Everything You Need to Know About Smart Manufacturing

If you’re a manufacturer with a product-centric focus, it’s time to reevaluate your strategy and put the spotlight on your customer.

Do you really know what your customers want? Can you anticipate their future needs? Do you have the infrastructure required to change your product offerings on the fly?

Leading manufacturers are able to anticipate and plan for the future needs of their customers, thanks to digitalization.

“Digitalization is the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities.” – Gartner

What is Smart Manufacturing

Smart manufacturing is the concept of building a strong digital foundation, or  digital operating platform, that can support fast, agile business processes and provides the ability to scale rapidly when needs change.

Marked by rich data, deeply integrated and highly automated solutions can connect vast amounts of data across every part of your business and give insight into the customer journey in near real time. Imagine an integrated global enterprise, with sales, operations, marketing, supply chain, finance and even customer service all working together to give you a holistic understanding of your customer’s needs.

Now that you understand your customer’s needs, you can better align your products and services to meet them. Inventory management, procurement, demand planning, order management, shipping, installation and services, compliance, customer communication and any other areas of your operations that are critical to fulfillment can be integrated and automated for fast and error-free fulfillment that will boost customer loyalty.

Deliver Product-as-a-Service (PaaS) for Added Value

Artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT) are not only enabling the development of superior products that better meet customer’s needs, they’re also paving the way to PaaS models with more favorable margins.

For example, let’s say you’re an engine manufacturer. Data insights have shown that your customers’ top priority is not the type of engine they use. They’re more concerned with preventing breakdowns to ensure their trucks can stay on the road. To better help your customers you decide to provide a service that captures critical data about the engine while it’s in transit, and notifies customers when the engine is in need of maintenance. Your new service gives customers peace of mind that they won’t have any significant breakdowns – a real value-add to your product offerings.

“A better understanding of their customers and more transparent ways of communicating with them are now where manufacturing companies can make their greatest strides.” – Reimaging Digital Transformation in the Manufacturing Industry, Salesforce

Smart manufacturing gives you the data you need to create in-demand products and deliver end-to-end solutions that will exceed your customer’s expectations — and differentiate yourself from the competition.

Deliver a Customized Experience with CPQ

To truly innovate you can’t use a one-size fits all approach — customers need to be able to customize products to their exact specifications, especially if they’re making a hefty investment.

CPQ (configure, price, quote) can take your static manufacturing operations and transform them into a discrete manufacturing powerhouse where every product can be made-to-order – even better, it can automate the entire process.

By integrating your sales channels and enterprise resource planning system (ERP), your products can have limitless customization options and customers can see 3D renderings of the finished product in real time. Through automation, CPQ shortens sales cycles, sends error-free orders to your manufacturing teams, and accurate invoices to customers – making for faster payments.

Ultimately, CPQ makes it easy to initiate new, customizable product offerings fast, without added stress on operations.

Is Smart Manufacturing Right for Your Business?

There’s no time like the present for digital transformation. Without a strong digital foundation, there’s no way to effectively share data across your business, making it difficult to forecast demand and develop new products and services for your customers.

86% of manufacturers surveyed believe that within five years, smart-manufacturing solutions will be the main driver of competitiveness. – Deloitte and MPI Smart Factory Study, 2019

But products that perfectly meet your customer’s needs aren’t enough – and you can ‘t just compete on a great customer experience. You need the best of both worlds to be successful, and that requires innovation and agility. For that reason alone digital transformation and smart manufacturing can position you as an industry leader. And that comes with big benefits:

  • A unified customer experience and cross-channel visibility
  • The ability to proactively leverage real-time insights & forecasting
  • A reputation as a thought leader focused on innovation
  • Speed, agility, and adaptability – helping you to navigate uncertainty, mitigate risk, and succeed in a competitive marketplace

See the Benefits of Smart Manufacturing

When needs change or unexpected events impact your supply chain, digital transformation gives you the agility to adapt and pivot operations quickly.

Whether automating manual processes or integrating entire systems, Keste has the experience to help you design and implement the right roadmap for your future business needs.  When it comes to digitalization in manufacturing, we know how to quickly implement solutions that help businesses adapt to trends and prepare for unexpected events that could potentially impact success.

Contact Keste today for a free consultation about your smart manufacturing future.