Smart industry

Three steps to increased competitiveness

Three steps to increased competitiveness

In “Smart Industry – Digitize or die” you can read about how the Fourth Industrial Revolution forces Swedish industry to digitize in order to continue competing in an increasingly global market, and what government resources are available to get help to digitize.

In this publication “Smart Industry – Three steps to increased competitiveness“, we go more in depth with concrete efforts that industrial companies can make to increase their competitiveness.

Through increased competitiveness, your company can, among other things, become better at:

 

  • Retain key personnel
  • Retain customers and attract new ones
  • Enter new market segments
  • Generate higher returns
  • Get more time for Innovation
  • Increase your product quality

 

What you want to achieve with your improvement work depends entirely on your own starting point. Unfortunately, for many companies in the manufacturing industry, increased competitiveness is often about remaining on the market at all.

Customer intimacyProduct leadershipOperational excellence

Customer intimacy

 

 

Customer experience - The journey from B2B to B2C

According to the Competing in 2020 report (produced by Harvard Business Review), the customer experience will be the most important differentiator by 2020, in some industries this is already a fact.

 

At the same time, there is a clear trend where we bring our private buying behavior to work. This means that customers in the B2B market increasingly expect the same availability, opportunity for self-service with cost estimation and delivery time as in B2C.

Challenges and opportunities

 

  • Be an early part of the customer’s buying journey
  • Create an appealing and correct decision basis for the customer
  • Shorten the sales cycle with increased freedom of choice for the customer
  • Offer business models adapted to the customer’s needs

Self-service

According to Gartner, 2/3 of the purchase price has already been made before the customer contacts a supplier to find out more about the product. As a consumer, both privately and professionally, you want to get a clear picture of the range and sift out suppliers / products before moving on with those who seem to match the needs best.

 

Even the customers who need a complex product want to be able to see what it looks like, what dimensions it has configured according to their wishes, as well as what it costs and what delivery time you can count on. All this you expect to be able to find digitally without calling or emailing someone as you are used to this from the B2C market

 

Self-service can be solved through product configuration directly on your website. By integrating this solution with other systems at the company, you can deliver additional data such as price and delivery time.

Effective sales

At the same time as the products are becoming increasingly complex, sellers are expected to be able to serve more potential customers in a shorter time with a decision basis for a possible purchase.

 

  • Increased requirements to adapt the products to specific needs and wishes
  • You want to see exactly what the product looks like before ordering
  • You do not have the patience to wait several weeks for price and delivery time

 

By digitizing and automating certain steps in the sales process the customer receives the quote in real time and you can get significantly more quotes in less time. This can be solved with a product configurator, either directly on your website or as a tool for the sellers.

Profitability

In many cases, it is a requirement from the market to meet customers’ wishes if you want to sell your product. This often affects profitability.

 

  • Time-consuming changes that the customer is not always willing to pay for
  • Requests for short delivery times
  • Competitive prices
  • Large product range increases overheads

 

Ensure that you have a flexible way of selling your standard products only in the configurations where you make a profit, can guarantee delivery time and quality. To do this, standardization, modular products and a common way of working in the design department are needed.

Product leadership

 

Innovation - Only one can be the cheapest

When it’s just about the price, the product has become a commodity and is likely at the end of its life cycle.

If the performance of your products does not exceed your competitors, other differentiators are required.

Innovative solutions, a design that conveys power and quality, a more attractive business model or clearer marketing are examples of differentiators that can provide competitive advantages in an already mature market.

Challenges and opportunities

 

  • Create more innovative products
  • Differentiate in the market
  • Well-balanced internal decisions based on good data
  • Go from product to system supplier (PaaS) with services linked to the product

Increased innovation

It can be difficult to find the time and structure to work with new innovation. Unfortunately the product development process often consists of only minor improvements to existing product , as known as “product care”.

 

  • What mix of old proven and new “cutting-edge” products do we have in our range?
  • How do we free up time for the development of completely new products?
  • What tools can be used to work with innovation?

 

Automating time-consuming tasks in the development department frees up time that can be earmarked for “innovation”.

A company needs products that are profitable loyal servants to make money today but also new exciting products that build the market for the future.

Design as a competition advantage

In many cases, function takes precedence over form and design, which in turn is not a priority in development work. Unfortunately, we often judge “the dog by the hair”

– If a product does not have a well-thought-out exterior, what about the inside?

