, from design and manufacturing through service and disposal.

Consumers demand excellence, and they’ll go elsewhere if a product doesn’t offer them the experience they want. Manufacturers have to connect the dots, bringing together previously siloed information and entire departments to form a coherent strategy that will win customers and keep them coming back.

About Giacomo Squintani

Made in Sheffield, exported worldwide. Eight years' experience in Service Lifecycle Management helping companies understand how to leverage service as a differentiator to drive shareholder value. Now a part of the PTC team linking SLM to design and PLM to deliver a holistic view of the options available to manufacturers looking to establish product and service advantage.
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