Create more valuethrough digital innovation.
Digitise and personalise through the entire chain.
In the past, the focus of the manufacturing industry was on developing and producing the best possible products. Those days are over. Today, as a manufacturer, it’s not just about optimising your production process through digitisation. Creating demand among the end consumer is also important. That's why industrial players today are putting a lot more effort into marketing and building brand equity. As a result, the role of representatives is changing. Customers and consumers have often already built-up specific preferences through other channels and have come to expect tailor-made information and services. Today sales teams take more of an advisory role than that of the traditional salesperson.
Data analysis is essential for the manufacturing industry because you have to focus on the chain. This means you know what your (end) customers expect quicker and you can optimise your planning, production, and marketing. Internal cooperation and training is crucial. Digital transformation only succeeds if everyone in the organisation believes in it and their skills complement each other. This also applies to external partners such as a distributor network. If you tackle your online marketing initiatives and automation well, the benefits extend to the entire chain.
Scalability should not be overlooked. Digital order intake, automation, and self-service portals are best developed for use widely within and outside the organisation. You can establish a real advantage over your competitors and improve profitability. That is why players from the manufacturing industry choose end-to-end partners who can also convert strategic advice into concrete solutions and tools. An integrated approach is the fastest way to a satisfied (end) customer.
New challenges for distributors
Manufacturers don’t wait for opportunities. Data collection and analysis helps customer retention and informs communication. Digital tools give them the edge. For distributors, it is important to add more value to the chain through unburdening, specialised advice, and flexibility. In this, they can distinguish themselves from manufacturers, so they don't become competitors. Manufacturers should determine an approach with distributors in which both play to their strengths so that they can complement each other and can serve the end customer even better.
Here's how to get the customer on your side:
Give them more control.
By giving the customer user-friendly tools, they enjoy a better user experience and have a greater sense of involvement. In addition, self-service portals help to lower the burden on your organisation and customer service.
Do not start from the product but from the needs and problems of your end customers. You should be the first brand they think of, and this reduces your need for classic marketing.
Offer customised products.
Data analysis is not just about streamlining production and shortening delivery times. Innovative players are now gaining market share with tailor-made production and services. For example, they adjust the expectations of customers, so that other manufacturers have to follow.
The customer wants to... more than just a good product.
For decades, success in the manufacturing industry was determined by the quality of the product. In the coming decade, the quality of digital services will make the difference. From digital tools that streamline sales and after-sales, to specialised content at every stage of the customer journey. But the human factor also remains important. Not all services need to be fully automated. A manual check or verbal guarantee at the right time sometimes works better than an app. The better you know your customers or prospects, the better you will find the right balance in your services.
How does iO work?
Many companies in the manufacturing industry realise that they need to digitise and optimise their services. At iO we have experts for every step of this process. Together we look at what the needs are and how they can move forward with an integrated approach. As an end-to-end partner with extensive expertise for customers in the manufacturing industry, we start with the right strategic insights and implement them in phases. We combine our technological know-how with in-depth tactical and operational expertise.
Would you like to work with iO?
Our experts would love to talk to you about how to digitise in phases throughout the chain.
4 pillars that every manufacturer can build on.
1. Make it scalable.
Develop tools and platforms that you can roll out broadly within the digital ecosystem of your organisation. Using self-service and ready-made templates, you can make it easier for yourself and your customers.
2. Make your production and services more sustainable.
Environmental legislation is becoming stricter and end customers also expect manufacturers to focus on sustainability and social responsibility. This can be through the production process and an inclusive policy but it’s essential that you support this with clear communication. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is essential in positioning a brand within the manufacturing industry.
3. Give talent every opportunity.
The battle for talent will intensify in the coming years. Employees expect employers to have all the resources and the freedom they need to tackle new challenges. Dare to say goodbye to old routines and entrenched patterns.
4. Approach content broadly.
Content is still too often seen as purely editorial or commercial communication. It’s important to pay attention to the way you design tools or platforms and let them interact with your customers or employees.