04 Jan Measuring customers’ manufacturing needs
When looking at the keys to growing a manufacturing business, there are several aspects industry leaders must take into account. Certain qualities may matter more to a company depending on the field they are in or how many products they manufacture per year. But overall, most within the industry agree that implementing digital technology and creating well-built products are major keys to a manufacturing company's success.
A recently released survey by Cisco emphasizes these points, but also shows that many in the manufacturing industry are lagging behind. While the market as a whole seems to recognize what the keys to success are, not every business has the resources to meet these ever-growing needs, creating a larger lag than ever before between the haves and the have-nots.
To make up for this discrepancy, many manufacturing businesses are turning to software that can help solve some of the issues that the lack of resources represent. By allowing technology to handle more responsibility than ever before, business owners can focus more of their attention on the areas of a company they believe need the most assistance.
Cisco surveyed 625 manufacturing executives from around the world, asking a variety of questions about growing a business and getting the highest quality production possible. What the survey found was that a majority of leaders do not think that high-quality products are the key to a company's growth. Instead, 86 percent said that their customer service was the top priority. Yet only 29 percent of respondents stated that services will grow faster than the product aspect of a company, meaning there is a disconnect for some on where to prioritize resources.
Rick Schneider, the CEO of FANUC America, was one of the executives surveyed. He told Cisco that instead of letting the products try to sell themselves, his company wants to know what customers think. Their feedback helps dictate what a manufacturing business should do moving forward.
"We can give feedback to customers proactively: how to save energy in terms of the operations of their machines, how to make the machine last longer, how to reduce cycle time, so it gives us a whole new set of business opportunities that we can offer to customers to really improve their performance and our ability to support them as a customer," Schneider said.
"Half of the manufacturing firms surveyed expected growth over the next six months."
While taking customer's needs into account, a manufacturing business will only thrive if their products are worth buying. Different businesses have their own unique perspectives on the best way to go about making upgraded products. No matter what the approach, manufacturing around the U.S. seems to be a doing well.
According to the November Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey, issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, many companies are seeing growth, both in terms of the number of employees and their production, manufacturing around the U.S. is strong. Half of the manufacturing firms surveyed expected growth over the next six months, while only 7 percent projected a decrease in their sales.
Using the cloud
Along with more of a focus on service, another main takeaway from the Cisco survey was how important cloud technology is to so many within manufacturing. When asked what digital technology will make the biggest impact for their company's in the next three years, the leading answer was the cloud, at 37 percent.
With the ability to track how a business is doing and focus attention on areas of the company that need help, cloud software can make a huge difference for manufacturers. Dirk Salma, the director of business development for Bosch Software Innovations, said to Cisco that finding the ideal cloud software is one of the biggest obstacles manufacturing businesses have in this day and age.
"A manufacturing business will only thrive if their products are worth buying."
"One challenge is on the technology side, making sure that the right infrastructure is provided," Salma said. "The second challenge I would see is more on the organizational level, to make sure that you somehow help your organization move towards these new business models."
NGIMES, from Atachi, can help manufacturers reach their desired goals – whatever those may be. The software helps a business save time and money, as it reduces a company's need for an IT department while speeding up deployment time on products. It also allows for greater visibility, as the software can help owners make quicker decisions.
Many within manufacturing are leaning more than ever before on customer response. Tools such as NGIMES can help turn those insights into results, while still helping a company keep its footing moving forward.