Modernization has become more than just a buzzword in manufacturing; it’s a survival tool for established original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the era of born-in-the-cloud competition. Innovative technology — including the industrial internet of things, artificial intelligence and cyber-physical systems — accelerates manufacturing, enables hyper-demand economics, and reduces the impact of inefficiencies from the manufacturing floor to ordering processes and throughout the entire supply chain.
A manufacturer’s core competencies include product innovation and design. However, parts procurement, inventory management, ordering and shipping, customer account management and product lifecycle services all play a significant role in brand reputation and customer satisfaction. Keeping customers happy in our hyper-demand-driven world means rethinking processes and visibility from the initial order through customer delivery, and at every step in between. As the business world becomes increasingly global, customers demand the same high levels of transparency, accuracy and expediency regardless of product destination.
Modern Industry 4.0 systems accelerate product delivery by unifying processes on a foundation of automation and data-driven analysis. Moving to Industry 4.0 is no longer optional for OEMs, but modernization efforts can put a significant strain on resources and budgets, and even delay new-product development. Fortunately, there’s one method that has consistently proved itself to help OEMs not only survive modernization challenges, but also thrive through the next industrial revolution: partnership.
Partnering with a global leader in product and customer lifecycle services enables OEMs to focus their internal resources on what comes next. By leveraging strategic partners for necessary practices such as inventory management, product repair, maintenance and customer account management, OEMs can meet ongoing customer needs and preserve brand reputation while they push forward with modernization strategies.
The challenge comes in finding the right vendor solution. In many cases, partners offer niche services, and while those vendors are highly capable, creating a portfolio of partnerships can rapidly increase business complexity and actually cause more management and oversight problems than it fixes. A single-vendor solution to handle most if not all required capabilities can improve business efficiency, increase end-to-end visibility and free up more time, energy and resources for OEMs to devote to strategic innovation and designing products that can keep pace with market demands.
An expert in global product and customer lifecycle services can assume your supply-chain, logistics and global product and customer lifecycle support operations, so that you can focus on what matters most to your business transformation. With a supply-chain partner, you can concentrate on new strategies and innovation while experts take care of product installation, migrations, ongoing maintenance, certified repair and refurbishment, and I.T. asset disposition through a channel-agnostic, white-label delivery model. A partner can also help manage your inventory and supply-chain logistics, and implement reverse logistics to achieve your e-cycling and sustainability goals. With a comprehensive partnership, you eliminate complex management structures while improving visibility across the entire technology lifecycle.
Modernization might seem like a significant challenge, but with the right partner you can do more than just survive — you can thrive. Start rethinking your current challenges so you can achieve your modernization goals and come out on top as a leader of the next industrial revolution.
Matt Smith is a business unit specialist at Tech Data Global Lifecycle Management .
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