Manufacturing for the Future: The Customer Centric Manufacturer
How do you connect with your customers? And how do you remain vital in a hyper competitive landscape? In an era of growth and innovation, manufacturers from all sectors are tapping into the power of specialized software. This theme resonated at conferences included Microsoft Convergence, where Michel Putnik and Paul Ledbetter from Microsoft’s manufacturing team presented on a myriad of manufacturing sectors including: automotive, industrial, aerospace and high tech. Their presentation highlights the future, more connected manufacturing firm.
Manufacturing contributes so powerfully to the national and global economy. Several global trends affecting manufacturing:
- Power Shift to Consumers
- Connected Experiences
- Globalization and Emerging Economies
- Changing Demographics
- Complex Regulations
Thriving, not just surviving in the face of these changes will mean adapting to customer needs. The exchange of information, Microsoft predicts, will be a game changer for customer engagement.
Customer relationship management is one facet that predominantly touches on customer interaction and the power customers have to affect business practices. New features revealed will enhance Microsoft Dynamic CRM’s marketing, social, sales and customer care capabilities.
Shifts Ahead for Manufacturers
McKinsey’s Global Institute reported how the global manufacturing sector has undergone a “tumultuous decade.” Shifts include the rapid pace of developing nations becoming tier one manufacturers and employment drops brought on by a severe recession in more advanced economies. Globally, the report notes, manufacturing continues to grow accounting for approximately 16 percent of the global GDP and 14 percent of employment (these numbers are from November of 2012). Manufacturing is entering a dynamic new phase.
Meeting Global Consumption Demands
By 2025, the authors of the McKinsey study predict, a new global consuming class will have emerged, and the majority of consumption will take place in developing economies. The market opportunities will be immense and compared with the more fragmented consumer audiences found in established markets. What’s needed? Agile approaches and a strategy using scenario planning instead of point forecasts, for example.
From R&D, production and operations, marketing and sales to distribution or customer care – manufacturers have an ability to use software to their advantage. Software providers, like Microsoft, are staying on top of technological megatrends including mobility, social, cloud and big data. How will these megatrends enable you to save money, drive excellence and grow revenue?
Microsoft and other software providers want to see plants transformed with enhanced information systems. It might even be easier for what Phil Hussey, contributor to Manufacturing Net, says “smaller” firms, manufacturing firms under the $1billion mark, have an advantage. These companies, he says, score higher an channel optimization and score better on customer optimization. These are companies that are unencumbered by legacy systems and who got into the customer engagement game faster will be able to use customer data effectively.