Over the past three years, discontinuities in the supply chain and rapidly changing market dynamics have driven IT leaders in the manufacturing sector to use digital solutions to increase profitability, optimise strategic business areas and improve experiences. As confirmed by The Manufacturer and IBM’s study, 67 per cent of manufacturing companies have accelerated digital projects since the advent of COVID-19. Still, demand volatility and the current macroeconomic and political environment add new uncertainty to an already unstable scenario, and building more resilient supply chains has become more challenging.
“Disruptions in the supply chain have a significant impact on the economic outlook for the manufacturing industry. Business leaders are analysing the situation to identify the challenges and opportunities in this scenario,” said Diego Iodice, Account Executive at Liferay. This company develops cloud-based Digital Experience (DXP) platforms that manufacturing companies use to create portals, intranets and websites for customers and partners.
Liferay experts, who track digitisation processes and trends in the manufacturing sector worldwide, analysed five trends in digital experience that CIOs should continue to monitor during this complex time. Today, buyers have instant access to information wherever they are, so they are more self-sufficient. Manufacturers must meet the changing expectations and empower them to handle orders or product issues themselves. To meet this challenge, CIOs need to evaluate solutions that give customers immediate access to detailed product and account information so they can easily search and compare items and provide direct feedback. The ultimate goal should be to provide simple and satisfying digital experiences that keep customers coming back.
The after-sales experience in manufacturing market
The motto “doing more with less” is more of a priority than ever for manufacturing leaders worldwide, as profit margins are shrinking and pressure to invest in digital solutions is increasing. Making processes and after-sales services more efficient is increasingly important. For example, Deloitte estimates that after-sales service can generate 20-50% more profitability for manufacturers than new product sales. As a result, manufacturers can continue delivering value by offering engaging and personalized experiences after purchase. To capitalize on after-sales possibilities, manufacturers are looking for solutions that minimize unplanned downtime for customers, streamline parts ordering, and reduce service costs through self-service.
The challenges that manufacturing companies face in a competitive and fast-paced environment are varied and complex. Highly distributed workforce: employees have difficulty finding the information they need because it resides in different documents in separate, unconnected document repositories. Diverse and unconnected channels: information reaches employees from too many channels and in other formats (e-mail, communication app, customer service, etc.), making it difficult to follow everything or find important information later.
Using data to improve decision making
To address these challenges, manufacturing CIOs must implement collaboration platforms that enable consistent enterprise-wide communication between employees, external partners, and other vital stakeholders. These platforms will help the company operate more efficiently, respond appropriately to the needs of an evolving workforce, and ensure consistency of services offered to employees across the globe. As manufacturers aim to provide new online service experiences to customers, they will need to look for ways to avoid the high implementation costs and longer time-to-market generally associated with solutions that depend heavily on specialized IT resources.
Therefore, low-code solutions become an excellent ally for CIOs, as they can help non-IT users promptly create and implement online experiences for customers. Real-time visibility into a company’s internal processes is critical, as effective business intelligence (BI) and data analytics enable better decision-making. Companies that prioritize digitization will prevail because they will be able to get more data from their processes.