Digital transformation is not an easy process. Partnering with the right external technology provider can better the chances of success for equipment manufacturers looking to implement new technologies.
Hardware businesses today are modernizing and digitizing a plethora of their processes to radically transform themselves. This is key to their long-term survival as a business, and to better tackle market demands of today. Finding the right digital transformation partner can be an effective way to achieving this.
The adoption of new technologies is the enabler for improved processes that allow equipment manufacturers to have more agile operations. The successful implementation of cloud, Software-As-A-Service(SaaS), Product-As-A-Service (PaaS), Manufacturing-As-A-Service (MaaS) and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies has become a priority for leading hardware companies. Many hardware and manufacturing dependent companies want to adopt new technologies into their general operations, in fact a CGI report estimates that around 62% are executing digital projects, but only roughly 2% achieving their desired outcome.
Transforming traditional old business models into agile and connected enterprises is not easy. Many hardware businesses are forced to make ad hoc decisions and investments in digital systems without proper assessments. This tendency usually leads to weak results and at times a return to traditional methods.
What could be a way for hardware companies to better implement technologies with strong results?
Based on research that I have done at KREATIZE (and as a mechanical engineering masters student at RWTH Aachen University) it is become clear that hardware companies need to collaborate with external partners. Specially when trying to incorporate new technologies into their operations.
Businesses need to think about collaboration first, and not wait until a failed or lackluster inhouse attempt. This approach can save them a lot of time, money and overall effort. In an increasingly complex world, businesses cannot do everything by themselves. Collaboration mitigates the risk that a business will have when trying to to carry out everything by themselves.
Before finding the right partner though, hardware businesses need to focus their energy on properly grasping new technologies.
Once they have a good understanding of the use and potential of the technology that they want to incorporate. Picking the right partner becomes a key strategic pillar. By choosing the right partner a company can positively influence the success rate of achieving their desired outcome.
In this article, I have isolated the 5 things to look for when considering a digital transformation partner.
- Look For “Outcome-As-A-Service” Partners
You want to pick a partner that works under an “outcome as a service” model. This way you can fully integrate their technology into your processes, and collaborate in an effective long term fashion.
Partners that offer transactional services should not be considered. Their model is not fully geared towards ensuring a sustainable long term outcome for the desired service.
Companies offering cloud-based platforms, MaaS and comprehensive on demand services are examples of such partners.
- Consider Partners That Share Your View On Data
Hardware companies should seek to work with external parties that protect their IP, and that share data with them. This means keeping data safe, while sharing enough for insights to enhance products, and accurate estimates for business operations.
Hardware businesses need a partner that can gather quality data and shares core elements to achieve data integration.
- Choose A Partner That Fits
Hardware companies should choose external partners that can fit into their operations with little friction. Both parties must have a shared vision as far as the capabilities of the technology and services offered. They should only have to reconfigure themselves slightly to generate beneficial business.
Company management should also be fully behind the choice. This way all all members of an organization understand that new technologies are part of the overall corporate strategy. An attitude of committing is necessary for the collaboration to be successful between the company and partner.
- Seek Out A Horizontal Integration Partner
The outcome of the cooperation should allow all involved stakeholders to move towards an integrated system.
As stated before, no single hardware company can deliver all the value a customer wants. This is only possible when they have a well-oiled connected ecosystem with external partners. One that seamlessly provides them with what is necessary to service their customers.
The level of integration would depend on the data shared, and the tools necessary to connect both entities. Therefore, partners offering companies easy plug-and-play solutions should be highly considered by hardware companies.
- Choose Industry 4.0 Partners
Hardware companies should strive to find a technology partner that offers workable, but yet cutting edge solutions.
Traditional technologies are still being offered by legacy businesses, but hardware companies should only consider partners offering industry 4.0 solutions. This is particularly true if they are looking for 4.0 services in procurement.
With procurement 4.0, equipment manufacturers can adopt new digital purchasing techniques. Methods that can integrate within their ERP systems for better decision making. With 4.0 procurement, hardware companies can lower their costs, lower their risk and become more agile. The latter three benefits can also be even further accentuated if adopted with other industry 4.0 technologies.
Finally, hardware companies should also specifically look for service providers who keep up with trends shaping industry 5.0. Partners that continuously upgrade their technology offerings. This way, hardware companies can stay ahead of industry trends, and can better their chances of being able to benefit from emerging technologies as they come .
Hardware companies need to understand the technology that they want to adopt. They need to look for digital transformation partners who share their vision, and can integrate seamlessly.
By relying on world class technology partners can implement procurement and manufacturing technologies hardware companies can increase their chances of achieving their desired outcomes.
Are you a hardware business looking for an external partner? Someone that can help you digitally transform your procurement of custom parts and that is plug-and-play?
Cloud manufacturing with KREATIZE might just be right for your hardware business.
To find out more download our playbook today: “Bringing Hardware Products To Market Faster With Cloud Manufacturing.”
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