The big question for manufacturers today is not so much what to digitalize but when to digitalize to maximize value.
Establishing success criteria from the very beginning of a strategic transformation initiative ensures a common language across the organization and helps to tie everything to the business’ aspiration.
Wipro has observed six key solution themes, three each for the top-line and bottom-line impact.
1. Connected and smart-product ecosystem
Many organizations have successfully digitalized products and extracted vital information to gain visibility and remote access in the last few years. Some organizations have already started monetizing this information directly or indirectly.
Now, the focus is shifting to creating smart product ecosystems, which connect products to OEMs and channel partners. By creating this network, manufacturers aim to collect the data necessary to align the requirements for product development with customer requirements, and proactively resolve product performance issues. The smart-product ecosystem ensures that information moves from the field, customers, sales, and service channels, directly to manufacturing, design, and supply chain managers.
Benefits of a smart-product ecosystem
Connected assets and smart manufacturing can bring huge value to businesses. For example, Wipro connected 150,000 field products from a global OEM in India to provide visibility into product performance for the OEM, distributors, and customers. The project generated a number of monetization opportunities for the businesses, ranging from offering EaaS to enabling predictive maintenance.
2. Digitalized customer and channel experience
Customer and channel engagements experienced a paradigm shift throughout the pandemic. Many manufacturers have revamped their online presence and redefined their online strategies to provide a seamless digital experience for their customers and channel partners, including suppliers, dealers, and distributors. The B2B buying experience includes easy access to company ratings and reviews, as well as visuals and tutorials for B2B products.
In the future, manufacturers will likely focus on increasing sales and customer retention by leveraging seamless total experience: customer experience (CX), user experience (UX), multi-experience (MX), and employee experience (EX). Gartner estimates that organizations providing a total experience shall outperform competitors by 25% in satisfaction metrics for CX and EX by 2024.
When Wipro connected 100,000 cars for a leading player in the pre-owned car segment in India, referrals, upsells and cross-sales increased. The connected cars provided brand differentiation and enhanced the value of the pre-owned cars with upgraded features including safety, theft protection, drive analytics, and incentives for good driving.
3. Aftermarket and service transformation
During the pandemic, aftermarket and service teams switched from site visits to remote resolution of customer issues. The industry adopted AR/VR wearables and smart devices for technicians and operators. Connected products enabled teams to easily access more information and provide services proactively to customers.
Now, focus is on transforming aftermarket and service operations to increase sales and customer satisfaction through proactive outreach to customers. Also, the distance between customers, channel partners and OEMs is shrinking. Businesses are redefining the relevant roles to increase overall customer satisfaction.
Wipro built a cloud-native event- and data-manager platform for a leading automotive OEM to enhance loss/collision assistance for consumers and ensure seamless claims processing. The solutions connected the client’s source system and external service providers (towing, rental, insurance, collision assistance center) to enhance customer satisfaction from after-sales service.
1. Connected and digitalized factory operations
During the pandemic, factories struggled with remote operations and to obtain data needed to produce the products per the desired specifications. Digitalization and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) provided a solution and is now revolutionizing the manufacturing shop floor.
IIoT captures massive amounts of data from machine parameters, legacy systems, logbooks, and human interactions. Coupled with advanced analytics, IIoT can solve some of the most complex problems for manufacturers, transforming conventional shop floors into smart factories. When Wipro implemented IIoT for a leading metal manufacturer, the business reported 30% lower sales returns and 3-5% improvement in utilization of critical machines.
There is also a widespread interest among manufacturers to digitize physical documents, SOPs, policies, processes, and other activities to increase visibility, sustainability, and efficiency.
2. Digital supply chain
Supply chain digitalization started long before the pandemic, but disruptions during the pandemic has accelerated efforts, especially in procurement, logistics, and warehousing, where adoption of new technologies has increased significantly.
Manufacturers are redesigning their supply chain processes and moving them to proven digital platforms. But to harness the full potential of digital platforms, manufacturers need to be sure that they’re using the right technologies and adopting the right strategies.
For a leading automobile OEM, Wipro reduced logistics costs by using advanced algorithms to align the demand of parts with the supply of trailers. The solution saved $7.6 million (USD) in annual costs and reduced annual CO2 emissions by 7,300 metric tons.
3. Connected workforce
Since the pandemic, manufacturers have realized the criticality of having widely dispersed, location-independent work environments and employee experiences. In the report Top 5 Strategic Technology Trends in Manufacturing Industries for 2021, Gartner predicts that, by 2023, “40% of organizations will blend the physical and virtual experience, leading to increased workforce productivity and customer reach.”
Businesses are rapidly adopting smart mobile devices and augmented-reality wearables for live sharing of information (documents, audio, video, etc.) and to enable remote collaboration for asset-intensive environments. Businesses are also investing in cloud and edge technologies to enable blended work environments that seamlessly move between virtual and physical locations. These capabilities can offer a great return on investment.
Wipro has a global team working across the entire manufacturing value chain to serve a strong global customer base, including seven out of the top ten auto OEMs and industrial manufacturers. The team includes business, domain and technology consultants, system architects, and application developers to provide consulting and advisory services, end-to-end program design and implementation. A network of alliance partners, Wipro ventures, and a start-up ecosystem in cutting-edge technologies support the team.
To learn more about how we’re helping manufacturers accelerate their digital transformations, visit our website.
Ashish Sharma heads manufacturing, consumer, and technology business for Wipro India. He is a corporate intrapreneur and is known for his domain expertise with two granted USPTO patents related to the process control industry. He is an IIM Bangalore and IIT Roorkee graduate.