 

  • What does our design strategy look like today?
  • Can we make our product radiate our core values more clearly by working more actively with design?
  • Can we reach a broader market if our products look more appealing?

 

An active design strategy differentiates your products on the market and gives potential customers the feeling of a well-designed quality product.

By starting early with design in the product development process, you can early visualize how the end product is experienced externally, which is valuable both for internal decisions but also in dialogue with customers and suppliers.

Innovative business model

If the performance and quality of your products and your business model are similar to the rest of the industry, there is only one price left to compete for: Time to review the business model.

 

  • Do we sell a system or a product?
  • Can we help our customer get a better ROI on our product through connected services and systems?
  • Can we tie customers tighter if we deliver an ecosystem they can not be without?

 

There is a great opportunity for differentiation, for example to give your customers the opportunity to rent products where service is included. Another example is to build a web platform around your product that connects it with other systems and enables automation of service and maintenance, or other added value for your customer.

 

Operational excellence

Business optimization - The right information for the right person at the right time

A business that today does not reuse previously created relevant data in other systems and makes this available to all stakeholders, uses unnecessary time for administration instead of meeting customers, selling, working with innovation, producing, etc.

In order to get maximum exchange of the product data, processes that aggregate data and add logic are also required.

The time has passed when it was possible to “do as you always did” if you want to continue to compete with others who continuously challenge their processes to find a better way to work.

Challenges and opportunities

 

  • Challenge existing processes
  • Set aside time for improvement work
  • How do we ensure the right skills for our employees?
  • Do we have the right tools?

Smarter data flow

There is often a clear focus within each individual department on the company to become more efficient. Unfortunately the interface between the company’s different islands often ends up further down in priority, which overall still results in inefficiency.

 

  • How do we receive data from the department before us in the sales / order flow and how do we forward it?
  • Do we start each new step by refining / reusing existing data or do we start from scratch?
  • How much time do we spend on manually moving information from one system to another?
  • Does everyone always have access to the latest audit?

 

By taking advantage of the data created at each stage and making the correct version easily accessible to anyone who will use it, you can avoid unnecessary administration and avoid misunderstandings.

Reduced number of errors

If an outdated or incorrect version of the design documentation is the basis for what the purchase department order, supplier delivers and what production manufactures, it is difficult to make a profitable delivery to the customer.

 

  • What events cause a product to change?
  • How and when do other stakeholders find out that we have made a change?
  • Is it the whispering game that ensures that the customer gets what he / she ordered?

 

A change should be added in the systems so that stakeholders can take part of the information that is relevant to them. The data should be aggregated so that you can track which revisions of each component were used at the current time, this also facilitates aftermarket when it is time for service or warranty commitments.

Can we get better?

It still works ok to just take in a little harder in our old proven way to reach the deadline and ok profitability, but what happens when everyone else becomes more efficient?

 

  • Where do we have the greatest need to get better?
  • Do we have the right skills?
  • Do we have the right tools?

 

The first step is to ensure that we have the right tools and expertise to get the most out of our existing way of working. Education, and better adapted tools can increase efficiency through point efforts.

Improvement in systems

Larger point efforts are better than no improvement work at all, but not as effective as continuous and strategic work with a long-term goal. As with everything else, you need to train to get better…

 

  • How do we get continuity in our improvement work?
  • How do we set up a long-term strategy for improvement?

 

If we agree that improvement is important, this deserves a place in the calendar. Analyze your biggest bottlenecks, prioritize, plan and carry out the improvement work. Re-evaluate ongoing challenge, plan and desired result.

What's next?

In many cases, the improvement work is reactive, a reaction to an existing problem rather than a proactive industry analysis of what will be required to be competitive in a few years.

 

  • How can we become more proactive?
  • Who knows what will happen in the future?

 

Invite your customers to a dialogue about what needs they see in the future and ask your suppliers what technology they have under development.

Be proactive and constantly analyze where your industry is headed and what it takes to get there first.

It's all about attitude

Cadcraft has about 1700 customers primarily in the manufacturing industry and building industry. We have been in the industry for over 35 years and it is clear to us that success is largely a matter of attitude. The companies that work with improvements on the daily agenda are the ones that are growing and get profitable.

“Doing as you have always done” is often not a recipe for success in a market driven by constant technological development.

 

The biggest threat is not to make a mistake but to do nothing at all.

Do you want your business to have an increased competitiveness? 

Do not hesitate to contact us!

 

Patrik Johanssson

Account Manager