Anyone who’s planned a yearly budget or developed a business strategy welcomes insights to help make that task easier. That’s especially true in the manufacturing sector, given the changes and upheavals of the past few years. Setting priorities while anticipating the market's opportunities and challenges requires organisations to look forward. In that vein, Henrik Reif Andersen, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Configit, shares his manufacturing industry predictions for 2023.
Manufacturing companies will make the digital employee experience a key part of their operations
“Most people naturally think of the consumer customer when the topic of digitisation comes up, but it's also crucial to take into account the digital experience of staff,” says Andersen. “You’re most productive if you have a strong digital backbone to support your work, no matter what portion of the value chain you are responsible for. If you as an employee have good end-2-end digital experiences in your daily work, you can better serve customers in an efficient and reliable manner. With immediate digital access to product information about new or updated products you can better guide customers on what the new features and options are and how they fit the individual customer’s needs to increase the likelihood of winning the deal. Better employee experiences enable better customer experiences and for that reason should be an essential part of any digitalisation effort.
“The idea of a digital employee experience is similar to that for customers, but from the viewpoint of the employee. Manufacturers will therefore prioritize and make more progress toward the digital employee experience.”
Issues with the supply chain will be addressed in part through the digital employee experience
“You want to be able to respond swiftly to disruptions,” says Andersen. “You will run into problems if your systems are not integrated well enough for you to observe how responding to supply chain changes affects your business. Manufacturers who use configuration tools will benefit from a high level of transparency of product dependencies down to individual parts. They will be able to act fast to supply shortages by updating the product definitions to avoid the problematic parts and do it with assurance because they will be aware of the impact of changes on downstream systems. The appeal of the digital employee experience will increase as long as supply chain problems exist.”
As businesses attempt to capitalise on emerging technology and optimise their benefits, a modular approach will become increasingly common
“Businesses are searching for IT platforms as technology continuously evolves. How can you take advantage of emerging technologies like 3D visualisation and augmented reality without constantly reinvesting in your IT,” asks Andersen. “You need a platform to serve as a strong foundation on which you can access customer and product information. A strong platform will make it quicker and less expensive to capitalise on emerging technology and create value. Moving toward this platform-based thinking will be required moving forward. You need your data in a location where you can have a shared view of the product data and use it from various channels and access points.”
The manufacturing industry will continue its acceptance of servitisation
“There is a growing tendency toward the sale of products as a service,” explains Andersen. “In fact, the majority of the software we purchase today—and likely what you use at work—is obtained through a subscription, where you pay a price each month to have access to it. SaaS is just that.
“Physical products are already seeing a similar trend. For instance, some car manufacturers are starting to offer features like heated seats and automatic high beams on a subscription basis. We anticipate that this will accelerate in 2023.”
As sustainability gains prominence, manufacturers will incorporate it into their daily operations
Undoubtedly, the drive for greater sustainability will have an impact on how production happens.
“As a result, I anticipate that companies will continue to try to integrate more sustainable practices into their operations,” says Anderson. “Although it has been difficult thus far, customers are asking for this and need advice on how to make sustainable decisions. The implementation of software that can direct you through this procedure is essential, and I anticipate that demand for it will increase.”
No time like the present to prepare for the future
Transformation is the overriding theme of Andersen’s five predictions.
“Manufacturers will keep modernising their operations to improve supply chain stability and sustainability. As they endeavor to change how work is done and delivered, the sector will place a strong emphasis on the as-a-Service model and the digital experience of employees. Think about how these predictions might impact your company and start making plans for the future now.”