July 8 by Neema Jyothiprakash
Trucks. Big Data. Raw Materials. The Cloud. Pacemakers. Welding.
No, these aren’t random selections for a Mad Lib. It’s true in the past these nouns would have little to nothing in common. But today an increasingly global market, shifting industry trends and disruptive technology have changed the manufacturing world.
Once upon a time, “The Internet of Things” was a 1990s buzz term. Now it is a simple fact of doing business. As McKinsey describes, “the predictable pathways of information are changing: the physical world itself is becoming a type of information system.” This actually describes the current ecosystem of manufacturing. The once separate spheres of physical and digital, of raw materials and cloud computing, have converged.
The result, as Forbes writer Louis Columbus writes, is that “Manufacturers are under constant pressure to increase accuracy, make process speed a competitive force, and capitalize on their internal intelligence and knowledge to make every supplier, distributor and service interaction count.”
It sounds daunting. But it’s not with the right set of tools and access to the right information.
High performing manufacturers have recognized the potential in Big Data, Cloud Computing, and implemented solutions such as salesforce.com, Apttus and Deloitte’s joint Inquire-to-Order solution which enable them to turn practice into data, data into knowledge, and knowledge into power.
What does it mean to be a high performance manufacturer?
Traditionally, over the last 30 to 40 years, driving high performance in manufacturing meant a focus on operational excellence – getting your supply chains and your manufacturing options in order. But now, with changes in the industry, technology, and most importantly, in customer expectations, many manufacturers have shifted the priority to finding ways to get closer to the customer. To do so, they are searching for ways to increase the “flexibility around their supply chain” and integrate that with their sales and marketing operations. This will provide a full 360 degree view all channels, customers, and networks, increase partner and customer loyalty, and to drive revenue and maximize order potential.
What will be gained by embracing cloud capabilities and disruptive technology?
Disruptive technologies leverage data in such a way that it continues to aggregate meaning. Microsoft recently released a study detailing how manufacturers will gain $371 Billion in value from data over the next four years. That’s a powerful statistic. Where will that money come from?
- Automated marketing campaigns and prospect progress through campaign and activity history
- Guided selling for reps through product catalogs, price matrices and quote process
- Quote to Order: automated contract generation, signature and storage
- Customer loyalty through renewals, promotions and future opportunities