If you think customers are empowered now, just wait. Soon they’ll use 3D printing and crowdsourcing to control the design and manufacturing of your products. Good ideas, it seems, literally can come from anywhere.
The entire electronics ecosystem is experiencing radical change. Marketers and product designers are drowning in the huge amount of data that’s generated by the multitude of connected devices. Operational teams are struggling to manage change, too, because even as they support design innovation, they can never forget their principal purpose: to improve production yield, meet quality targets and keep equipment available and performing well.
The electronics companies that succeed will be those that can innovate cost-effectively, execute with speed and willingly draw customers closer into their world. To make this happen, they use big data and analytics, cloud, mobile and social technologies to their fullest potential.
Use technology to draw customers closer
The enormous amount of data at your disposal has a distinct advantage: it can help you to better understand the lives, loves and dreams of your consumer. One consumer electronics and business equipment company in Tokyo uses big data and analytics to analyze call logs and other unstructured communications between customers and service representatives. The company is able to strengthen customer loyalty, because employees can respond to the genuine "voice of the customer." A semiconductor manufacturer employs mobile technology to provide a customer experience that is fresh and meaningful. The firm’s Sales Acceleration with Mobile initiative provides access to sales channels throughout the company—which means that buyers can get the information they need much more quickly. This approach directly translates into improved revenue and a more-powerful bond with customers.
“Sixty-nine percent of electronics CMOs view enhanced customer loyalty as a top priority in managing the shift to digital technologies.”
- IBM Institute for Business Value, From Stretched to Strengthened: Insights from the Global Chief Marketing Officer Study, 2011
Develop innovative products—and develop them fasterInnovation is a simple word, but it’s often difficult to achieve when your entire environment is in flux. Even though you operate in a complex ecosystem of networks, platforms, and business environments, your company is compelled to deliver the novel advances that consumers expect. The latest electronics product-design technology can help. For example, global copier manufacturer Kyocera Mita Corporation implemented a model-driven development process that employs a suite of business-application software tools to make reverse modeling and simulation much easier. Because systems and software engineers use a collaborative environment for design, development and testing, the company saw substantive results: teams can find up to 80 percent of design errors prior to production and have reduced new-product development time by 30 percent.
Electronics teams turn to cloud computing to help create innovative products quickly, with scalable and virtualized resources-as-a-service that make faster development possible. For example, Amsterdam TP Vision uses cloud technologies to provision its smart TV network and employs big data and analytics to evaluate how and when individuals interact with their television sets. The result: the company gets direct interaction with consumers throughout the product’s lifetime. This is business innovation that is fast, manageable and cost-effective.
Support innovation with your supply chain
To deliver the innovative products and services that customers expect, the agility of your operational teams is crucial. But many teams lack visibility into their asset health, and the cost of change is high. Analytics technology can create savings in cost and time throughout the supply chain; one semiconductor manufacturer uses the Predictive Asset Optimization approach to build a value chain that is more dynamic and more responsive. The firm can now acquire near-real time analysis of test results. Their manufacturing process is improved through alerts, diagnostics and prediction. Cost is reduced and efficiency improved using analysis of sensors for equipment maintenance.
Meet the future with confidence
Even in the midst of industry upheaval, electronics companies can move forward quickly to capture new markets and increase revenue. Use electronics technology to support smarter marketing and for design collaboration. Employ a predictive asset-optimization approach that supports, rather than inhibits, innovation. When you use technology to understand your customers and draw them closer, you’re taking action to create success.
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- Bruce Anderson
General Manager, Global Electronics Industry
Global Electronics Industry: Business Imperatives
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IBM Smarter Electronics with Bruce Anderson, May 2014
The IBM General Manager for the Global Electronics Industry describes today’s trends.